“Dining out abroad – How to pick your restaurants?”
If you are an ordinary traveler, your first step in exploring a foreign country is sightseeing. However, if you are a foodie, we all know which building is the first to be visited. Restaurants, that’s right.
Now, let’s imagine you are abroad on a holiday. Even though you can’t wait to try local cuisine, you planned activities other than just pleasing your palate. In this case, an ideal situation would be that you did your research and used all resources you could find prior the holiday.
If you firmly believe that learning culture through local food is possible, stay with us as you will discover what you should do in order to pick your restaurant wisely when dining abroad.
Do your research
First and foremost, the research. How otherwise would you know that you are served a true local dish and not some mix of international and local food for tourists?
Find time before the trip to sit at your desk and do some researching. Use everything you can to meet the heart of the local cuisine: books, blogs, encyclopaedias, travel guides, etc. Write down the traditional dishes you would like to try.
For example, if you are travelling to Morocco, your must-try list should consist of: b’ssara (a soup of dried beans, sprinkled with olive oil and cumin), Kefta tagine (garlic, fresh coriander, parsley, cinnamon and ground coriander are added to beef/lamb mince, the mixture is rolled into balls and cooked in a tomato, onion and eggs sauce) and many others.
If the restaurant does not serve some of the local dishes, you know where the door is.
Follow the locals
Asking the locals when you arrive at your destination will considerably save your time looking for restaurants. While trying to find a good place to eat in this way, being explicit can help you immensely. Do not ask which restaurant they recommend you, ask them for the place they themselves go. You do not want to end up in a fancy restaurant having a meal you can find at home.
Another clever idea is to ask nothing and just follow the locals. Be subtle when looking for the place crowded with locals and when you find it, you can be sure you are on the right spot.
Use the travel apps
Using the applications is a good method when looking for local dishes since they can be used both as a part of your research and as a quick guide when you are at your destination.
If you are dining out in the USA, the UK, or Canada, essential apps are OpenTable and Urbanspoon, two most popular food guides in these English-speaking countries. On the other hand, FoodFinder is an app for a true global foodie as it has a list of dishes of almost all countries across the globe. It finds the restaurant via Google maps based on your pick of dishes.
Vegetarians have their apps, as well. VegOut finds restaurants which are vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly. Wine lovers will love this free wine app. When you download this app, it can help you find the restaurant where you can enjoy the bottle of free wine.
Find local markets
Local markets are not brimming with fresh produce only, but with cheap local restaurants, too. Athens’ Central Market, Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market and Mercado de la Merced in Mexico City are some of the markets where you will find the taste of local cuisine. In addition, ask the people in the market, both the vendors and complete strangers, for the recommendation. You may find yourself running around all over the town to find the restaurant a local told you about, but it is definitely worth it.
Finally, when you picked your restaurant, do not forget to learn a little bit of the lingo when you wantto ask for the bill so that you can round off your local cuisine adventure in style.