collaborative post | The experience of traveling is never complete without food. Trying local cuisines, whether you are taking a trip through the various states in the US or vacationing abroad, is necessary since it introduces you to the culture, traditions, and tastes of the area.
This trend of a food travel experience has taken off, especially in recent years, as millennials and Gen Z have embarked on leisure as well as business journeys across the globe.
From the pecan pies of Alabama to the Rocky Mountain Oysters of Colorado, from the scrapple of Delaware to the hot chicken of Tennessee, the US itself is a land of diverse culinary delights. If you travel beyond the country’s borders, you can try the legendary Italian margarita pizza, the traditional Turkish doner kababs, the deep taste of Russian caviar, or the French crepes, among a host of other cuisines.
With all that said, here’s how you can make the most of your food travel experience anywhere in the world:
1. Read up on the delicacies at your destination
A little research never hurts anyone. While you are reading up on the place you are visiting, finding accommodation, the places to visit, and finalizing your overall itinerary, make sure you look up the best foods you can eat while there. Trying famous local food and drinks should be a necessary part of your experience because eating is truly how you embrace the local atmosphere.
For instance, Tennessee wineries are known for their sweet southern wines and you can indulge in free tastings at Tennessee Homemade Wines if you’re traveling to Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
Similarly, Istiklal Street is a paradise for foodies if you are vacationing in Istanbul, Turkey. Each place has a wide variety of culinary delights and places that are considered hubs to get various foods. However, you won’t know about any of these places if you don’t research them.
You can use numerous sources to get information about famous and delectable cuisines of the world. You can either open up any of the several food blogs available online or search on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube, where travelers from around the world post about the places you need to visit for the best foods.
2. Don’t miss out on visiting the local farmer’s market
If you are more of a healthy, nutrition-loving person, a visit to the local farmer’s market is one you shouldn’t miss. This gives you the ideal opportunity to learn about some of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are grown fresh in the country or state you are visiting. You can enjoy these items directly as they come from the farm and pack all the natural nutrients.
Shopping at the farmer’s market is also great if you love to cook or self-cater. You can work with vegetables and other produce that is as fresh as it can be and packed with flavor. Also, as you may not be able to source some of these items readily back home, this is a great chance for you to enjoy the best taste the respective produce offers.
Most importantly, visiting the farmer’s market allows you to interact with the locals in a lively and hospitable environment. Not only can you learn about their customs and life on the farms, but also about how they grow the fruits and vegetables being sold. Lastly, this produce is sustainable, which gives you the chance to reduce your impact on the environment.
3. Prefer to eat at places that locals enjoy
Dine wherever people in the area eat if you genuinely want to sample local cuisine when you’re traveling. It is reasonable to expect that the meals you will be served will be nutritious and tasty if you come across a restaurant that is packed, especially with locals from the region you are in. Better still if they have a waiting list to enter.
You will need to learn where the locals eat to accomplish this. Try to avoid touristy places because they are typically more expensive and where residents rarely eat. Instead, go to the less busy, residential areas where residents are more likely to be found and where the food is less expensive. Ask for recommendations from locals you come across, especially those working at your place of lodging or other tour operators that don’t specialize in providing food.
4. Don’t miss out on the street foods
You’re visiting a new country or even a different state in the US and you don’t try the street food? Well, what are you doing there then? Food travel is not just about trying exquisite cuisines; it is more about enjoying the ordinary street food that the locals enjoy on a daily basis because that is where the true burst of flavor and experience lies.
Here are some of the leading street foods from around the world:
i. Carne Asada Tacos – Mexico,
ii. Carnitas – Mexico,
iii. Guotie – China,
iv. Gringas – Mexico,
v. Paratha – South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh),
vi. Banh mi – Vietnam
vii. Karaage – Japan,
viii. Lumpiang Shanghai – China,
ix. Roti Canai – Malaysia
If you are traveling within America, here are some of the most famous street foods in the US:
i. Kringle – Wisconsin
ii. Slaw Dog – West Virginia,
iii. Tommy – Texas,
iv. Puffy Taco – San Antonio,
v. Cheesesteak Sandwich – Philadelphia,
vi. Mission-Style Tacos – San Francisco,
vii. Spiedie – Binghamton,
viii. Ramen Burger – New York City,
ix. Wet Burrito – Grand Rapids.
This is not an ultimate list by any means, and if you are looking for more options, you can read about them here.
5. Attend food festivals
If you are in a foreign country or a different state during a time when they are holding one of their famed festivals, that is something you wouldn’t want to miss. And that is not just for the entertainment, local culture, art, and music options but also for the food they will serve. It is one of the best opportunities for you to experience the local food scene and how the locals enjoy it.
Tourism for the love of food may have picked up steam in recent years, but it is by far one of the best ways to embrace a new culture. Even when exploring different states of the US, you get a unique chance to bond over food because every place has its unique brand.