How to Eat Like the Locals Do While You’re on Vacation

If you love eating out and exploring new cuisines, your upcoming vacation is the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons. Here’s how to eat like a local.

If you love eating out and exploring new cuisines, your upcoming vacation is the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons. Here’s how to eat like a local.

Food is one of the main reasons why people travel. What’s the point of visiting another country if you’re not going to try a few local specialties? As a traveller, you’re always going to encounter tourist traps but with a few simple tips, you can make sure that you’re dining like a local for most of your upcoming vacation.

Insider Tips for Dining Like a Local

  • Do a little research before you leave

Discovering hidden gems while you travel is all a part of the fun but it never hurts to do a bit of research before you hop on a flight. There is a wealth of insider secrets and local tips available to anyone who performs a quick search on their destination, so make sure that you don’t miss out on a few of the best dining experiences. Doing a quick search will also tell you the best times to visit certain restaurants too.

  • Forgo the English menus

If you really want to eat like a local, try out restaurants that don’t have English menus. This is not to say that there aren’t any good local restaurants with English menus, they’re just tourist traps more often than not.

  • Don’t skip local food markets

Local food and farmer’s markets are often some of the best places to experience local cuisine. Almost every country in the world has these types of markets, so ask around and plan a fun day out. You may even stumble upon a market or two as you go about your day, so give them a try if you do.

  • Watch what the locals do

One of the best ways to find out about the best places to eat is to ask locals themselves. Whether this is the concierge at the hotel or the server at a restaurant, locals are generally more than happy to provide you with some of their personal recommendations.

  • Use your hands and eyes to order

Trying to make sense of a menu or asking your server to explain all of the dishes to you are not the only ways to decide on a meal. Take a walk around the restaurant and see if you can spot any dishes that look particularly appealing to you. You could also ask what the house specialty is and give that a try.

  • Learn the etiquette

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at local restaurants, it helps to know the etiquette. Websites such as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet offer a lot of information on the right and wrong ways to dine out in foreign countries.

Over and above these tips, remember to relax and enjoy this experience. In most countries, locals are very used to foreign diners and are more than happy to help – they’re not going to judge you if you don’t know how to pronounce something. Locals want you to have an enjoyable experience so let them make recommendations and enjoy exploring these new dishes.  

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.