Traveling the world is a wonderful way to expand your mind, cultivate lasting memories and experience things you never could at home. One of the most important aspects of diving head first into a new culture is of course the food. In our globalized world, you may see ethnic restaurants in your hometown, but when you visit the region for real, it’s natural to wonder how that food compares to the real thing. Here are a few things to consider when you choose a good restaurant on vacation.
Use the Resources You Already Have
The internet is your friend, both at home and abroad. There is a great chance that no matter where you’re vacationing, the various restaurants, from touristy to off the beaten path, have been visited, reviewed and critiqued by someone before. Restaurant reviews can be a great way to learn a little bit more about the place including a peek at the menu or even images of the food and location. Remember, just because a restaurant has one or two negative reviews among a sea of good ones doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to enjoy a meal. It’s impossible to please everyone, after all.
When in Doubt, Ask a Local
If you’re looking for authentic Pad Thai in Chang Mai, Thailand or the best Smörgåsbord in Stockholm, it never hurts to ask a local. If you can fumble your way through the language barrier, a local could steer you away from the tourist traps and to the places where you’ll find an authentic experience with whatever cuisine tickles your fancy. From your tour guides to your cab drivers, finding a great place to eat is only a short conversation away. To improve the quality of your interaction, learn a few simple phrases in the local tongue, like “best place to eat”.
Don’t Go Crazy
Look, we love being adventurous and always encourage people to go outside their comfort zone when it comes to traveling and especially food. However, if you’re not particularly fond of trying new foods, then finding a restaurant on vacation can be a stressful experience. Nobody wants to order and pay for something they’re not going to like and when kids are involved, it’s even more important to keep things simple. Even children with the most adventurous palates probably won’t appreciate something that looks, smells or tastes foreign.
At the end of the day, it’s great to try new things. However, it’s also important to make sure you’re eating well so you have the energy to climb that monument or take that bike tour. It’s okay to fall back on tried and true favorites when you choose a good restaurant on vacation!