I am traveling to ProBlogger blogging conference next week and my mind has already reverted to thinking about foooooood. I’ve picked out a few eating hot spots on the Gold Coast. I’m excited to try new things and one of my favourite things is enjoying local food when traveling. No surprises there, right?
Reminiscing on traveling and eating got me thinking about my favourite foods in my favourite place in the world. Not to mention every second person in my Instagram feed is there at the moment. Europe, you’ve been on my mind big time.
Europe has some of the most revered and oldest cuisines in the world and it would be a downright shame not to experience everything tasty each country has to offer. Never fear.. today I’m sharing my top 5 tips to immerse yourself in a countries local food and culture.
I’m not talking about the hotdogs available from the tourist shop in the main square that cost $14 or an egg and lettuce sandwich from the airport.. I’m talking about the local produce grown by a Tuscan farmer down the hill who’s family has produced artichokes for 80 years, or a type of shellfish the local fishermen catch in late summer.
I’m talking about the experiences and diving into the immersive culture of food, wherever you are.
Sometimes this is harder than it seems as tricky tourist traps pick hot spots to set up shop. Iit can be hard to know where the authentic spots are, how do you find them? You don’t want to end up at the hotel restaurant night after night just because you were ripped off and had a horrible experience at an un-authentic tourist trap.
1. Stay in an Air BnB – use the kitchen and local markets. Trip advisor has great markets, or ask your host.
AirBnB is amazing. I’ve written about my experiences here, here and here. I first used AirBnB in 2012 and since then it’s been my number one choice when traveling, every time. The hosts are a wealth of knowledge, hospitable, passionate about their home city and you have the most valuable traveling experience. You can ask them where their favourite places to eat are, the local markets and use their kitchen.
I alway stay in an apartment and book out the whole thing and between a few friends or family, it’s really reasonably priced. It’s one of the only ways to stay in authentic accommodation and the amenities mean you can cook, all the time! It also means you can spend more money on nicer places to eat out because you can cook half your meals at your apartment.
The picture below is a delicious meal my family and I cooked in an AirBnB in Avignon, France. We stayed here.
2. Eat where the locals eat. Tip: It’s not in the city square.
Go down that alley way, a little further out of the city centre and take that right turn. If you see 95% locals eat somewhere, go in. It doesn’t matter if you can’t read the menu! Go inside! Go inside!
If you’re not sure, you can organise foodie tours around cities and they will show you the city’s hidden gem’s. You’ll also meet other foodies and locals that way.
This was a delicious brunch spot in London my friend took us to, hidden away, filled with locals. It was so good that I’ve forgotten the name.. and didn’t take any brunch pictures! I shall get it for you!
3. Is the menu in English? Americanised meals? Nachos? Move on.. unless you’re in mexico.
You don’t want to be eating food you could eat at home. NO Starbucks, TGI Friday’s, Subway or any chain food you could eat at home, unless you’re in a pickle.
You want to be eating authentic local food so pay attention to the menu. Does it have ‘Aussie Caesar Salad’ on it? Because if you’re in Germany near a tourist hot spot at the Berlin Wall, you can probably bet that isn’t actually an Aussie Caesar Salad.. and get yourself some Currywurst!
This place in Hallstatt was fricken delicious.
4. Off the beaten track.. ask your tour guide, snorkelling coach or massuse where they like to go. Or, use a local foodie app.
The BEST cheese I have ever eaten was from a small deli in Saint Laurent d andenay, Burgandy, France. The town had 1 road in and out, a deli, bakery, mechanic and that was it. No one spoke English, but they had the best cheese I’ve ever eaten.
Local foodie apps:
– Townske – local creatives sharing their favourite spots around a city. Amazing, my favourite thing out at the moment.
– Foodspotting – it’s as amazing as it sounds
– Zomato – They have just bought out Urbanspoon and have more feet on the ground in each major city checking out all the listing ensuring they ate correct.
We stayed in this AirBnB here, which I found by basically throwing a dart at a map of the South of France and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. You can read an entire post about it here.
5. Be brave!
This last one is for the brave hearted but the experience is worth it, if that’s your thing. Try the local delicacy. It’s a delicacy for a reason, you can totally do it. I have a pretty weak stomach but I was so glad I tried squid ink pasta – so yum!
What are some tips you have to share for enjoying local food when traveling?
Have a wonderful day, Bec x
*This post was written as a submission into the Virgin Australia x ProBlogger Travel competition 2015.