You know we love traveling, but do you know we’re also gourmands? We love food not just because of its amazing taste, but for the memories it helps you create. Remember when your mom’s burnt macaroni and cheese took you back to your childhood? It was proven that food can create strong memories about a certain place and time which is one of the reasons why we recommend trying the local cuisine everywhere you go.
However, there are more reasons to give local food a shot and we created a top ten of most cool reasons why you need to try the local cuisine when traveling.
1. You like to try new things
That’s why you’re traveling, right? The most adventurous spirits will often spend most of their free time on the road. So you need to unleash this need for finding out new things and trying them out even when it comes to food.
Who knows what new tastes and flavors you’ll stumble upon? Or what awesome food combinations your palate has never dreamed of actually exist?
2. You want a complete experience
We might believe that we’re rational beings and we mostly experience the world through sight and sound. But actually, the other senses play an amazing role too.
Smell, taste, and touch fix a place to memory way better than the visual stimuli and information. That’s because they work with our emotions, which are easier to remember than rational arguments. And if you really want to be impressed by a new place, you have to be impressed by the local food first.
3. To have an interesting story to tell when you get back
‘Remember that time when we traveled to Greece and ate a tuna sandwich? It was hilarious,’ said no one ever. How about ‘Remember that time when we went to Rome and ate the world’s worst pizza? It was like eating prosciutto and bread, and we paid an arm and a leg for it!’
Some of the best stories are born when you’re trying new things, including food. And why are you traveling in the first place? To make new memories, and have stories to tell to your grandkids when you get old.
4. To experience the restaurants that serve the local food
Or not necessarily restaurants. Some places like Singapore have special streets where you can try out the local food. Anyway, all these places will tell a bit about the country’s culture.
For instance, if they like eating on the street, with their hands, that shows a certain joy that needs to be shared, hospitability and sense of community. That happens in Mediterranean countries, where it’s wise to even bring your own cutlery, like the best EDC knife.
Other Nordic countries prefer eating indoors, which makes sense since they’re colder. But that also built a more somber personality and an inclination towards eating customs based on tidiness.
5. You like cooking shows
If you like to eat, but also like watching cooking shows, getting a lot of info about other cuisines is a must. That way, you’ll be able to brag to your friends about all that stuff and become an expert Master Chef from your own couch.
Or, you can even learn new ways of decorating your food plates, or how to mix up the lights and general decorum so that food becomes tastier. For instance, did you know quiet breathing can make your food taste better? You do now.
6. You can learn new recipes
Maybe you want to impress some house guests, or maybe you’re a gourmand yourself. And what better way to find out new recipes? Let’s be honest, search engines can suggest a pretty drab humdrum of choices if you don’t have time to specifically look for new cooking ideas.
But even if you do find new recipes on a constant basis, it’s one thing to watch a video or read the instructions, and a completely different experience to actually taste and look at the food in front of you.
7. It’s boring to eat the same food
Give something new to your tastes buds to enjoy, not only your eyes and ears. Besides, if something becomes a boring automatism, your brain doesn’t get the chance to create new neural links.
And scientists have discovered that all new experiences, regardless of the sensory pathway they come from, improve our brains and make us smarter by building new synapses. So it’s not only fun to eat new foods, it’s also good for your brain.
8. It’s a real quest to find places with real local food
In fact, it’s like doing actual detective work. You might expect to eat real local food at restaurants in the heart of a city, but that’s not the case. These places will often modify local recipes, to give them an international feel, so they won’t lose customers.
The places that serve genuine local food are on the outskirts of a city. So you’ll navigate through your share of narrow streets, and ask your share of non-English speaking residents for directions. But in the end, it will totally be worth it to discover that hidden gem of unadulterated native food.
9. You can learn unexpected historical tidbits
In these places we’ve talked about, you’re bound to meet new people. So they might even tell you new stories about the place, that you won’t find in the official touring guides.
Besides, it’s easier to learn new stuff that way, as that really commits to mind. That’s why oral culture is so powerful. Plus, this relates to having new stories to tell when you get home, or even post online as you go.
10. It’s often cheaper
Yes, fancy restaurants in the city center are really expensive. But if you’re up for new adventures, peripheral tavernas or bodegas will often have meager prices. So you’ll be saving enough cash to spend for day hikes, or for scavenging for memorabilia.
That said, those are the reasons why we like to try out local cuisines in most of our trips. What are your reasons for doing that? We’d love to hear your input.
Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for hikingmastery.com/.
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