Trying new dishes is always a compelling reason for visiting a place, as food is bound to taste different across cities and countries. Through a destination’s culinary delights, you get to taste the ingredients native to the land, learn the preferred flavors of the people, and understand the cultural traditions behind each dish. If you want to learn more about a particular country’s history, geography, and its people’s culture, food is the best gateway for doing so.
Want this to be your next type of vacation? Find out how to turn your holiday into a culinary experience.
Choose a Destination with Dishes That Suit Your Taste
Food adventures are usually associated with trying new and unusual dishes. But as delicious as the prospect can be, it may not be advisable for people allergic to certain ingredients or sensitive to higher spice levels. If you’re particular with your diet, don’t worry about missing out on gastronomic discoveries. Just find a destination that will match your preferences and needs regardless.
For example, if you love spicy food, you can indulge in the added spice and heat of Bicolano food. If you love sweets, Cebu and Bacolod have the best kakanins and other sugar-laden treats like dried mango and napoleones. You can also narrow your food trip’s focus to a preferred type of meal like desserts or a certain food group like seafood. Alternatively, you can explore cross-cultural cuisine, like the Chinese food that can be found in San Juan and Binondo.
Book a Hotel Close to All the Worthy Dining Destinations in a Particular Area
No matter your destination, booking a hotel near your target dining destinations is a practical move to make. For example, if you were to choose the province of Camarines Sur for your food trip, it makes sense to look for hotels in Naga City. Not only will you save a lot of time traveling to and from your hotel, but this also means you can spend more time exploring each place and sampling their many culinary selections.
Ask for Recommendations from a Friend Who Lives in or Has Been to the Area
Have a friend who lives or has traveled to your planned destination? Why not ask them about what they would consider the area’s must-try culinary highlights? You can, for instance, ask them about their favorite dishes or any specific restaurants they’d recommend visiting. You can also ask them for tips on where to go for specific delicacies, what to order from specific establishments, or even any hidden gems that go unnoticed by tourists but are loved by the locals.
Ask Locals Where to Find the Best Restaurants
If you don’t have a friend from the area or who has visited the area, you can always chat with the locals when you get to your destination. For example, you can casually ask your hotel receptionist about their favorite meal or ask your taxi driver what their go-to comfort food is. You may even be chance upon local foodies who likely have more experience than you do regarding your destination’s culinary delights.
Check Out What the Local Market Has to Offer
A city’s weekend or wet market is one of the best ways to understand the area’s local cuisine, as you’ll get a glimpse of what the residents shop for and use to prepare their daily meals. Here, many locals sell fruits and vegetables they’ve grown on their own land as well as meat from farm animals they’ve raised themselves.
Other locals may also serve prepared snacks, desserts, beverages, and small meals specific to the area. For example, Iloilo’s La Paz market is home to batchoy, the province’s signature noodle soup with pork offal, chicken stock, beef loin, and crushed pork cracklings. Meanwhile, in Cebu’s Carcar Public Market, you’re likely to find quite a number of local merchants selling the famous Cebu lechon or roasted pig.
Attend a Cooking Class Hosted by a Local
Want to take things a step further in your culinary adventure? Consider signing up for a cooking class hosted by a local to see how they prepare their daily meals. Having a local professional chef teach you the ropes lets you learn more about what goes into each meal. This can include, but isn’t limited to, how the ingredients are prepared, the roles of specific ingredients in each dish, and how long certain ingredients should stay on the stove. All these are details you may not be privy to whenever you’re eating in a restaurant.
No matter where you choose to go, you’re sure to enjoy a culinary holiday by following the tips above. When in doubt about where to go, don’t be afraid to ask the locals for tips and recommendations. Don’t forget to explore what the local market, food stalls, and hole-in-the-wall establishments have to offer, too. However you decide to go about it, trying new food and seeing how the locals enjoy it will be an unforgettable experience for foodies like you.