There’s just so many things we can look forward to whenever we’re on vacation. All the shopping sprees, moments of relaxation, and beautiful photographs of spots that will make our Instagram feeds the envy of many. However, one of the best parts of traveling overseas is getting to experience different cuisines you’d often only see in those popular food programs.
Whenever people need restaurant recommendations at home, we would usually ask our friends, browse through magazines or Google some food review websites. However, when you’re traveling overseas, a good way to really experience the culture and cuisine is to get to know the locals, become friends, and eventually find a guide who will show you all of the best places to get the most authentic cuisine experience.
But even if you don’t get to meet that ideal guide, you can still dine like the locals as long as you make the right amount of preparation. Here’s a guide to eating like a local, no matter where you go:
Do preliminary research
When it comes to food and travel information, everything is just one click, or swipe, away, so doing some research about your destination prior to your trip couldn’t get any easier. There are tons of travel sites you can visit for those “off the beaten path” restaurants and diners, but you can also go online to check out the food and beverage sections of many English-language local newspapers which often feature food trends and the newest restaurants in town. Food blogs are also great sources of information not just for food deals in Singapore or other foodie gems in Istanbul, but also interesting recipes and bits about local food traditions.
Walk around the streets and explore your options
This may sound like a no-brainer, but a simple tour of busy streets in downtown areas and communicating with the locals is the perfect way to find some useful information. Depending on how friendly the lcoalos tend to be (which may vary from destination to destination), you can approach people who are having their meals outside and ask for their opinions about the restaurant’s menu. As long as you initiate a polite conversation, locals will be more than willing to offer their help. If possible, ask a few questions first to break the ice before making inquiries about the food. Also, when you grab your morning coffee, try to be friendly with your barista and they can point you to the hottest places in town.
Sign up for a local food tour
If you’re short on time but want to experience as many local food items as possible, food tours are the way to go. They’re an excellent way to see all the must-eats in a city, and you’ll get to have a lot of taste-testing opportunities with other tourists who are also trying to explore your destination’s cuisine. You can exchange opinions about the local food and even share some recommendations about those you’ve already tried. Keep in mind, however, that the portions on tours may be a lot smaller than usual, as it is meant to be a tasting meanu istead of a full meal, but it’s perfect if you want to try as many dishes as possible because you won’t feel full right away.
So bone up on your research and see what the local cuisine of your next trip has to offer!