Food while traveling

Estimated read time 5 min read

It’s been a few trips now that I’ve realized that food abroad is an integral part of a trip.

I would even say that it plays a very important role in the success of the trip, in my opinion.

1. Food

Since food is part of people’s daily lives, the way they eat can tell us a lot about them, their customs and their practices. When you are traveling and try to taste local specialties, I find that it is a way to immerse yourself in the culture and atmosphere of the country you are visiting.

When you have a small budget, it often happens when you start to travel, that you go shopping in the supermarkets, and that you make yourself sandwiches or quick things to eat. A bit like what we would do in France in picnic mode. It is certainly good for the budget, unfortunately it makes us miss an important part of our trip, linked to one of our 5 senses, which is taste, or even a second which would be smell. These two senses mark our minds, our memories, and what we feel during a trip.

That’s why now, I try as much as possible, if I want to stay within a fairly tight budget, to find good little addresses for reasonable prices, but which still allow me to discover the country’s cuisine.

2. If the budget allows it, you have to go!

There are countries in which the cost of living is quite high. Take ours for example, it is difficult to discover our specialties in a restaurant for less than 15 € per person. For someone who travels with several family members, this represents a fairly substantial budget over ten days, for example.

Conversely, there are countries in which food while traveling is really very affordable and has incomparable flavors. I think a good example would be Asia with the case of Thailand to talk about something I know. There you can get to eat a very local dish, in a small canteen run by a granny who will cook delicious food for you, for around 1 to 2 € with a small drink. As for the flavors and freshness of this kind of small roadside establishment, you can’t find better, not to mention the know-how.

So it seems to me that it would be a shame to deprive yourself of it. But is it still necessary to know that it is really worth it. It is indeed possible to have as a first instinct to do some shopping in the morning, to put all that in the backpack, and to eat in picnic mode a little bit every day.

If you are in a country that allows it, I honestly advise you to reserve part of the budget for food. I’m sure you won’t regret it. In any case, I have never regretted it and very often in some of my best travel memories, there are moments of meals in typical restaurants, to taste local specialties.

3. Discover the specialties

Another cliché and classic example that you might come across if you go for a weekend in Budapest or Prague is the famous goulash. It is impossible and inconceivable to miss it, moreover it may even be forbidden 🙂. Even if it will make you think of our beef bourguignon in more spicy, I think it is essential to taste this very widespread dish and very present in the local cuisine, because it is also part of the country you are visiting and its history.

I think you will agree with me on the fact that if during a trip we apply our daily French eating habits, then we obscure a part of the country we are visiting and we will miss something to discover to get rich and have fun.

Beyond everything I have just explained to you, there is also a good reason not to miss foreign cuisine, it is quite simply that you can sometimes make great discoveries and have good surprises, which can make great ideas to take home.

I also think that testing new culinary habits during a trip is part of the change of scenery that we seek on vacation, and of the side of escape and a break with everyday life and routine. At that moment, we are fully present and attentive to what we are experiencing, our senses are awake and we are in full discovery. This contributes to being in a state of well-being and to contributing to the success of our trip.

4. Meals, the common thread of a trip

This is why I can only insist on the fact that you absolutely must test the cuisines and flavors of the countries you are going to visit.

This may seem like an absolute no-brainer to most of you. But for the few who would not have had the immediate reflex to discover the cuisine of the countries they will visit, I still prefer to write a short article about it.

In general, when traveling, it’s very pleasant to remain open to everything that you can discover and which is not usual with us, which is not in our French customs. It can only contribute to our personal enrichment and to make us some additional memories.

I briefly spoke to you about Thai cuisine and the famous specialty of Eastern countries, but there are still plenty of other examples. What would a trip to Montreal be without devouring a good greasy poutine? What would a trip to Portugal be without tasting the famous cod? Or even a vacation in Crete without tasting the typical and Mediterranean cuisine? Or quite simply for a foreign tourist, a visit to France without having tested our wines, our cheeses, or any other famous specialty?

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