One of the best parts of traveling is getting to experience culture through local cuisine. With so many things to see and do while on vacation, it can be difficult to squeeze in time to fully immerse yourself in a different location’s fare. The following is a practical plan of action to help you get the most out of authentic local food while traveling.
Do your research online
If you don’t know anyone in your immediate sphere of influence who is from the destination you’re visiting, then you should make use of your online resources like blogs, vlogs, and food websites. For example, if you’re heading to a state like Arizona, you could check out a food blog that specializes in local fare and list down any suggestion that interests you. You’re sure to end up with tons of options by doing so. This gives you all the information you need before you even step foot outside of your home.
Talk to the locals
Of course, the best sources of information about a country are always the people who live there. Don’t be afraid to approach the locals and ask them for recommendations. You’d be surprised by what they tell you—chances are they aren’t places you’ll typically see recommended in travel guides. You can also usually tell where the best places to eat are if you notice a long line of local residents queuing up for it, so be on the lookout for that, as well.
Book a homestay
Rather than booking a room at a hotel, consider organizing a homestay with a local instead. Sites like Airbnb and HomeAway are great ways to find alternative options for lodging and accommodation. Not only will you save a lot of money by doing this, but you’ll also be able to stay with a family or individual who can point you to the best local food options. They may even offer to cook for you or teach you how to prepare an authentic recipe.
For more rural locations like New Zealand or Texas, there are also farm stays that allow you to help out at a farm in exchange for homegrown organic food.
Visit a market
Visiting local markets is a unique way to get a taste of what a different region has to offer in terms of cuisine. You can get a sampling of native fruits and vegetables, as well as local handicrafts and artisanal food products. This is a great place to meet other people and food professionals who are interested in food and who can offer you some sage advice.
Go in blind
Sometimes, the best food discoveries happen by accident. Don’t be afraid to simply go in blind and try whatever you see that strikes your fancy. If you couldn’t imagine eating food without knowing exactly what it is, it would help to list down a list of local food you’d like to try and go for the first place you see that offers them.
Trying out unfamiliar food from a different place can be daunting, but it’s worth it if you put in the effort. These practical strategies will help you get the most out of a new culinary experience.