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.