World has two kind of people, one who eat to live and others who live to eat. Which one are you? Never mind which ever you are, we all love eating good food, except if you haven’t had breakup with your taste buds. For most of us, our travels are dominated by sightseeing, local merchandise, and of course local cuisines. But trust me, you have to be very peculiar, if you want to leave with an everlasting tasteful experience. To ensure this, we have made a list of tips for you.
For shorter trips keep the appetite alive – If you are on a short trip ranging from a day to two or even three, don’t stuff yourself with the airline meals. I know this might be a little hard for our foodie travelers, who are always looking for a hearty meal, but you got to trust me. This will keep your appetite alive when you will board down.
Normal people only have two to three sets of meal per day, and if you have already had your meal on the flight then chances are you are going to miss out of the opportunity to eat the local dishes in your destination. Even if you feel too much of hunger while flying then keep snacks with you like protein bars or energy bars. They will satisfy your craving for food during the flight.
Get to know about the food scene of the destination – Before your trip begins, start watching Fox Traveler, popular YouTube Channels for food and travel, read food travel magazines, etc. This will not just keep your wanderlust alive, buit will also help you in shaping the itinerary of your trip and will enhance your travel experience.
By referring to such resources, you will get to know about the popular cuisines of your destination and even popular places to eat. Such resources are very useful and in most of the cases a genuine piece of information too. By referring to such resources will also keep you motivated for your trip and will keep alive the excitement of making this trip.
Maintain a travel food journal – People who love traveling and who love eating different cuisines while travelling are obsessed. They are obsessed about food, and the local experiences. But this obsession is not bad, in fact it enriches you. So if you like food on travel, provided you are a frequent traveler. Start maintaining a dairy, and whenever you come across videos, shows, articles about cuisines and famous joints to eat, just jolt them down.
Make this practice a hobby of yours. It will make you rich with information about food and travel, which you can also chose to share with the world through social media, or can chose you share with your friends if they are about to travel, and of course it will help you decide what to eat and where to eat when you are headed out for a trip.
Finding the best cuisine in your destination – Finding the best cuisine in your destination might be a little trickier than you had thought. See this is a very subjective thing, as different people can have different choices, and it is the people that you are going to ask from. Even if you will search on internet, you will find different people quoting different cuisines as best ones. Now, whom to trust.
Make a note of finding commonalities. Refer to more than two to three resources, and find what is common in between them. The dishes that are going to be common will be the ones that at no cost should be ignored. You should also trust more on a local person quoting such recommendations or native of your destination. His taste buds will reflect the local appetite.
Look out for food tours – If the destination that you are visiting is a popular destination and is frequented by travelers then the chances are very high that it is also going to have some guides offering food tours. It also depends if the destination that you are traveling has some popular regions dedicated to restaurants and popular eateries. If there are food tours then book them.
Food tours are going to be your window in to the culinary lives of the destination. It will not just take you to the most popular eateries, but it will also expose you to the best cooked dishes and the specialties of the destination at a place where it is prepared with most culinary care. Before booking these food tours also request the itinerary before hand, to ensure that you are visiting the best places.
Do restaurant scouting before the hunger strikes – This is one of the mots important tip, as when you are traveling you will be more focused on the sightseeing and exploring the destination, and food will come at a point when you are hungry or at a time when you are supped to have a meal. It gives a very little time window to select the best eatery.
Remember that you are a foodie, and remember that the best experiences come when you are most prepared for them. Do restaurant scouting before even you leave your hotel, or while driving to a particular region for a touristy spot by quickly browsing through the internet. In most of the cases when you are hungry you are bound to chose the most convenient eatery but not the best.
Menu and the specialty food – If you have done all the research on where to eat and what to eat, then your next move should be to reserve your table well in advance. But in case if you are randomly hitting a restaurant that someone suggested you, maybe from your hotel or a co traveler then please always check their menu. If it is kind of generic, my take is don’t go for it.
Generic menus, are made to serve the masses. Such kind of restaurants will use recipes that are available all across the world and are accepted as a norm by the people. Such kind of food you can get even in your hometown. So why waste money in some foreign country. The tip is to always trust a specialty restaurant for particular good food. The menu least need to have few items that are exclusively cooked in that particular restaurant whose recipe is their trade mark.
Street food and red meat – If you are a street food binge eater. Take my advice. If the joint is not populated, and cook appears to be a businessman rather than chef, then avoid eating at such food joints. The point being that such a food joint will never give you any extra ordinary food experience. It will be just trade for him and he will never prepare a dish from heart.
In cases when you do not have any other choice, or your hunger is killing you, even then please don’t consume red meat from them. Especially for small cities, the source of meat might differ from what is depicted. You would not want to have a bad stomach, or some issue with your health just for a small meal that was not even worth the taste.
Room for even one meal should not be wasted – For most of us normal people, we can only eat one dish per meal. After all the space in our stomachs is limited, and even if we want to try more dishes, at some point we will have to stop. So never let that room for one or two dish go to waste. Use that opportunity to serve your stomach a meal that is worth it.
My point is, if your destination has wide array of local cuisines, check what type of food it is, sweet, sour, spicy, then decide whether you want to have it or not. Check what ingredients are used, check if it is made using veggies, or made using chicken, check if it is boiled or deep fried. Every foodie that a priority in their mind when it comes to eating food. So choose what suits you best.
