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6 Ways to Eat Like a Local

https://www.flickr.com/photos/trust4africasorphans/14026268988

https://www.flickr.com/photos/trust4africasorphans/14026268988

Cracking into the local food scene is a goal that every traveler should aspire to. There’s arguably no better way to experience the local culture than trying their signature recipes, sampling exotic ingredients (or, just as exciting, ingredients that you’re used to that are prepared in a totally different way), and sipping something totally new and delicious.

But in many places, getting the full local experience isn’t always easy. The tourism industry seems to think that all travelers want to be funneled into restaurants with overpriced, under-spiced dishes and more clichéd decorations than you could possibly imagine. In order to sample the best local goods, you sometimes need to get a little creative. Here’s what you need to do to eat like a local on your next trip.

Go Off the Beaten Path
It’s no secret that restaurants close to major tourist attractions are about as far from a local’s experience as you can get. Avoid the temptation to succumb to convenience, and wander away from the popular tourist areas. Think beyond the city: suburbs, fringe neighborhoods, and the countryside are all places where you might find a one-of-a-kind dive bar or hole-in-the-wall café, and you’ll probably also see some incredible sites along the way.

Follow the Crowd
No, don’t follow the crowds of visitors—follow the crowds of locals. Where do the local businesspeople take off to on their lunch breaks? What restaurants are crammed with local families around dinnertime? To eat like a local, follow their cues. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations.

Less is More
Enjoying local foods doesn’t necessarily mean spending more and dining at the finest restaurants (although that can be lots of fun, too). In fact, some of the best and most authentic meals will cost you next to nothing. Look for casual cafes or scout out a busy-looking food cart—who knows what treasures you might discover!

Eat With a Local
The best way to eat like a local is to eat with one! Get invited to a local dinner party through EatWith or BookaLokal. These awesome websites connects diners and home chefs in more than 150 cities worldwide. Contribute to the costs of hosting, and you could find yourself enjoying a traditional home cooked meal, a relaxed backyard barbecue, or even a multi-course feast.

Hit the Market
Browsing a grocery store or market can be a great way to discover local foods. It’s surprisingly fun to discover the differences between your own corner market and one abroad. Pick out a few new ingredients and try your hand at cooking up something tasty with your finds.

Time Your Travels
With a little pre-trip research, you might discover that your travel destination hosts an incredible food festival every fall. Or perhaps they are known for a specialty oyster that is only available a few months of the year. Do a little digging to find out what is in season and what events are in the calendar. Plan your trip to coincide with any must-try local foodie experiences.

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