How to Find the Best Food While Traveling

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Viahero. All opinions are my own.

If there’s one thing I love as much as traveling, it’s food. All you have to do is take a quick peek at the Enticing Eats section to know that I’m a firm believer that food is a crucial aspect of cultural exploration – and the best way to discover a new city.

Yet finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. You’d think it would be straightforward, but if you don’t do your research, you may find yourself eating at the country’s equivalent of McDonald’s (or worse, an actual McDonald’s) or eating sub par and overpriced food catered towards tourists.

Time and time again I’ll say that I don’t mind spending a little extra on food…as long as it’s good. Nothing makes me angrier on my travels than being forced into a terrible tourist restaurant with bad food. If you’re on an organized tour, sometimes you have no choice. But if you’re traveling independently, then don’t fall prey to the tourist restaurants…sometimes these experiences can make or break your trip. I’m only being slightly dramatic here.

To ensure you’re experiencing the most amazing eats your destination has to offer, check out the  tips below on how to find the best food while traveling!

 

Before you leave:

Social media

While most people’s first instinct is to head to Tripadvisor, I’m actually quite skeptical of the reviews, because what do your fellow tourists really know about authentic local cuisine? I use the below methods instead.

Facebook

There are tons of Facebook groups dedicated entirely to travel. Simply post asking about the best places to eat in a certain city, and you’ll likely get tons of responses. I like Girls Love Travel, but Nomads, Travel Addiction, and Travel Destinations are also great resources.

Pinterest 

Searching on Pinterest is a great way to find articles, blog posts, and even entire boards dedicated to a city or country of interest. I use it for both travel planning and restaurant hunting. Since it’s so visually focused, you can see what sort of meals you’ll be encountering as well!

Twitter

Honestly, Twitter is great if you’re connected to a lot of people in the travel sphere. I just got a few great recommendations for an upcoming trip and was referred to a country-specific blogger via Twitter. However, success is pretty hit and miss, depending on how often you use Twitter for travel-related items. Facebook and Pinterest are much better resources.

 

Food Tour Sites

Most cities offer amazing and comprehensive food tours complete with enough food to put you into a food coma. Oftentimes, these sites have accompanying blogs with recommendations for good eats in the city….who better to trust for recommendations than a food tour guide? One great example of this is Devour Spain’s blog.

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

Amazing mushrooms in Madrid

 

Local / Off the Beaten Path Sites

ViaHero

I recently discovered this awesome new site called Viahero. For those of you that love to travel but hate the planning part, Viahero is for you. They contract locals that will plan your trip based on your travel preferences. They have a very comprehensive quiz about your travel style in a bunch of categories like accommodation, interests, budget, and most importantly, food. They even have “major foodie” as a preference. Now we’re talking! The best part is that you’re able to “pick your hero” so you know there’s a real person behind your trip guide. Although they’ve just launched with Cuba at the moment, they’ll be expanding to a bunch of cool places like Costa Rica, New Zealand, Japan and more. I’m hoping to get to Cuba next year, and with all the comprehensive information on their site, Viahero will be my one and only stop for all things Cuba. Check them out!

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

Step 1: MAJOR FOODIE alert!

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

Step 2: Interests

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

Step 3: Lodging

 

Eat Your World

Eat Your World is a great global food resource site. The team contributes food photos, blog posts, and general information for local eats worldwide. What’s more, users can also create a profile and submit their own content. It’s a visually delicious way to discover enticing meals and restaurants.

Couchsurfing

You thought couchsurfing was just for a free place to stay? Think again! Use the country forums to ask for “local advice” and get recommendations straight from the locals!

Travel Blogs

Duh! The trick is finding travel bloggers that are based in the country you’re traveling to (or have spent a significant amount of time there). So if I were going to Thailand or example, I’d head to Migrationology. London? Eat Like a Girl.

 

At your destination:

I’ve definitely been guilty of waiting to find good food until I arrive at a new city and am sufficiently hungry hangry. This procrastination actually led me to eat some subpar meals on a recent trip so I’m definitely doing a little more planning for my next adventure. That being said, if you’re on the go, these are some other great resources!

