So there’s a lot to be said for turning up to a new city wide-eyed and unprepared, but unfortunately, this can be a hit and miss approach for finding the best food around. Here are some tips to get you going in the right direction so you can make the most of the local cuisine…
1. Do Your Research
If your heart is set on finding some top munch, it’s essential you know what you’re looking for. A great place to start are local food blogs and social media – search the place tag for your city of choice on Instagram, and scour the results for food pics which look interesting. More often than not, the name of the place will be right there underneath the photo! One last insider research tip is to follow in the footsteps of your favourite online foodies! Usually, all the details you need are given away in videos, blogs and vlogs, and chances are, there’s some serious research taken place for their trip – *cough* Lost & Hungry in the USA!! *cough*
2. Ask Around
So you’ve landed at your new destination, you’ve dutifully written up a list of all the places you want to visit after following step 1, and you’re ready to start eating. However, never, ever underestimate the people who live there, they really do know best. Ask the people you’re staying with, ask taxi drivers and other travellers you meet along the way. Don’t forget, some hotels get paid commission from local restaurants for their recommendations, so always take their suggestions carefully! One last great way to connect with people who live in your new city is through #Lost&Hungry on twitter – the SORTEDFood community are a pretty decent bunch, and you sure do know what you’re talking about when it comes to food!
3. Get Out There!
Obviously, you need to actually hit the streets to taste some of the food you’ve been hearing all about. Quite often, we’ve had to go off the beaten track by taking taxis, buses, you-name-it, to find that one vendor everyone is talking about it. If you’re in a busy area and menu touts are trying to pull you in, that’s the biggest signal to run away – any restaurant which needs a person outside to drag people through the door obviously doesn’t have food worth talking about. However, always be prepared for your plans to change – opening times might be different to what you expect, or even, vendors might have moved on to a new spot leaving you stranded and hungry – that’s happened to us too many times. But don’t give up, be flexible and ready for change. Having a plan B for lunch is never is bad idea…
4. When In Rome
…do as the Romans do! This really is the holy grail of finding the best food. There’s no point travelling all the way to Bangkok if all you want to eat is pizza. Chances are it will be the worst pizza you’ve ever eaten. Also, think about where you are. If you’re 3000 miles from the coast, the chances are the seafood isn’t going to be all that fresh. Go to the beach, and start talking to the fishermen – you never know, they might just sell you an oyster or 3. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in with the local cuisine, if the local delicacy is eel porridge for breakfast, then you guessed it, you should be eating eel porridge for breakfast. The ingredients are more likely to be fresh, and the cook is more likely to know what they’re doing!
5. The Golden Rule
Lastly, there is one golden rule. Always make sure the places you visit are busy with a high turnover of customers – that way, you can guarantee the food is fresh. Find out the best time of day to eat in your new city, look for a queue and don’t be afraid to wait. Plus, that many people can’t be wrong about good food, can they?
Lou and Dave have recently been travelling around Mexico and did a great job keeping us up to date. To keep up with the full story and to find even more stunning photos, don’t forget to follow them on Instagram @twohungrybrits and catch up with their blog.