There is more to traveling than just looking at architecture and visiting landmarks – food is probably the best way to truly get to know the culture and immerse yourself in it! But it can be quite intimidating to get out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never tried before, but you might get surprised by how interesting and tasty the cuisine all over the world is!
Do research beforehand
Every country is unique. If it’s your first time heading to a new country you should always do research beforehand! If it’s a country and culture you are not familiar with, you can actually go through a cultural shock – and this applies to food as well! See what kind of main dishes you can expect, if the food is predominantly vegetarian or if it heavily relies on meat and dairy. Sweets are also something you need to look into, if there are any specialties, and get acquainted with them before you arrive at your destination! This way you’ll at least have an idea of what to expect and where to find it!
Come up with a plan
Going to a different country without a plan can complicate things and limit what you see – you can always go around town and see what you can come across, but having a plan is much safer! Start from the area you are staying at, are there any interesting restaurants near your Hotel? There are many food apps that can help, but you can also just google find a restaurant near me for an accurate result! See if there are any interesting options and if not plan out a whole day where you can go to a certain restaurant to try out a specific meal!
If you find yourself stuck at a new location, your best bet is to ask around for advice – no one knows the place better than locals do! Try to make friends and talk to as many people as you can, even indulge in talking to waiters at local restaurants – they can definitely recommend what’s best to eat! In order to meet a country and its cuisine, doing it like a local is key, they will know exactly where to take you to eat and give you the best food tours the money can buy! So if you don’t want to plan everything yourself and if the internet is not as helpful either, having a local guide is the best thing you can do!
Look at online reviews with a grain of salt
When searching for the right restaurant, you are probably going to look at reviews! While that should be mandatory, you should always take it with a grain of salt, especially if it’s coming from other foreigners! Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should go to sketchy places and eat whatever – never do things you won’t do in your own country! But don’t make up your mind just because you’ve read bad reviews, instead, try to listen to a local or find a restaurant where many locals eat as well and not just foreigners!
Festivals and holidays are a bonus
Depending on where you are going and in what season, chances are you might come across a food festival or a holiday while traveling! Some countries celebrate all sorts and kinds of things and serve traditional food, you shouldn’t miss out! This is definitely a great opportunity to meet the culture, have fun and eat a lot of great dishes at one place – food festivals are popular all over the world and you should look for one during your travels! Even if you never planned to organize your trip around such an event, see if there are any food festivals and holidays happening – you might be lucky, and the chances of this happening are pretty high depending on the location!
Get familiar with the language
Going to a new country is exciting, but it can get a bit tricky if you have no clue how to go around! A language barrier can limit your movements, restricting you only to areas that are foreign-friendly, making it hard for you to delve into the countryside. So in order to get the most out of your travels, get the chance to enjoy more of local foods, learning how to speak a certain language even just to order food is a major plus! This can actually be fun and a useful skill to have all together, try to learn a few useful phrases – especially if you are allergic or dislike a certain food, you can easily state it!
Don’t skip local markets
If you have the time and the energy, going to local flea markets and trying street food is surely an experience to remember! If you want to truly see the culture and meet the daily lives of locals, street food is a great way to do so! Some locations treasure these types of markets, filling them with all sorts and kinds of food, sweets, and spices, so you can truly find a lot of interesting things to try out! Not to mention that this is way cheaper than going to restaurants, you can at least get breakfast early in the morning for cheap!
Bottom line is, you should stay open-minded when trying new foods – it might be a bit difficult at first, especially if you are a picky eater but it’s definitely worth it! Every culture has its own specialties, some are extremely unique while others are similar to something you might have at your home, so give it a shot regardless! You can always find something that might resemble foods that you are used to, to try to be open-minded and go straight for the specialties! It’s easier to say no to something and be skeptical, but you won’t get to enjoy your traveling to the fullest!
The world is filled with so many delicious foods, why not try to get a taste of every culture that way? Traveling all over the world, you get the opportunity to try out different things, experience things that you are not used to – trying different foods is one of those things! As long as you know how to go about it locally, you’ll surely enjoy the food!