There are many reasons for wanting to discover a new country but if you’re a traveller who enjoys their food, a delectable cuisine might just swing it. Whether you’re a sucker for the creamy cheeses and world-class wines of France, the fresh pastas and sweet gelato of Italy or the spicy curries and fragrant rice dishes of Thailand, the chance to sample local specialities at their most authentic is a treat that any foodie will find hard to resist.
However, if you’ve been fretting that eating out every night may end up munching its way right through your already thinly stretched budget, never fear. Trying the local cuisine can actually save you money! You just need to apply a little thought to where and what you choose to eat, and you could very well dine like royalty most nights of your trip.
The reason for this is that local specialities are generally based on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients that are consequently fresher, better tasting and cheaper to secure. It figures that if you are visiting the Malabar Coastline in India, you will find creative fish dishes in abundance, thanks to the sea acting as a natural larder nearby. However, should you holiday further inland, in the desert state of Rajasthan for instance, the dishes are more likely to be based around dried pulses that easily keep in the harsh climate or buttermilk instead of water which is scarce in some areas.
By eating local food, you will enjoy an authentic taste of the region, experience a new culture through your culinary journey, and end up paying less into the bargain.
Tips for eating cheap and local
Some parts of the world are famous for their delectable street food. In Bangkok, for example, you can find everything from pad thai to mystery meat on a stick, sold by vendors on street corners around the city. Some areas are even designated zones for night markets where stalls set up as the sun goes down and you can pull up a chair to dine on whatever you fancy.
Some of the best local food can be sourced from street food stalls, but use a little common sense before purchasing a sample. Try to choose a place that looks clean and preferably that attracts a mix of people – both tourists and locals alike – as you might find your stomach isn’t able to handle certain foods in the same way the locals can.
Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it also has a reputation for world-class food at high prices. However, you can find menus that are equally tempting, if you are willing to explore the family-run, independent trattorias, scattered throughout the city. These menus might be simple, but they are filled with wholesome, traditional Italian food, home-cooked and easy on the budget. Look for local, independent eateries and you might just uncover some hidden gems.
This is particularly applicable to Europe where lunch specials can bag you an excellent discount. In cities such as Barcelona, tapas bars vie for custom with daily offers that could include a few courses as well as a glass of wine. The lunchtime specials tend to be local specialities that the restaurants can afford to sell at a discounted price. Just keep your eyes peeled when hunger starts making itself known.
Of course, whilst food, culture and having a wonderful time will always come top of the holiday check-list, be sure to prioritise purchasing travel insurance, too. Medical Travel Compared can help cut through the hassle of finding the right policy for your trip with our easy-to-use online comparison tool. Enter a few details for a selection of insurers that cater to your needs.