CULINARY TRAVEL

Travelling to Treat Tastebuds

BY Pallavi Pinakin

People travel for different reasons – to discover new cultures, relax and recharge, spend time with loved ones and so on. Luckily for foodies, culinary travel has really picked up in the last decade. It’s no longer unusual for entire holidays to be centred on gastronomy!

Nevertheless, however much you love food, it can be challenging to eat and drink well while being far away from the comfort of your home country. Here are some pro tips to help you surprise and delight your tastebuds in a brand-new destination.

DO THE RESEARCH While this sounds obvious, we sometimes forget that even standard fare is anything but that once you’ve crossed international borders. Even something as common as a burger can look and taste very different from country to country.

In addition to the actual dishes, you should also learn more about the destination’s unique dining culture. For instance, lunchtime in Spain comes close to dinnertime in the Netherlands. Tipping culture prevails across the US but is virtually nonexistent in France.

FREE TO EXPLORE The fastest and easiest way to get a taste of regional gastronomy is to go on a guided food tour as soon as you arrive. That way, you can see what you like and then spend the rest of your holiday exploring those preferences further.

If you prefer to lead your own food discoveries, then in-depth research is your best friend. Look up typical local ingredients that appeal to you; then put together a short list of dishes in which they are featured.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try home-style meals prepared by local residents or join cooking classes hosted in their homes. Such dining experiences can be found on platforms such as Traveling Spoon and Eatwith.

OPT TO GO LOCAL Avoid tourist heavy areas when it comes to mealtimes since eateries in these places tend to dilute authentic flavours to appeal to wider audiences, and to overprice the food.

If you incline to decide on your next meal based on reviews, pick spots with numerous approvals from local reviewers – they’re speaking from years of experience and will usually recommend places with a great cost to quality ratio.

SAY IT IN PRINT If you have food allergies or dietary preferences such as veganism, it’s worthwhile printing out your personal requirements in the local language and carrying it around with you. It sure beats having to mime what you can and cannot eat every time you order!

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