Going to new places means you get to try the local food! It’s definitely one of the most interesting things about traveling. Whether you’re headed to the South in the USA for a crawdad dinner, or you get some authentic Italian in Little Italy in Manhattan, local food is an adventure. But finding the best places to eat that are local favorites sometimes takes a little sleuthing. You might not know the best place to find party pizza in Providence, RI, or the best spot to grab ice cream in Austin, TX. But the locals do. Here’s how you can eat like a local no matter where you go:
8 Ways to Eat Like a Local
Ask on Local Groups
Before you head off to a destination, ask on local Facebook groups if there are must-have foods from their region. You don’t want to miss out on getting a taste of the local culture here in the USA or overseas. Joining a group can help you get this information. Another option is to find a Reddit thread with people from the city you’re looking at visiting.
Go to Farmers Markets
When you get there, skip the grocery store and find a farmers’ market instead. Farmers’ markets are a great way to get to know the community and its people. Plus, there are often small food businesses there that may be able to offer you more advice on finding great local restaurants and bars. Plus, when you buy at the farmers’ market, you know you’ll be supporting local businesses, which is always great when you are a tourist somewhere new.
Ask Ghost Kitchens for Recommendations
Ghost kitchens are places that rent out commercial kitchen space to food businesses. Many ghost kitchens have listings of businesses that use their space to make food products. You can get some fantastic recommendations for cupcakes, tamales, and whatever people are making locally. For instance, find a ghost kitchen in Austin and you might find out about a food truck that drives around selling the best burritos or cookies that melt in your mouth.
Try a Street Food Tour
If you’re looking to get a real taste of the local culture, a street food tour is an excellent way to do it. Street food can be found in nearly every city around the world. If you have an iron stomach, street food is an affordable way to eat, and it features all the unique flavors of the region you’re visiting. Whether you’re in southern Mexico or walking the streets of Italy, there are street food vendors all over the place.
Ask a Local When You Get There
Find a local coffee shop or café when you arrive at your destination and ask about where locals like to eat. You might find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that you would’ve never noticed otherwise. If you’re looking for a specific kind of food, you might ask more detailed questions about the best place to find that food item nearby. Most locals are happy to help tourists when they are kind and polite.
Avoid Chain Restaurants
Of course, many locals eat at chain restaurants like McDonald’s or Baskin Robbins. But they also frequent other food businesses. Avoiding normal places can help you experience the food like a local. This might mean finding a good BBQ place in Texas or asking about where to get fish and chips in the UK. Chances are, the local pub in the UK is your best bet.
Check With Google
Of course, if you have your smartphone with you, you can get Google recommendations. Checking the reviews on Google and other sites like Yelp can give you an idea of what people think about a specific restaurant or café. You can learn a lot, good and bad, when you read these reviews. Also, if you have a food intolerance like gluten, for instance, you can look up diners’ experiences as a gluten-free traveler who eats at certain restaurants. and what their experience was like.
Eat at a Boutique Brewery
Boutique breweries are small craft breweries that make a limited number of beers. They tend to be family-owned and operated, with unique flavors and styles that you won’t find anywhere else. These little places sometimes offer some of the best dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. You can also walk through town at night to find local spots, or even visit a local pub or bar.