Eatin’ La Vida Local – how to eat like a local on vacation

Cuisine has always been, and will always be, an integral part of travel.

Food is a language everyone speaks, bringing people and cultures together in a way few other things can. So keep the following tips on the menu to ensure that your next trip is even more memorable and delicious.

Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem / Melody Moser

Shopping at Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem / by Melody Moser

Find the nearest market – Markets offer great insights into the area’s seasonal produce and local specialties, like beeswax candy from Pikes Place Market in Seattle or low-country shrimp and grits from Charleston’s famous farmers market. Or simply experience the freshness of the fruit and vegetables for sale at bustling Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem.


Chinese food truck in Noumea, New Caledonia / George Garrigues CC 3.0

Chinese food truck in Noumea, New Caledonia / by George Garrigues CC 3.0

Nosh on street fare – Eating out every night can be expensive, so supplement pricey entrees with street fare. In places like Southeast Asia, the best eats can be found on street carts and cost less than $10 USD for a complete meal.


Stopping for bread and cheese at Maya Schaper with On Location Tours, NYC / Melody Moser

Stopping for bread and cheese at Maya Schaper with On Location Tours, NYC / by Melody Moser

Take a food tour – If you’re going to a place for the first time and aren’t sure of the local specialties, sign up for a food tour and taste your way through the city. They take you to the most well-known eateries, ranging from pubs to five-star restaurants, and include bites or drinks at each stop. These tours are typically led by locals, so you get a truly unique insight into the place you’re visiting.


Portrait of female high school student learns foreign language and looking at cloud speech in the classroom / Deposit Photos

Learn a few key food phrases in your target language / Deposit Photos

Learn the language – If you’re traveling abroad, learning how to say hello and some key food phrases can help you determine the best restaurants from the tourist traps. If you’re short on time, download a translation app so you can better communicate with locals, read menus or convey important messages to waiters, like if you have a food allergy.


Girl texting on the smart phone in a restaurant terrace with an unfocused background / AntonioGiullemF

Girl texting on the smart phone in a restaurant terrace/ by AntonioGiullemF, Deposit Photos

Research social media – Before you go, download Yelp or Trip Advisor, two universal apps that rate and review restaurants, tours and bars. These will help you avoid places that serve lackluster or over-priced grub. In addition, contact local food bloggers and writers and ask them for their favorite restaurants or dishes.

Do you have any tips to add?  Let us know in the comments below!

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About Melody Moser

Melody Moser is a Travel Expert & Travel Writer specializing in Europe, river cruises and romantic travel. Based in southern New Jersey, she spends her time traveling the world, writing about it, and helping others fulfill their travel dreams.