One of the greatest joys of travel is being able to sample local cuisine. Ah the excitement as your palette welcomes strange dishes, spices and tastes. There is nothing quite like it and frankly it is one of the many things I look forward to when in a new city. Eating your way through the local food is something which you must never miss.
However, finding the best local food is not always easy. There are some tricks you need to know so you never end up going to McDonald’s and wasting your trip munching in unhealthy fast food. So, in order to help you, we have come up with some tips to make the best of your time enjoying the local food on your trip.
Say no to food you eat at home
One of the things you do not want to do when you travel is to eat food which you eat at home. Is the menu in English? Are the meals Americanized? NO Starbucks. NO TGI Fridays, Subway or other food chain which you could eat at home.
Talk to the local people
Do not be shy. Approach the locals, make some new friends and ask them what their favorite local dishes are and what they would like for you to try. It is always better to talk to the locals personally rather than get your information from guidebooks or recommendations online. Eat what they eat for lunch. Try the delicacies they are having. You will be surprised how much the local people can enlighten you when it comes to their dishes.
Do your homework
Although it is always better to approach the locals and get the information firsthand from them, you shouldn’t go to your destination without doing your homework. It is also necessary to know about the place where you are going. Check what sort of food and cuisine they have so that you are not completely clueless when you are talking to the locals. Believe me food is always a good topic of conversation wherever you go. Everyone loves food.
Identify local restaurants
Most restaurants today have cuisines from all over the world. You can pretty much find any type of food anywhere. In order to enjoy local cuisine, all you need to do is find an authentic restaurant in your destination. Search for these restaurants online or better yet, ask the locals where you can sample great food. Be a little adventurous and open up your pallet to all the wonderful tastes the world has to offer.
Remember that good food is worth it
There are plenty of articles all over the Internet saying that you need to save money on food when travelling while other articles go as far as saying that you must avoid street food or else you will get diarrhea and other ailments. These articles are not helping travelers at all. Yes, it does pay to be safe when traveling and making sure that what you are eating is clean but think of all the amazing things that you will miss out if you are filled with trepidation.
Eat street food, indulge in Michelin-starred restaurants and veer off the beaten path. Immerse yourself in authentic cooking classes if you have the time. Do not be afraid to take the road less traveled for the best food experience ever!
Let food awaken your senses
Food awakens your senses. Not only is it nourishing but just the faint aroma of something you ate on vacation instantly takes you to the time when you first experienced it. Food can elicit an unreasonable amount of excitement for people and. For me, the distinct smell of parsley brings back memories of the pho and bun cha, among many other Vietnamese dishes which I enjoyed in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.
Browse the local market
The local market is a colorful and seismic chaos, it is the best place to find homegrown food products, fresh fruit, vegetables to even artisanal goods. Wander around the market, check the stalls and sample the food. Chat with the farmers and vendors and pick up a few local goodies. Aside from sampling the local food, the local market is also a very good place to get amazing spots for amateur photographers.
Arrange a homestay
If you are brave enough and want to go further than just eating at local restaurants and dining where the locals go, you can arrange a homestay. There are many sites where you can do this and one is through Airbnb.com. You can live with a family, eat at their table and perhaps even learn to cook a dish or two. However, be ready to help with the dishes or clean-up.
Go on a farmstay
Do you fancy the thought of waking up to scrambled eggs prepared from the hen right in the property? How about organic cheese made from the cow at the farm? Farmstays are very popular in places like Europe, New Zealand and Australia, especially. As a guest, you have the opportunity to walk around the pastures and even help out by doing local chores such as picking berries, shear a sheep and milk cows. You might not need these skills in the corporate world but learning them is still fun and not to say, unique.
Be brave. It all be worth it. Try the local delicacy, eat what is in season. Some people have a pretty weak stomach so do not forget to bring medicines with you, just in case. You can do it and you will thank us for this later.
Food has power to fill you and prepare you for the day’s activities and it also has the ability to shape your journey, as well as define your memories. You have the power to either make your journey a culinary adventure or make it a ho-hum, just like any other trip where you go to the nearest restaurant or chain which you can recognize and pretty much order the same food you have been eating. Choose the former and you will have a better time.