This guest post was written by Pia Sørensen.
When you are planning a trip to a new city or country, you probably have an idea of the activities and attractions you would like to experience during your stay. But have you thought about which foods you will be eating?
Although they are not all as famous as Germany’s Sauerkraut or Naples’ pizza, most places have a local must-try dish. If you want to check culinary experiences off your list, make sure to do a little research before you leave, so you will know exactly where to find it.
Once you have covered the obligatory dishes, it’s time to get adventurous and find your own personal favourites among the local food offers. To get you off to a good start, we have gathered some useful advice that will help you to steer clear of the tourist traps and to seek out truly authentic flavours and experiences.
1) Go where the locals go
We all know the saying ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Not surprisingly, this applies to food, too. If you are looking to dine out during a trip abroad, look for the places where the guests seem to be locals rather than tourists - if it is good enough for them to keep coming back, it is worth a try, right?
Of course, it is not always easy to spot these places yourself as they tend to be tucked away in the side streets. However, we are sure your local Showarounder will be more than happy to give you a few tips on where to go!
2) Ask the right questions
When you are looking for local experiences, it is always good to ask for advice from the locals themselves. However, in the case of local foods, you should make sure to ask the right questions.
If you go to a city like Copenhagen and ask the locals what Danish food you should try, chances are they will tell you about traditional dishes like frikadeller and smørebrød - only to go out and eat something completely different themselves.
To eat like a true local, ask your host or guide about their own favourite foods and restaurants. With personal recommendations like this, you are sure to get a taste of the food scene favoured by the locals - traditional or not.
3) Sign up for a social dining event
Can you imagine what it would be like to have a friend in every city that could introduce you to the very best of the local cuisine? Maybe even invite you to a real family style meal? Well, if you are not among the lucky few, social dining is a good alternative, as it is all about giving you a home-like experience - even if you don’t know a soul in the city you are visiting.
Through platforms like TastePlease, you can browse for privately hosted meals all over the world and join a local family for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This way, you can have your main course served with a side of local tales and personal anecdotes!
This way, you can have your main course served with a side of local tales and personal anecdotes!
Should you get the chance, joining a community dinner in the area is another way to turn your meal into a social - and local - experience. Generally these dinners bring people together across generations and social groups, so you will be sure to get many different perspectives on the places you visit.
4) Seek out locally sourced produce
As great as it can be to socialize with the locals and make new friends at private dinners, you probably wish to explore the public side of the city and its food scene, too. If so, remember to look for farmers’ markets, nearby vineyards etc., where you will have the chance to enjoy fresh foods and produce straight from the source.
No matter what you prefer, the hectic buzz of a busy market, for example, or the peace and quiet of the great outdoors, the special atmosphere of these places will be sure to add an extra element to your food experience!
5) Keep an open mind
Our last piece of advice seems like the simplest of them all, but it is also the most important. To fully experience the food culture of your place of visit, you should be prepared to leave your comfort zone and try foods that you normally would not consider eating.
Local delicacies vary greatly across the world, and at first glance some of them are sure to seem weird to you. If you give them a try, however, you may be positively surprised by the flavour combinations - and even if that is not the case, you are sure to go back home one experience richer!
Guest blogger: Pia Sørensen has always been fascinated by the languages and cultures of the world. She is the kind of traveler who takes her time to experience what life is like in a new country, and she is likely to come back years later to revisit old memories and discover new sides of familiar places.
Showaround: Thank you Pia for being our guest blogger!