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Planning on visiting a new and exotic locale soon? Got your napkin and cutlery ready? Turning our travels into a gastric tour is a great way of squeezing a bit of extra fun and experience into your holiday, but there are of course some tips that can help you to really get the most out of the experience.
Wherever you go in the world, from Canada’s Fairfield Inn & Suites Kelowna to the Finnish Kakslauttanen arctic resort, you’re going to encounter examples of local cuisine that you may well have never tried or even dreamed of before.
Here are a few basics on how to properly experience local cuisine when abroad.
Be daring and try things you’d normally never eat
Every country on earth will have some dish which is the equivalent of “boiled potatoes and beef” or “eggs and bacon”, but just because these extremely familiar dishes have exotic names in different locales doesn’t mean you’re experiencing the full scope of the local cuisine by sticking to them.
To really experience the food culture of a place, you need to be daring and try things that you would normally never eat if left to your own devices back at home.
Excepting things you’re allergic to or ethically opposed to, pretty much nothing should be off-limits. You’re visiting a nation where one of the delicacies is a type of fat mealworm, or a stewed sheep’s head? Have a try and see if your perspective budges.
You should always be looking for ways to expand your comfort zone when overseas, even if just so that you have some more interesting stories to share with friends and family when you get back home.
Experiment with the local take on some of your favourite foods
Now, although being daring and adventurous on your culinary world tour is important, that doesn’t mean that you’re only out there to test the limits of your courage and your taste buds.
One great and interesting way to enjoy the cuisine of a place is to try the local variations of some of your favourite staple foods from back home.
If you’re in Naples, it only makes sense to try an authentic Neapolitan pizza. If you’re in India or Thailand, trying an authentic local curry is likely to be an eye-opening experience.
Many foods that you’ll already be familiar with will taste subtly, or completely, different when given a local spin — and especially when served in their country of origin.
Consider going hungry for a while to enhance the flavours
This tip might not be for everyone — people with hypoglycaemia, for example, should give it a miss — but there’s something to be said for letting yourself go a bit hungry from time to time while travelling, for the sake of whetting your appetite.
A lot’s been written recently about the health benefits of occasional fasting. Aside from these, it’s really easy to eat light or skip a meal or two when catching planes and buses for half the day. In fact, it’s easier than staying well-fed.
Saving some of your appetite for a big dinner from time to time will allow you to enjoy the local flavours in a more complete and in-depth way than you would otherwise. It’s like they say, after all, hunger is the best appetiser.