No matter whether you’re at home or away, you have to eat, right? But, what you eat can greatly impact your trip.
Whilst I’m sure you’ve heard fellow travellers recall painful tales of the dreaded ‘Bali belly’ (or maybe you’ve even been struck down by it yourself), isn’t it the worst food experience you could have on your travels? Now, before your wild imagination takes you on a journey to a crazy episode of Banged Up Abroad and imagining all the horrible things that could happen, let me assure you that it’s nothing like that at all.
The worst food experience you could have whilst travelling isn’t eating some unknown meat (trust me I’ve been there), or eating something that might make you sick (also been there). In fact, it’s denying oneself the opportunity to truly experience the local cuisine and food scene to avoid some risk. Obviously being violently ill would blow this one out of the water, but being cautious with what you eat doesn’t mean you have to miss out!
We’ve all heard the saying ‘when in Rome’, by which many travellers seem to abide. They’ll visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris (even if they have no interest in architectural structures), they’ll ride on a gondola in Venice (even if they don’t care much for boats or canals), and they’ll eat pasta in Italy (even if they don’t normally eat so many carbs). Travellers follow this motto for all the iconic things, but sometimes we forget just how iconic specific food traditions and ingredients are to each and every place around the world.
Every country, every state and even every city has a unique food culture and produce that is significant in their dishes. It is easy to forget this, especially in countries like Australia, but every city, like all of us, is individual, and experiencing the local food scene can be one of the best insiders’ guides to a city.
Experiencing a city’s food scene can seem simple enough. Go wherever looks busy or consult the ratings on TripAdvisor, Zomato or the like. But, there are a few holes with this approach alone – this is where food tours come into play. Throughout all of my travels in numerous countries, I have been on many food tours, and these are some of my best travel memories (full disclosure yes, I am a bit of a foodie!). These food tours weren’t just some of my favourite experiences because of great food (although that helped), they were my favourite because I got to eat at places I wouldn’t have found on my own (even with TripAdvisor).
I got to try a number of iconic dishes at places that did them the best. I got to learn about the city’s history from a whole other perspective. I got to learn intriguing facts about local dishes and ingredients. I got what truly felt like an insider’s view into the city. Plus, these people want to stay in business so they’re not going to take you anywhere you’re likely to end up with ‘Bali belly.’
Today, you can take a food tour in just about every city around the world. Even if it’s a city you’ve visited before, I encourage you to take a chance and try a tour. Try new places to eat, try local specialties and avoid having the worst food experiences when you travel by just eating what you would at home or going to just one place that comes highly recommended without knowing exactly what to order there.
Go on, indulge yourself!