There is always a lot of planning that occurs before visiting a country for the very first time. What are the important sites to see, which cities should you visit, what are the best transportation options, etc. All of those are obviously important things to research, but what about the foods that you should eat and the restaurants that you should go to? Eating the food that is specific to a country, region, or city is part of the experience that really shouldn’t be an afterthought. It is good to know what you might want to try as well as some things that you probably shouldn’t eat.
In addition to doing some research before going to a country, we also ask a lot of locals about where we should go, especially to find out who might make the most authentic dishes. Obviously, you can’t go to every restaurant that you hear about, but at least you can prioritize the ones you want to visit. It is also important to know what might be in season where you are going so that you can understand what might either not be available or perhaps not the best during your visit.
Mostly we try to find local food prepared by family owned or small restaurants that have a reputation for serving fresh and creative food. Depending upon where we are, getting food from street carts or food trucks is also a favorite option to get a taste of what locals eat on a daily basis. It may seem odd to some people, but we feel that what we eat and drink when we travel is as crucial a part of the experience as the places that we see or the people that we meet. It is one of the reasons that we also try and replicate meals from some of our favorite journeys so that we can recreate and reminisce about a past experience that is more tangible than just looking at the photos taken during our travels. What are your thoughts, do you research and have a set of foods or drinks that you want to try before you’ve even stepped off of the plane or train?