Guest post: Top tips to trying local cuisine shared by our partner, VizEat. One of the businesses that we partner with to provide you with smarter travel choices and unique experiences.
There’s little better than exploring new cuisine as you explore the world; tasting the local delicacies is a crucial part of immersing yourself in the culture.
But when you’re in a new town, in a distant land, it can be difficult to find truly authentic cuisine.
Tourist traps are your main hurdle.
Tourist traps are where the inauthentic, expensive restaurants are located. They’re usually in the central locations that are just convenient for everyone to flock to, like highly visited monuments and attractions. Think St Mark’s Square (Venice) or Wenceslas Square (Prague).
Something we’ve all fallen into at least once before. If you’re really unlucky you might even find yourself doing it once or twice in a single trip.
When you’re in a new place, it’s easy to find yourself defaulting to these locations.
But our team is here to help you. We want to make it easy for you to stride by the tourist traps with confidence and instead get yourself some authentic food for every meal. Here’s 5 unique ways to ‘eat-like-a-local’ on your next trip.
1. Food markets
The revival of food markets in major cities is testament to a local desire to get back to basics as well as traveller demand for a more authentic way to shop. A visit to a local market will usually take you to the epicentre of local trade, as they are most often situated in the oldest corners of cities.
So that’s 2 wins: delicious food and beautiful architecture.
Wander through, taking the opportunity to absorb the sights and smells – but most importantly – the tastes of your new destination.
The Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona, for example, is one of the most renowned food markets in the world. Dating back to 1700, it features a bountiful selection of authentic Spanish cuisine; locally produced and farmed, and in certain stalls sold by third and fourth generation family members.
2. Eat with a local
Whilst getting together and sharing a meal around a table dates back thousands of years, the ability to share a meal with people you meet online is a relatively new phenomenon.
Social dining for travellers is a modern way to experience traditional cuisine in people’s homes, cooked and shared by locals themselves. Platforms like VizEat (shameless plug) connect travellers and local hosts in more than 70 countries. With over 15,000 hosts and 40,000 members worldwide, we’re the ‘Airbnb of dining’, allowing travellers to learn about new cultures from the same people preparing their food and creating unforgettable memories.
As well as eating at somebody’s home, travellers can also use VizEat to find and book in local food walking tours, cooking classes and other unique foodie experiences you’re unlikely to find in the guide books.
3. Food trucks
The US is famous for its bustling food truck scene and set the trend worldwide with food trucks now commonplace at events, festivals and markets everywhere. A great way to find a local truck in the US is RoamingHunger – a web service and app which uses your location or city selection to display an assortment of local street-dining options.
From lobster to hotdogs, burgers to pizza…there’s a food truck for you, whichever state you’re visiting. There’s even some over the border in Canada and in a few European cities too.
4. Street food
When you’re roaming around a new city and looking for a bite to eat, what better than to eat local cuisine right on the streets you’re pounding?
A multicultural hub, Singapore offers a true blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisines. Local “hawker” markets feature a concoction of street vendors selling uniquely Singaporean dishes like Ikan Bakar – barbecued stingray smothered in a spicy fish chilli sauce known as sambal.
5. Food festivals
All over Europe there are food festivals established to help you try local cuisine. Trouble is, how do you know where and when to travel to experience the very best festivals?
Well thanks to Tasting Europe, you can plan your next European adventure solely around the very best of continental gastronomy. They host guides to the best foodie festivals and food routes.
For an August adventure try Copenhagen Cooking. With 130 events over 10 days, Copenhagen Cooking is a foodie bonanza that rises above many other European food festivals. And with so many events to choose from, you’re bound to find one that matches the budget.
Keep an eye out for the Portuguese Chocolate Festival in Óbidos, usually taking place in April. Óbidos is internationally recognized because of its Chocolate Festival, which for several weeks of the year transforms this medieval town into a showcase of cakes and sweets, a paradise for sweet lovers.
Wherever your taste for local cuisine takes you, don’t forget to go armed with a FairFX Currency Card. Award-winning exchange rates mean more to spend wherever you are in the world.
VizEat is the leading social dining platform in Europe which connects travellers and local hosts around an authentic culinary experience at their home. It is a unique way to exchange with people from all around the world and to discover new cultures around food.
Sign up for VizEat with this link and receive €10 off your first booking.