An important part of travel is trying to local food of the destination you’re going to. There’s no use in going around the world to eat the same food you eat at home! Even the pickiest eaters should give new things a try when they head somewhere new, and there’s always going to be places that are more authentic than others to do so. In large tourist cities, there are commercialized versions of the local cuisine that is meant to appease foreign palates and sensibilities. It might share names with local dishes, but you might be getting cheated out of the real flavours of the region. Here are just a few ways you can experience the most authentic food no matter where you go.
Scrap The Guides
The first step to making sure you eat only the most authentic food in any particular destination is to not rely so heavily on travel guides! Many of those guides stick to the most popular and tourist-appealing locations, and you’ll miss many of the local favourites with truly authentic dishes! Travel guides might be great for some suggestions, don’t make it the only place you go to for that kind of information.
This might be tricky if you go somewhere with a local language different from your own, but it’s still worth a shot. There’s tons of local newspapers and magazines with mentions of new venues, “best of” lists, food festivals and so much more if you just do a little digging. Head to a newsstand and try to see if there might be a section for food publications or community magazines full of great suggestions. That’s usually where you come across some of the best stuff.
Again, this one can be tricky in countries that speak different languages than your own but give it a try the best you can. The best things to do is ask locals their own favourite places to eat and go from there! Try to get suggestions from a few different people, as everyone will have their own personal favourites, and you can string together what you might like based on your own tastes. Often times, locals will know the best places that are a little off the beaten path so it’s always a good idea to go with their suggestions.
Stay In A Guest House
While hotels are generally the standard when it comes to where to stay during your trip, a great way to get a real feeling for the local culture and food is by staying in a guest house or bed & breakfast. Some locations tailor their food to tourist palates, but others bring authentic dishes right to you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are also ways to stay with host families who might be open to doing the same.
Cook With Local Ingredients
If you’re someone who loves to cook, one of the best things about travelling is being exposed to new ingredients that you normally wouldn’t have had knowledge of or access to at home. Don’t be afraid to infuse your dishes with some of the local spices, vegetables, and techniques if you love learning about it – and even seeing what skills you can bring back home. Depending on where you are, you might be able to take advantage of cooking classes so you can perfect some of the skills before giving it a try yourself.