One of the best ways to get to know a new place is by tasting it…
Here are my Top 5 Travel Eating Tips:
1. Eat the way the locals do.
Try to get out of your comfort zone, once, twice, or more. You will live through it (I mean look at how long these locals have survived eating their food), and you just might find yourself savouring that new taste, feeling mighty proud of how adventurous you are, and order some more.
2. Do your research.
One of the things I enjoy most, is finding out beforehand what are popular dishes and ways of eating. For example, in many countries in Europe, it is best to order what is seasonal, and the menus (at the good places, anyway) will change according to what is growing and in-season at the moment. This is the best way to experience the local delicacies, spices and new ways of preparing and combining dishes.
Yes, I just told you to do some research about eats in your destinations, but don’t do too much of it. I have seen too many tourists with their Rick Steves’ guide, and only going to restaurants that he has hand-picked. This is a good thing (I like Rick Steves), but it is important to veer off the path that has been curated for you, by somebody else. One of the joys of travelling is the act of discovery. Look up. See where the locals are gathering. What are they eating. There has to be a good balance, between research and taste-buds adventuring.
4. Avoid menus in English.
If you’re in a foreign country, try to limit your restaurants with menus in English. Yes, I know, it’s more comfortable that way. Yes, you know what you’re ordering. But then they are catering to you, so how and what the locals eat will remain a mystery to you. You travelled by planes, trains, or automobiles somewhere new to effectively eat like you do at home. Learn a bit of the language where you are going, enough to tell the chef to surprise you, so going into restaurants with no english menus will be more enjoyable.
5. Street foods are a must.
Yes, I know with some caution, of course. In some places you visit, it’s best to stay away from the water, and make sure you order things that are well-cooked. Newsflash to the germaphobes: your gastrointestinal system works on a wonderful balance of bacterias. You already have germs. Look at the non-dead, non-retching locals — you will be okay.
One of my best meals in Florence was bought at a food stand in San Lorenzo Market — I had the local delicacy, panino di lampredotto (or trippa), or simply tripe sandwich to us english-speaking folks. Absolutely delicious!
What’s the best meal you have ever had while on a trip?
Happy adventuring! If you would like to see more of our travel photos, follow me on instagram at @dede_wanders.