A true traveller visits a region not just to see the sights that the place offers but to indulge in the culture. A traveller attempts to interact with locals to learn their language and culture. He visits less-known places and natural wonders that are less touched by mainstream tourism. He walks down city streets and ride public vehicles to go to places. He attempts to immerse into the local lifestyle. In other words, a true traveller visits the place for the experience, not just for the usual sights.
That is why you see lots of true travellers trying out street foods, eating exotic foods with glee, dining in eateries where locals usually take their meals, or even visiting remote villages and towns to seek out traditional cooking. Experiencing local cuisine should absolutely be part of a traveller’s itinerary. There’s a lot of history and culture to be learned when tasting morsels; for instance, most meals in Middle Eastern countries are prepared with plenty of herbs, vegetables, and grains but with less or no meat at all. This may seem strange or even trivial if the traveller is a meat eater, but he will quickly realize that the cuisine in these countries is based on such ingredients because meat is quite rare here. It’s not a surprise since cattle cannot survive in the desert.
But one thing comes also comes into mind when it comes to trying out a country’s cuisine: money. A traveller constantly looks for ways to reduce his expenses while satisfying his taste buds.
If you consider yourself as a true traveller, then trying out local cuisine is a must-do. Here are some of the simple but effective ways on how to have a gastronomic feast in another land without blowing a hole in your pocket:
- Book in a hotel that offers complimentary breakfasts. This way, you won’t have to pay for the first meal of the day. Now, you may come across the phrase “continental breakfast” offered for free by some hotels. Be wary of this as it may just be simple hot coffee, toasted bread, and butter. It is recommended that you get in touch with the hotel and ask them what exactly is included in the breakfast.
- If you have booked a tour that extends well into the day, check if the service includes lunch. I had a packaged tour to the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan in the Philippines and didn’t spend a cent on lunch because it was included in the package. The hearty lunch consisted of traditional but delicious Filipino food freshly cooked by local fishermen.
- Eat in kitchenettes, which are sometimes called eateries in other countries. These establishments serve everyday, traditional food that locals eat. Therefore, your dining experience can’t get any more authentic than in kitchenettes unless someone invites you for dinner in their home.
- Do you want to have a taste of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, and herbs? Head off to the farmer’s market. The products here are fresher, tastier, and cheaper than those sold in supermarkets.
- Be on the lookout for all-you-can-eat promos. That’s real value for your money while indulging in a gastronomic feast.