One of the greatest joys of traveling is getting to experience different local cuisine. Eating in a different country—or even a different city!—can help open you up to new experiences and surprise your palate with new and exotic flavors. Eating is, by far, one of the most rewarding aspects of travel. With that in mind, we curated a few recommendations to help you get the real foodie experience when traveling. Perhaps this will help fuel (or inspire) your love for food and travel.
Eat Like the Locals
Visiting local markets and restaurants is the best way to experience the non-touristy version of the local cuisine. Most places in the world have a ‘tourist’ version of their food, but then there’s a real version that the locals eat.
When asking for recommendations, make sure to ask people where they eat, not where they would send a tourist to eat. You might also want to steer clear of travel guides and hotel concierges as they frequently have deals with tourist traps that serve a mellowed-down version of the authentic local cuisine. It’s always a good sign when a restaurant is busy with mostly locals.
Dare to explore! You didn’t come all the way to another country to eat the same things you eat at home, did you? Channel your inner Bourdain and try the street food, local “hole in wall” restaurants, or share a meal with a local in their home if you are invited.
Visit the Local Food Wonder
Every place on earth has a local specialty. Be it wine, truffles, certain types of meat, rum, chocolate, produce… whatever it may be, everywhere is known for something.
Start by doing your research. When traveling, find out what that location is best known for. Take a day during your travels to explore that culinary wonder. Traveling to Italy? Hunt for truffles in Tuscany. Going to a country known for its coffee? Take a day trip to a coffee farm. Visiting a wine region? Plan to spend a day touring the best vineyards. Along with some tasty treats, you’ll get to learn about the history of that culinary tradition.
Visiting the regional specialty will give you a fresh perspective on what makes the place unique. It will also take you outside of the hustle and bustle of busy cities, offering a different perspective of the place—and pretty amazing photo opportunities too!
Take A Cooking Class
Making pasta in Italy, cooking arepas in Colombia, learning how to make Thai coconut curry in Thailand… Taking a cooking class is not only a fun activity during a trip, but you’ll also be able to take your newfound cooking techniques back home with you.
Many places offer a market trip/cooking class combo, in which you can first go to the local market to pick up the best of the local harvest and cook an authentic traditional meal afterward. This activity gives you the opportunity to interact with the locals and other like-minded tourists, which is especially great if you are traveling by yourself or in a couple.
Food and travel go hand in hand. A country’s food is an ode to its culture, land and everything it stands for. You can fully experience everything that a place has to offer by tasting its food. From picturesque anecdotes on how a certain dish came to be part of the local cuisine to stories that are shared around the dinner table, eating has the power of bringing us together no matter where we are from. It transcends language, beliefs, opens your mind to a new way of thinking and expands your understanding of the world in which we live.