How food and travel experts eat like a local around the world
What’s a trip around the world if you don’t try each country’s local cuisine?
Food can tell you about a culture as much as a travel guide.(click to tweet) Not only is it a great way to enjoy your travels, it’s a terrific way to get to know your destination.
If you want to eat like a local, you will have to prepare for your food adventures. Food can get pretty bizarre at various parts of the world, and cultural food practices from different countries can be wildly different from yours. So, before you indulge, prepare.
Take a minute to control your cravings, and read this guide.
1. Invest on Travel Insurance
Do you remember our travel checklist? If you don’t, revisit the Health & Safety section of the article to be reminded of the importance of getting insurance.
Travel insurance isn’t only for adrenaline junkies who enjoy climbing mountains or jumping off cliffs; it is also imperative for outgoing travelers who aren’t afraid to taste eccentric delicacies. In case you weren’t aware, even gastronomic adventures have certain risks. A few of these risks are food allergies and Hepatitis A.
Spare yourself the trouble, and look for an affordable travel insurance that covers food emergencies. And take the initiative to inquire about the service. Ask. Don’t assume. Make sure you know what you’re paying for.
2. Read travel magazines and guides
Look for restaurants that serve the local delicacies, and find out if what they are serving fits your budget. Don’t just rely on the concierge for suggestions. They will give you adequate recommendations that are quite popular with the tourists, but they aren’t always the best way to have the local experience.
Magazines and guides have a variety of restaurants you can choose from. So, do your research. And if you want fine dining, always remember to check the price range!
3. Explore travel and food blogs
As they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Don’t restrict yourself to fancy picture-perfect restaurants. Eat like a local. Go to the market. Eat at diners, bistros, and food carts.
Browse food blogs and find out the best places to eat like a local. Locate the local food spots, and find out how you can get there.
4. Learn how to tip
It’s a given. Different countries have different practices. Since the concept extends to various aspects of a culture, including the food industry, travel and food enthusiasts must be familiar with the customs to avoid being offensive.
For example, tipping a waiter is a typical practice in the US. But in Japan, leaving a tip is considered a pretty offensive act. There are certain countries like Singapore and Italy that include the service charge to your bill. And if you don’t want to over-tip your waiter, then you should pay close attention to this.
Different rates apply to various countries. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, the standard rate for tips is 10 to 15 percent of your bill, while in Qatar, it’s 15 to 20 percent. If you don’t know the rates or if you can’t simply remember them, you can always download an app for this: Fast Tip Calculator, Tip Me, and Tip N Split Tip.
5. Get to know your destination’s dining etiquette
When it comes to gastronomic adventures, it’s not only a question of what you eat, but a question of how you eat it.
For example, in Naples, you don’t eat pizza with a knife and fork. In Thailand, chopsticks aren’t necessary for every meal. You should only use chopsticks when you’re having soup. In India, it’s rude to use your left hand for eating. Since the left hand is associated with bathroom activities, it is deemed as unclean and unacceptable for the dining table.
Again, different countries have different practices. So, when you’re ready to travel, buy a guide, read up, and try to remember the important details.
6. Learn key phrases in the local language
Even if English is considered as an International Language, you will meet innumerable people who can barely comprehend what you’re saying. You don’t need to learn a language overnight; you simply need to learn a few phrases. Trust me. A few words can be life-saving.
Here are a few words and phrases you need to know in the local language:
- Thank you
- Where can I find a bus/taxi?
- Where is…?
- I’m lost.
- How much?
- Where is the bathroom?
Learning a few phrases can make your travels a little smoother. But more importantly, the look on the locals’ face when you’re trying to speak in their language is priceless. Yes, they might laugh at you for murdering a couple of words. But they will laugh with you while they’re teaching you the correct way of saying it.
Travel experts are wise enough to take the time to learn more about the places they’re going to. These experts have the initiative to get to know the place, the people, and the culture before actually setting foot in their destination.