Foodies are a different breed. We don’t eat to sate hunger. We eat for pleasure. There’s something about the combination of salty, sweet, spicy, and acidic that gets to us. If you have circled the world looking for the best places to eat, the pandemic must have put a hamper on your plans. But don’t worry, the world should be back on track again and you’ll continue your culinary journey of different places. What are you most excited about? For those who are beginning in their food journey, trying different cuisines is the best first step.
This is what most people don’t realize when they want to find good food in a new place. They have to talk to locals (as in taxi drivers, vendors, and the like). Nobody knows these streets than them. If you are not too comfortable with that, the next best thing is to find a local food blogger, though even these bloggers will say they talk to locals, too. Make sure you don’t follow a blogger who only talks about five-star restaurants. The blogger should be reviewing different places—from the street stalls to the fancy hotel food.
Book a Culinary Tour
This kind of tour is becoming more and more popular around the world. Basically, a tour guide takes you not to historic sites and tourist places, but to different restaurants that offer a glimpse of what the city has to offer in terms of food. Do this during the early part of your trip, so you have more time to revisit these places later. Many cities in Europe, for example, has a culinary tour of French snails and Mediterranean food. In Italy, you can sample all the pizza and pasta you want. In Beijing, you’ll fill yourself up with dim sum and noodles.
Read Local Publications
Forget about those lists of 100 restaurants or food to try around the world. Go deeper into your destination’s culinary culture by reading local publications. Most of these have a monthly or semi-annual list of the best places to grab a snack or dinner. Read what the local journalists have to say about bars, pubs, and local hangouts. They know these places better than those celebrity chefs you see on television. Nobody will beat these guys when it comes to recommending the perfect place to hang out after a long day of touristy adventure.
Try Regional Options
What’s the use of being in Hong Kong if you’re going to try the best pizza there? If you have been to Italy or New York, you have probably tried a better one. Go for the regional food. Hong Kong, for example, is known for its wonton noodles, egg tarts, and fish balls in curry sauce. Go for those. There’s no use to eat the same thing in a different country. Eat what the locals eat. You’ll get a better understanding of their culture when you do.
Eat Away From the Crowd
Look, if a place is full of tourists, chances are that you’re not going to get a good dining experience there. You’ll have to rush out of the place without truly enjoying what you just ate. If you want to visit those, do so early in the morning when there aren’t a lot of people. For the most part, eat away from the crowd. There are plenty of nice restaurants that sit in small street alleys. These hole-in-the-wall restaurants might offer you the best dining experience. Be adventurous. You’ll never know how these places can surprise you.
Redefine What Dining Means to You
You need to have the attitude of a foodie, which means you don’t care if you’re eating hotel food or a stick of fish cake in the streets of Seoul. Redefining what dining means to you is composed of three things. One, fine dine-in does not mean expensive meals. Two, splurge at lunch because that’s way cheaper than dinner. And three, choose cafes because you’ll find locals there. You’ll get a better understanding of the city when you see couples and young families in coffee shops.
Take a Chance
If it feels too hectic to find a good place to eat, then take a chance. If there’s a restaurant in front of your hotel, go ahead and try it. You might be surprised that such a place offers also the best-tasting Mongolian beef. To truly appreciate the cuisine of a place, you must try out restaurants popping around the area. If it’s a bad meal, then you can warn other tourists on social media. Or better yet, let them find it out for themselves (though tell the restaurant owner what needs improvement).
Culinary experiences are like taking a trip to new places. Sure, you want to see the popular destinations, but aren’t you curious about what else the place has to offer? It’s a whole new world that you’re exploring, but the food is a major aspect of it. Give it the attention it deserves.