It had been ages since I have done some public speaking and so I was thrilled to be pushed to do so thanks to the folks at the Ultimate Travel Show in Toronto. I was invited to chat about “Exploring Cultures through Cuisines” and I think the main reason I was invited was because of my oversharing of food photos on my social media channels!
Jokes aside, there’s no denying the rise of food tourism and most of my friends return from their travels, waiting to share their discoveries and treats they’ve procured during their journey. In the the last ten years I find myself spending more time exploring a country’s cuisine, food culture and food traditions more than visiting monuments and attractions. Yet prepping for a food-centric vacation can be daunting and so I shared some resources I use to help us plot out where to eat.
Big thank you to the following bloggers for sharing some of their favourite food destinations with us! The Frugal Mom, The Daily Adventures of Me, Dobbernation, Merry About Town, Follow Summer, Pure Wander and It’s all Bee!
We all want to eat where the locals eat but trying to figure out where the locals REALLY eat can be tricky! I’m a huge fan of TripAdvisor’s Forum (vs. just the restaurant reviews) and always follow the food personalities that resonate with my taste buds. Anthony Bourdain is the most popular one but there’s plenty more out there, including vegan and vegetarian ones. Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri are also my faves! Google is amazing when trying to find local food bloggers who are the best sources for reviews and food porn as well. I love following hashtags on Instagram and that’s really how I figure out what dishes to have at the various restaurants. Don’t forget magazines like Wine Spectator (which lead us to Salpicon in Chicago) and Michelin Star ratings (still dreaming of our meal at the Yeatman!) but your friends know best so ask them too!
My biggest advice is to map out the attractions and landmarks you plan to visit and plot out the best spots around to dine at so that you’re not relying on Wi-Fi to get you to the nearby spots. Though at times, it’s fun to figure things out on the go and that’s when apps like Zomato come to play. It’s my favourite app for food discoveries because locals are the ones writing the reviews for the most part and you can’t go wrong with that level of expertise! If you end up chatting with locals, your concierge or patrons at a bar, make your questions specific (Eg: Best burrito, best spot to meet a chef during the lunch hour or cocktails with a view e.t.c) so as to help them give you the best advice.
When it comes to full immersion, there really is no better way to experience food traditions than through cooking classes and being invited into the local kitchens. Intrepid has some amazing food tours and experiences on offer and it’s on my bucketlist to try when the kids are older.
So much food to eat and so little time!