Finding local food in the region is a big part of the journey for most of us, but it is not that easy. If you stick to the main tourist food list, you will most likely eat western favorites and downgrade local versions of the classics. Finding local food while you are traveling requires a little planning and foresight to get the most out of your limited time.
1. Research ahead of time:
Before you go on a trip, do some research. Read about some local and authentic local dishes. If you know friends who have been there, ask for their suggestions. Better yet, see if they can help you connect with the locals.
Do not be afraid to ask. Skip the circle of your closest contacts and get in touch. You will be excited about the hidden foods you will find.
2. Adjust your expectations:
When it comes to the environment, you may want to adjust your expectations. For an authentic food experience, do not expect 5-star service at your new destination. Hygiene standards may also be lower than you normally use. For food travellers, one thing to keep in mind is that the most delicious food is usually served in a less attractive place.
Assume things work differently than at your own countries. Toilets, drinking water, food security, traffic, currency, steering wheels on either side. These are all things that may be different from the ones you normally use in your own city.
3. Dump your guidebook and recommendations:
If you wish to understand the local’s life, don’t ask your hotel to recommend places to go. They will probably send you to the places that tourists usually go to. Your guide book will do the same thing as well.
Try asking from the locals on where they usually eat. Gather the list of recommendations you get from these locals and try the recommendation list. Ask around and choose the restaurants that are not your “tourist-safe” list.
4. Explore the markets and food stores:
The farmers market is a great place to see local fruits and vegetables. By exploring the markets, it gives you the opportunity to talk to the fishmongers and find out where to have great and fresh seafood. Visiting the market and wandering will ensure that you can always enjoy traditional local and seasonal dishes.
Visiting grocery local store is a most natural way to observe how people live at any destination.
5. Eat where the locals eat:
When you are travelling, pay attention and get to where the local usually eats. Visit the food stalls in the area. Stroll around the surrounding area, head into the corner shops and ask about local food. If you are looking for an authentic food experience, stay where the locals stay and eat where the locals eat.
Street food is usually cheap and widely available, and can give you insight into the local food culture. If you see a line of locals waiting outside the street cart, that is a good sign the food is popular and tasty.
6. Be courage to take chances:
Go to a restaurant that looks very local. Order something you have never tried before, or something you have never heard of. This may be regional expertise. And maybe even good. When you travel to a new country, the food will tell you a lot about its culture.
Trying new foods while on an adventure out in a country that you’ve never been to, really makes the tasting experience more better. The reason for this is because you will gain new flavours and dishes to try at home.