Updated: Feb 3
1. Do research before you go! If you're a real big foodie, try looking up food festivals and events first. See if anything is happening around the time you want to go to this destination. Then, start investigating the area you'll be going to and some good local cuisine places or items to cook new foods with that are a MUST TRY. Planning in advance will help you not waste your time while you're there trying to figure out what restaurants you'd like to visit. Google Maps would be ideal to zone in on restaurants in the area you'll be traveling to. Save places with a high star rating and check out the reviews. You can do the same with landmarks or other destinations you'd be interested in. More points if the reviews are written in their local language!
2. While you're researching, search up some basic vocabulary that you might need while you're there. Foods, numbers, "please", and "thank you" will get you further than everyone getting frustrated with the language barrier. It also shows you have respect for their country and the people in it. Make sure you learn, "I don't speak insert language here" in their language as to prevent a whole one-sided conversation with awkward nodding on your part! Google Translate would come in handy in these situations. Also, Foodict Gourmet Food Dictionary is an app you can use that has thousands of translations of different dishes and what they are. So if you get stuck on what something is, it'll come in handy.
3. Would you rather have a home-cooked meal? Sign up for cooking experiences! You can use the Cookly app to find cooking classes all over the world. EatWith also offers cooking classes, as well as allows you to connect with a local and have them whip you up a home-cooked traditional meal in their own home. With 150 countries and over 500 chefs around the world, you're bound to find one near your travel destination! If you're looking for more specific destinations for cooking experiences, Cookapp is located in Argentina, TravelingSpoon is located in Southeast Asia and Japan, and Home Food is in Italy. AirBnB even offers different experiences, including cooking classes sometimes. Be sure to check them out for your next trip!
4. While you're there, you can find the best places to go even if you didn't do any research. You could observe and ask the locals where they go. You can learn a lot about asking the locals about anything about their hometown, especially the best places or things to eat. Instead of asking, "Where is the best place to eat around here?" try, "Where do you go to eat?" That way, they won't point you in the direction of the most touristy place, but, rather, their favorite local place. If there is a crowd in front of a restaurant, and that restaurant only serves one or two items, you know they must be doing something right! Watch to see what they do, how they order, what they order, how they behave at this particular location so you can get a better idea of what to do.
5. You could use other handy apps like Foodspotting. This is an app that will take you directly to the best-rated dish in town. If you're looking for something specific, and want the best, this would be the app to use. If you're looking for the best rated places to eat, LocalEats shows you a directory of the best local restaurants all over the US and in over 50 cities in Europe and Asia. It can also notify you when there's a great place not too far from you! Another life saver to have handy is the "Translate images" part of Google Translate. You'd have to open up your camera using the camera button below the Google search bar, and scan over the written text to have Google translate it for you. That way, you know what you're ordering and can figure out what's best for you! Sometimes it doesn't get the entire translation, or translates it poorly, but you should get the gist of it.