Bars cum restaurants are not for food – Never go to a place that has a Bar and Restaurant in the same setting for purpose of eating. No matter how much recommended the place is, no matter how many five stars it has received online, no matter how many good experiences people have shared about the place. Do not fall into the trap of bar and restaurant.
The chances are very high that they are not going to have specialty chefs, and food is just going to be normal, like what you can even have it in your own city. Most of the places that have a bar alongside restaurant are meant wining and dining, in the same order. There will only be going to be handful of such places in any destination that will offer good food. So why take the risk.
Food from Five Star hotels – All five star hotels or even seven stars hotels, have a different style of cooking, which depends on the recipes used by their chef. But there is going to be one thing in common that they all will have more of a subtle style of cooking. Trust me, you will never find spicy food in these kind of hotels. Mostly they are meant for fine dining.
The tip is, put on your shoes, step outside and find a great place that gives you a hang of local recipes. The food might not be as decorated as in five stars hotels, the food might not have the quality standards of the ingredients used as in five star star hotels, but the flavor you are going to experience in these local restaurants is going to be straight from the heart of that destination.
Don’t fall for buffet arrangements – One thing that you all should keep in mind is that don’t pay for a buffet at a hotel or restaurant. Such arrangements might offer you great quantity or unlimited quantity of food but the preparations are not going to be that specialized. Remember that you are miles away from home trying to experience something unique.
But there is a condition to such arrangements, if the restaurant or the hotel is running a food festival specialized around a local theme, you can give a try. The chances are that they are doing for a great footfall and they are not going to jeopardize their popularity by serving normal food. Also that the food festivals which have a local theme are based on local experiences. So you will get something unique.
Destinations with Coffee Plantations, Chocolate factories, Breweries – If you get to visit a destination that has its own tea plantation, or coffee plantation, or wine yards, or famous breweries, or some bunch of chocolate factories, then you are in a very good luck, or lets just say that you have chosen the destination as per your foodie priorities.
Point is that never miss a chance to visit them to take a private tour of such establishments. In fact any such place should be on the top of your itinerary. It is a first-hand experience, and will surely make your day. The fresh flavors that you will get in such establishments are going to be ever lasting. You can also buy some fresh stock as a souvenirs for the family or friends.
The duplicates of famous eateries and its name – If you happen to discover a great food joint with heritage of over 100 years or so, chances are there will be more outlets similar to its name and menu in vicinity. This happens all the time and with all the places. Chances are that these duplicates might be operated by some distant family member of the original place.
If there is any such place that you are planning to visit, then please never be in a hurry, and do not fall for duplicates. The names can also be exactly same, with a minor change that you might not even notice in the suffix or the prefix. If you fall for any such situation then quickly refer to you cell phone internet and do a quick research about it. Always trust your senses for such situations.
Attend a cooking class – If you are a true foodie at heart then chances are that you also have interest in cooking food. The fact might be that you already know cooking some of the best dishes from across the world, or you might even have some of your own secret recipes. But remember that a great dish recipe and style of cooking will always be waiting for your attention.
If the destination that you are traveling to offers some cooking classes, then do attend it. It is the best way a foodie can compliment their trip. What could be better than learning how to cook a popular local cuisine rather than just eating it for once. The dishes and recipes that you are going to learn can come of help in family dinners or friends night outs.
Make use of food crawling – We have already said it but we will assert again, that the taste in food is a very subjective thing, as one person can have a different favorite food while the other person can have a different favorite food. But the best way to find out what food is your favorite is only by checking or personally tasting the food. Everything boils down to personal experiences.
In cases when you have handful of restaurants in a region that all are known to serve great quality food, do food crawling. Yes visit every restaurant and order a small quantity of dish from there. Do this in two to three restaurant. The taste of food which suits the best to your taste buds, choose that restaurant for a full meal in your upcoming days during the trip.
The favorites of the locals – Remember, majority of six billion people on this earth work hard everyday to earn their bread and butter, and their favorite eating joint will not get featured in posh magazines. The point is that if you are traveling to any popular destination then the trip is always going to be incomplete unless you have tasted food from some the local favorite places.
The point is to ask for local recommendations from people who live there everyday. It is their home town and they will know exactly a place that reflects the cultures, traditions, and local flavors of that destination. The best place to ask for such recommendations is social media, or the room service guys of your hotel, or even your cab driver, or from a vendor from whom you have just bought a souvenir.
Recommendations on Social Media – It is rightly said that some of the most amazing things in this world are a best kept secret, and often hidden from the eyes of the masses. Maybe that is the reason why they are so amazing because they are still untouched. So never be hesitant to ask for recommendations on Social Media, as people might recommend you some great untouched eateries.
Ensure that your post is public and stuffed with hashtags, for people to discover it. If you already know someone from that destination it could not get easy, just ask them. You never know, you might get a tip that will add in your journey like a gem. Also there are lots of social media sites these days that are meant for travelers, to discover more about the destination. Make use of them.
Good health and raw food – Try to be in good health and avoid eating raw food while traveling. This is especially for people who are vegan and who feed primarily on raw food. Many people fall to sickness by consuming under cooked and contaminated food. Ensure the food is properly cooked and has been processed with care. A sick day during a trip can be more damaging than you think.
This tip also applies to the people that are not vegan, and also consume non vegetarian food. If you are one of them, please do not consume food with raw meat or raw chicken. If you are headed out to eat Sushi, or dishes like that which contains raw meat, then please be cautious, consume if only you think that the restaurant is hygienic enough to not serve you contaminated food.
Bon Appetite and Bon Voyage!