I am getting ready to leave on vacation and while I was planning my days, I decided to share with you some of my tips for traveling like a foodie. I put together a list with 10 Tips for Traveling Like a Foodie, annnnd, also created a workbook you can take with you on your next adventure!
Discovering the World Through Food
I love food and good story, that much you already know.
In my recipe posts, I always try to share some information about Brazil, and what makes a particular dish relevant in Brazilian culture, or in my experience growing up in that culture or as an expatriate.
Maybe what you didn’t know yet is that I also love to travel… to eat! I have learned so much at dining tables during my travels. So much that, to me, there is absolutely no better way to discover a new culture than through the world of food. What do people eat there? Why do they eat what they eat? How do they eat? What foods are available? How much do they cost?
I just wish I had kept better track of my food travel experiences. It would have helped me give better recommendations about the places I’ve visited, and it would have given me something to refer back to when I’m trying to recreate a dish. With that in mind, just recently, I started to bring a notebook with me everywhere to take notes. And from there, I put together this workbook! To get a copy, just subscribe below to get access to the link to download it.
Next time you grab your backpack to head on to a new adventure, resist the urge to hit the nearest Starbucks or McDonalds. Keep an open mind, and be prepared to try new things in every meal!
Tips for Traveling Like a Foodie
Things like staying out of jail, taking lots of pictures and keeping an open mind are pretty much a given when traveling anywhere. But just in case you needed a reminder, there ahaha In addition to that, here are my 10 tips for traveling like a foodie:
1. Before You Go, Make a List of Authentic Local Dishes
So, you know where you are going. Now, do some quick research to find out what are the authentic foods (and drinks!) of that region (country, state, city) you are about to go visit. You can check Anthony Bourdain’s recommendations, ask on Facebook travel pages, google keywords, search on Pinterest, look for Instagram hashtags… I mean, there are literally so many ways to go about this. As you research, make a list (on your workbook!) of the things you definitely want to try.
2. Keep a Food Journal
So, you’ve arrived at your super awesome destination! Woohooooo now pull out your list (or the awesome FREE workbook I hooked you up with), and start eating. Every time you eat ANYTHING take some notes. New flavors, colors, new ingredients, smells… Sometimes I draw sketches of how the dish was presented in addition to taking a cool picture for Instagram, ya know.
Keeping a journal is awesome because you can keep track of your experiences. Then, when you go back home, you can recreate your favorite dishes with more clarity based on your notes, rather than from memory. Also, when you see a recipe for a dish you tried during a trip, you don’t need to be intimidated to prepare it, because now you have great notes on what the dish is supposed to look like, taste like, smell like. You will become a more versatile and confident cook as a result!
3. Eat at a Local’s house
I mean, don’t just invite yourself into a stranger’s house, please! But, if you have the opportunity to dine at a local’s home you’ll truly experience real life in the place you are visiting. Make sure to ask your host to make something authentic, something they feel represents their region,and keep taking your notes! Do people touch their food with their hands? What are their overall table habits? Do they drink alcohol? How much food is served and in what order? and take notes in your journal (in your workbook!!).
Don’t forget to ask your host lots of questions. Ask them how often they eat the food they’re serving and why is it traditional. If they don’t know the answer, write it on your journal and google it later!
Also, not all hope is lost if you don’t know any locals in the place you are about to visit. There are apps and websites where you can connect with local people all over the world, who want to cook home cooked meals for travelers, such as Eat With, Meal Sharing, With Locals, and Eat With a Local. I have never personally used any of these services, but they are very popular and known. Make sure to check the menu they present, to confirm they are serving authentic local food.
4. Visit Local Markets
I love me a food market. Wherever the heck I go, I check out grocery stores or street markets, or both if I have the time. I love to walk through all the aisles to check out new stuff, buy some new things to bring home, get some random gifts, look at what’s on people’s carts… Don’t judge me, but I think this is soooo fun! haha
5. Eat Local (“Neighborhood Faves” Spots)
If you don’t have the opportunity to eat at a local’s home, try a “neighborhood favorite” restaurant, and ask the locals there what dish they think represents that place, that neighborhood.
You can always ask for local recommendations that are not ‘touristy’ at your hotel, or ask a tour guide.
6. Street Food
Don’t shy away from street food! Just be cautious of what you eat, cos, you know… food poisoning in a foreign place has got to be a horrendous thing!
7. Tasting Menus
One of my favorite ways to stuff my face with as many new flavors as I possibly can. If the restaurant doesn’t have a tasting menu, try to always order an appetizer, a main, and a dessert. And if you’re traveling with a group, and everyone orders something different you can all share to have a taste of everything!!
8. Get a Little Fancy
I mean, it’ s fun to vary things up a bit, so if you’ll give street food a try, fancy food should also have its moment of glory if your budget allows. Try a Michelin Starred restaurant if there are any where you are going. Why not?
Cheers to new cultures, right!? Try local teas, juices with local fruits, visit local breweries, local wineries, distilleries… There’s just so much to drink out there!
10. Cooking Classes
Cooking classes and food tours are a super fun way to experience a new cuisine first hand. I find a lot of such things on Get Your Guide, and trip advisor. Depending on where you are going it might be a little harder to find anything, but don’t give up so easy. Try to google ‘food tour’ or ‘cooking classes in english” and the name of the place and see if anything comes up.
And that’s it. These are the things I keep in mind when I travel – did I miss anything?
I can’t always check every box on my list, but if I have the time, I sure try! Having my list ready before I go is helpful and it keeps me on task.
What about you? Do you have any foodie travel tips? Leave me a comment and let me know!
And remember, next time to you pack your bags to head on to a new adventure, don’t forget to bring your workbook with you! Subscribe to get your copy and start traveling like a foodie!
Safe travels and Bom Apetite!!