The reasons for traveling can be different for everyone with most being very personal. For many adventurers, exploring new places and cultures is a way to challenge themselves with experiences out of their comfort zones. Others believe that traveling is the best approach for learning new knowledge and skills as every destination has something unique to offer.
One of the amazing parts of traveling that everyone could agree on is the food or eating. Local food can tell you a lot about the culture of the place and its people. Learn more about trying local cuisines and how you can eat like a local.
1. Research first
Doing a little research about your destination’s food culture can give you an idea of what dishes to expect and even their prices, of course. Travel and food blogs are amazing resources to find. They can help you identify the crucial food and drink traditions all over the globe. You can also acquire more restaurant recommendations and food choices by listening to travel podcasts or watching specialty television series.
2. Visit the local market
Before visiting the world-famous restaurants or food places of the country, wander around the produce market first. These are great places to learn about the local raw ingredients and the selections of products that are in season. Most countries have food halls and local markets that you can visit. Plan and schedule your trip to the local market to avoid visiting the busiest time.
You can walk around, have taste tests, or buy a few in-season if you want to. Moreover, you can also ask the sellers about the everyday choices for home-cooking. Don’t forget to take notes too for ingredients and dishes you can try recreating.
3. Learn the language
Now, if you want to maximize your access to the local cuisines and the place itself, you need to learn the language. Mastering the basics is enough to get you to the best food places and local markets in the city. You can visit local-heavy neighborhoods if you want to get access to more local food options. Learn the local language so you can understand menus or even get a table.
Long-time travelers also highly recommend learning the local tongue to get a warmer welcome and true food experience. A cold shoulder is likely to happen if you’re just speaking in your native tongue.
4. Talk to the locals
There’s no easier way to know more about a city’s food culture than asking the locals. Get to know some locals like the street food seller near the accommodation you’re renting out. Ask about the best places serving tasty and fresh meals. You can literally find out what everyone is eating, and that is your key to knowing how to eat like a local.
If you’re staying on the shyer side, talking to a taxi driver or store clerk is worth the try. If you’re looking to find out more about the city and the best local restaurant or bars. They are typically happy to recommend small backstreet alleys where the food is cheap but still scrumptious.
5. Go to a local festival
If you can, book your visit on days when the city is holding any kind of special celebration or event. A local festival would be amazing. Or, if you got a few more days of vacation, consider checking out the calendar if there are any upcoming events. The most authentic food is typically served at local festivals or celebrations. You can stay for a local holiday, enjoy an outdoor fair or festival, or a small cultural event. Not only do you get to try the best local food, but you could probably get them for free too.
6. Take the road less traveled
Just like when you’re on a hike, taking the unbeaten path usually provides a more unique and greater experience. There’s no shame in visiting the famous restaurants or cafes in the town. The catch is, many of the food places in tourist centers are either of poor quality and overpriced. Explore places that are at least five minutes away from the tourist center of town.
Going down the road less traveled can help you pick up an instinct of which places will be worth checking out. It’s pretty easy to get attracted to crowded spots and think that’s where the best food is. But if you’re looking to experience the best local food scene, scout out spots on places without the crowd.
Exploring new destinations always goes hand in hand with experiencing new flavors and dishes. Enjoying the local food the right way can even allow you to imitate those amazing recipes back home. Don’t forget to open your mind to new heritage, texture, and flavors on your future travels.