How to plug into a local food scene when you travel
One of the biggest motivators to get on a plane and travel across the world is the food you’ll eat when you get there. Whether it’s sushi in Japan, pasta in Italy, or patisserie in France, the dishes we’ve tried and tasted at home can taste entirely different when consumed in the place of their provenance.
However, one of the challenges of landing in a new city without much local knowledge is that it can be harder to eat as well as you’re able to at home. In the absence of knowing what’s good, what’s overrated, and what’s in season you can end up relying on the kind of cliche advice that’s designed for tourists, not foodies. After all, if a restaurant has a sign boasting “Authentic Paella” or “Grandmother’s spaghetti,” chances are that locals wouldn’t eat there. And if you’re interested not just in eating well but in getting to know about the local ingredients, agro-ecology, growing season, food culture, and terroir of a place, it can be even harder to find advice that goes beyond the obvious.
Whether you’re aiming to eat cuisine cooked with local ingredients or simply eat as a local would, there are various ways that you can plug into a local food scene when you arrive in a city, whether it’s just for a weekend or a couple of weeks.
- Cook yourself from a market: A visit to a farmers’ market or open air market can be one of the best ways to find out what’s in season and what locals are eating. If you’re able to speak the language, ask vendors what they recommend this time of year. Seek out markets that feature local farmers’ produce and/or organic food. While it can be a little extra work to cook in your rented apartment or accommodation, it can be one of the cheapest and most direct ways to taste the kinds of flavours you’d never come across at home. (more…)