Good Eats – 6 Tips to Enjoying Local Food When Traveling

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Tasting authentic local dishes is part of the joys of traveling. But some travelers inadvertently or by choice miss out on great culinary adventures. As international cuisines becoming more widely available and popular in many places around the world, many people don’t have to travel just to get a taste of them. Eating traditional food at their home cities or countries, however, is a unique experience. And it may even lead to some scrumptious discoveries. If you’re the type of traveler who’s always on the lookout for good eats, here are some tips on how you can enjoy the best dishes at your travel destinations.

1. Know what to find

Do a bit of research before your trip. Find out what are the traditional cuisines in the town or city you’re visiting. Knowing a little about what you can expect in terms of culinary experience can help you become more deliberate in planning your food adventures.

2.Expect the unexpected

If possible, try to avoid setting expectations. Forget about what you think you know about the local food. You may have tried a version of it at restaurants at home or in previous travels. But don’t let memories of those tastes and experiences color your judgment. Expect the unexpected. You might be surprised how pleasant it can be if you take away expectations from your food explorations.

3. Follow the locals’ lead

Many travelers either by habit or preference stick to familiar chain restaurants or food establishments recommended by tourism websites or offices. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it could limit the great experiences you may have when visiting a new place. If you want to immerse yourself in the local food scene, follow the locals’ lead and go where they eat.

4. Include markets in your itinerary

“Get up early and go to the local produce markets. In Latin America and Asia, those are usually great places to find delicious food stalls serving cheap, authentic and fresh specialties.” – Anthony Bourdain

Visit a farmers’ market or open market in the area. There you’ll find not just a wide array of fresh produce like fruits and vegetables. You can also get a taste of the local flavors from food stalls to you can find while there.

5. Explore holes-in-the-walls food shops

Some of the best tasting authentic local dishes are served off the beaten paths. You can find them in holes-in-the-walls restaurants that attract a lot of locals. Take the time to explore the food scene in areas where not many tourists go. Or you can ask for a recommendation from the locals you befriend during your trip.

6. Enjoy a delicious meal at a local’s home

Eating at a local’s home is a growing trend worldwide. Some entrepreneurs have built businesses around the premise of having travelers enjoy meals prepared by locals at their homes. BonAppetour, Eataway, EatWith, and Withlocals are among those that provide opportunities for travelers to connect with locals who can prepare homecooked meals they can share with travelers. This travel food trend has been attracting more attention among travelers who want to have this novel experience.

Solo Trips and Serendipities – Why You Should Travel Alone at Least Once

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Not many people are keen on solo traveling for varied reasons. Anyone who hasn’t experienced it may find it hard to understand the draws of going on a leisure trip alone. It may seem like a lonely way explore new places. But those who have traveled solo would know the highs and lows that come with the experience. Most of them probably had their share of serendipities while globetrotting alone. Here are some of the top reasons why solo trips pave the way for serendipitous moments.

You can do whatever you want

Traveling with family, friends, or groups of people often entails a lot of compromises. You have to adjust your plans according to what’s best for the group. While there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement, it could at times limit you from doing some of the things you want to do. A solo trip is a great opportunity to do whatever you want at any time. You only have to think about your personal choices. You do things that please you without worrying about a companion’s preferences.

You can easily change plans — or not have plans at all

Going solo means you can be quite flexible with your plans. Or you can choose not to have specific plans in mind and sort of wing it as you go. These are things you can’t easily do when you’re traveling with someone. When you’re alone, you can meander for as long as you want. You can have a snack or a meal anytime you wish to and at any place you’d like. There’s no need to discuss what and where to eat with anyone. You can follow your whims, which could lead to some of the most amazing discoveries you’d otherwise miss if you’re not alone.

You can stumble into pleasant surprises

The beauty of serendipity is that you could find it in the most unlikely places and situations. The pleasant surprises of stumbling into something you didn’t look for is an unforgettable experience that could make your travelers even more special.

You connect more with strangers

Travelers can connect with strangers regardless if they’re alone or not. But it’s usually when you’re with a group that you don’t get to talk or engage with strangers. The excitement of being with friends and loved ones may put you in a bubble of happiness and contentment. When you’re alone, however, you become more aware of the people around you. You are more likely to converse with the locals and fellow travelers you meet along the way

Off the Beaten Path Destinations for the Bucket List

The beauty of serendipity is that it hits you when you least expect it. It is something unplanned. It just happens. And oftentimes it is when you’re not looking for it that it reveals itself. It may occur anywhere, but it’s in the off the beaten paths that it could really take you by surprise. Travel is synonymous with serendipity. This is probably one of the reasons why it can be addictive. Exploring unfamiliar places gives you that feeling of discovering something beautiful from the unexpected. If you’re thinking of visiting the less trodden paths where not many tourists have gone before, here are some of the destinations that deserve a spot in your bucket list.

Bhutan

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Bhutan hosts less than 30,000 tourists every year. And it’s not because travelers avoid it. The country puts an annual cap on the number of tourists. While smaller than its neighbors like China and India, Bhutan is a breathtaking place with scenic landscapes. Its culture and traditions are well-preserved that visiting the country is like straddling a line between the ancient and modern times. The natural environment in the midst of Himalayan mountains and verdant forests protected by the government provides is just one of the many reasons to visit this place.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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It has been over two decades since the war ended in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country has suffered much from it in many ways. Traces of the conflict like bullet-ridden structures still remain. But looking beyond some of the remnants of the past war, tourists can find spectacular sceneries and a more laidback way of life that can be soothing for those weary of the constant busyness of highly urbanized cities. Its natural attractions are great for adventures or relaxing strolls. Tourists can also marvel at the architectural attractions like the old bridge in Mostar.

Kiribati

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Kiribati is an island nation consisting of 33 atolls. Some people may not be aware of it but Christmas Island or Kiritimati is part of it. Less than 6,000 people visited the place in 2014. Unlike other popular island getaways, Kiribati’s many attractions are underdeveloped and fairly rugged in several ways. There are few amenities for travelers who may be looking for the familiar comforts of more touristy destinations. But it’s this ruggedness that’s part of its biggest draw. It’s beautiful destination with pristine beaches and breathtaking lagoons.

Mongolia

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Mongolia is an interesting place to visit if you don’t mind the feeling of remoteness. It has large sections of wilderness to explore. The country’s fascinating history and culture likewise make it unique. Its stunning landscapes, spectacular sunsets, and lush forests are just some of the many things to look forward to when visiting the country.

Myanmar

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The Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar has been isolated for many years. In recent years, it started to attract more tourists eager to see the hidden gems of the country. The country is home to some of the gentlest people in the region. It has beautiful temples that shimmer in sunlight. Traveling to Bagan is like being transported to the old times where you can see ancient temples and pagodas surrounded by spectacular landscape.