Tips for Experiencing Authentic Cuisine When Travelling

5 Tips for Experiencing Authentic Cuisine When Travelling

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

It is quite easy to fall into tourist traps when you are travelling. This is especially true when it comes to food. Without realizing it, most people end up eating at restaurants that may be considered “five star” but aren’t authentic at all. So, how can you make sure that you get to sample true local cuisine? Well, this is quite simple to manage. Just follow these five tips for experiencing authentic cuisine and you can walk away having enjoyed a truly genuine culinary experience!

1. Steer Clear of Guide Books and Hotel Recommendations


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Most guide books and hotels are going to send people to restaurants that are going to be considered “safe for tourists”. This doesn’t just refer to your physical safety. No, this term can also be used to describe eateries that are most palatable to tourists. Due to this, you may find that many of the dishes have been altered or watered down to suit an international clientele.

Naturally, this is not what you want. This is why you should steer clear of these suggestions as much as possible. Instead, look for guidance elsewhere. If you want to do your research ahead of time, read forums and other sites related to travel tips for experiencing authentic cuisine. These will often be more useful in determining the perfect local spots.

2. Eat With a Local


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As you can imagine, a local will be the best person to point you in the right direction when it comes to food. However, you do need to be careful about how you ask for recommendations. Keep in mind, most people will assume that tourists will want to eat food that is “familiar” to them. So, there is a good chance that they may suggest a less traditional spot.

This is why you should be insistent that they take you to a place where they usually have a meal. You should also mention that you are open to the idea of street food. This increases the chance that you will be taken to a more local-friendly spot.

You should get a couple of recommendations, though – don’t just stick to one or two. After all, you may have a couple of wrong turns on your culinary journey. So, the more information you have, the better your chance of hitting the jackpot.

3. Readjust Your Criteria


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When you are doing your research online, there is a good chance that you are looking up search terms such as “best restaurants in x” and similar phrases. The problem with this is that you can end up with more sanitized results, much like with your guide book.

This is why you need to narrow your search down a little more. Do a little digging into the local cuisine and pinpoint certain dishes and ingredients that you should be watching out for. For instance, if you are heading to Thailand, you can find out which dishes are more traditional.

Another little trick is to ask locals what their favorite childhood foods or comfort foods are. More often than not, these are only foods that natives know about. Thus, keeping an eye out for these foods, in particular, could prove to be a fruitful effort.

4. Procure Yourself a Home Cooked Meal


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Let’s face it, a home-cooked meal is as authentic as it gets. This is why you should always try to find a way to get one. The good news for you is that there are a couple of ways to do this. If you are able to befriend a local, you may find that an invitation is extended to you. If not, you could politely ask if you can join the family for a meal.

This also gives you the perfect opportunity to learn how food is traditionally cooked in that part of the world. You may even be able to pick up a few authentic recipes and cooking tips. Of course, to reciprocate, it is a good idea to shop for the ingredients for the meal.

In case you need some assistance on this front, you will find that sites such as For the Love of Coconut will help you to find the best traditional coconut milk brands to use. Or, you can simply ask your host what they would like you to buy. Either way, you can help to ease their duties a little.

In case this feels a little awkward to you, there are numerous websites and apps that will help you to plan this in advance. In fact, in some instances, you may be able to have a home cook come to your own place and cook for you. Or, you may be able to join a meal that they are already preparing. Either way, you can guarantee that it will be delicious and made with love.

5. Know-How to Spot a Good Place


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When you are travelling, you have to throw your definition of a “good” restaurant out the window. This is because it can change from one destination to another. For instance, in many parts of the world, some of the best restaurants may not care too much about décor or customer service. What they lack in these areas, though, they make up for in amazing food. In short, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Another thing you should do is to keep an eye out for little holes in the walls. Some of the best spots may not have obvious signs or flashing lights. So, don’t be afraid to head off the beaten path and do your own exploring.

You may also want to go looking for food during certain peak hours. This could be during lunchtime on weekdays or at dinnertime on weekends. You should then be able to spot the busiest areas around. As you can imagine, this means you will have to wait quite a while for your meal. However, the food should be worth the wait.

So, there you have it – your ultimate guide with the best tips for experiencing authentic cuisine while you are travelling. Follow these foodie tips and you will have a wonderful culinary journey. Just make sure to ask for and jot down recipes wherever you go. This way, you will be able to recreate some of these delicious meals when you are back home. It will be a wonderful reminder of your trip!

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This is a guest post written by a third party for Travel for Food Hub. If you'd like us to feature one of your own articles or become a regular contributor, contact us by clicking on the button below and filling out the form. We would be so glad to share your food and travel experiences!

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