Yelp

Yelp is both an app and a website, so you can use it while you’re out and about. Unlike Tripadvisor, it usually has comprehensive reviews written by locals. I’m biased since I’m Yelp Elite, but I do find that most reviews are high-quality and accurate. Yelp is currently in around 30 countries. While some places don’t have enough reviews to help you form a solid opinion, it is generally a great resource to find options quickly. Tip: Google “Yelp Elite + city name” to find the city influencers. They likely have the best foodie recommendations.

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

Check out my profile for LA restaurant recommendations!

The grocery stores

This is actually a favorite of mine (and is also a great way to save money!). I love going to local grocery stores and wandering aisle by aisle, picking up snacks and other things that catch my eye. It’s an interesting way to see what sort of spices and foods locals love, and who doesn’t love trying new snacks? I’m pretty sure this habit is the reason my cupboards at home are filled with chocolate digestives (UK), stroop wafels (Netherlands), sambal (Indonesia) and more. Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived without these items.

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

The eclectic collection of snacks I’m addicted to! What’s your favorite?

The locals

Asking the locals in and of itself is an art because you have to ask the right locals. Your best resource is the people at your accommodation: meaning your Airbnb host or the people working at the hotel. If you’re staying at a hotel, don’t ask the front desk. They almost always recommend restaurants that are popular with tourists. Instead, ask the doormen, cleaning staff or even the room service people. Pretty much anyone that isn’t the front desk will give you good recommendations. I’ve never had much luck with suggestions from the front desk, but it’s always worth a shot if you’re desperate.

Taxi drivers

Most taxi drivers know the city like the back of their hands and can give you great insight on local hole-in-the-wall places. Just make sure you emphasize that you want them to take you to their favorites spots, not the spots they think you’ll like. I’ve had great success with this in both Indonesia and Egypt and ate at spots I would have never found otherwise.

And when none of the above options work, just go find a place that looks crowded or has a long line. Chances are high that it’s popular for a reason. Nobody stands in line for bad food.

 

Tell me! How do you find the best eats while you travel? Share in the comments below.

Finding good eats while traveling is arguably one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding aspects of travel. Click to read how to find the best food while traveling to make sure you don’t find yourself eating subpar and overpriced touristy food! | http://passportandplates.com

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  • Chantell Collins

    These are some really great and original ideas! A lot of these I had never thought of or heard of as options for finding great food in new cities. I should be surprised that you are a Yelp elite ha ha – I love using Yelp to find great places to eat. Also by asking the locals of course! Thanks for sharing :).

    • Thanks Chantell! Haha yesss judging by the list, you know how much I love food! Glad you found the post to be useful 🙂

  • This is great advice! I also love food tours and Pinterest for finding interesting off-the-beaten-track places. One thing I do is look up a local specialty before going. For example, I learned that oysters are a specialty in Hiroshima, so I made sure to find a good oyster restaurant when I was there. I also use my TripAdvisor app a lot for lunch because I can just find a random place near where I am when I get hungry.

    • Ohhh that’s a REALLY good tip actually! I’ll have to remember that one :). And yes – tripadvisor is great in a pinch!

  • Great tips! And grats on being one of the Elites! You are a true foodie indeed. I typically just ask locals where to eat if I’m not on an organized tour and haven’t been disappointed yet. The trick is to ask where THEY would eat because some of them will give you recommendations based on what they think you would like to eat. I would trust a local over any apps and blogs.

    • Thank you! And I agree with you – asking the locals where they eat rather than where they think you should eat makes all the difference!

  • Gina Panozzo

    I loved this so much! There’s so many apps out there and it can be so overwhelming! It’s great when others review these apps. I definitely want to try the ViaHero app! I also like food. Who doesn’t like food! I’ve always wanted to go on a food tour!

    • Thanks Gina, I’m glad you found it helpful! You should definitely check out ViaHero! They only have Cuba for now but they’re expanding over the coming months. I also LOVE the food tour I did with Devour Spain! It’s a great way to get a taste of a city 🙂

  • Constance Stokes

    Love your share, and i love food and travle

    Constance Stokes MissyDresShop

  • Untold Morsels

    Great tips – I think the key to reviews is finding reviewers you trust and have similar tastes. Some people think great food is a huge bowl of pasta while others may like a nice big steak cooked medium rare. I’ll take both thanks, but I think you get my point. The other place I aways head to is the markets for the freshest local treats. I’m yet to be let down by one to be honest.

    • So so true! Not everyone shares the same idea of good food. Food markets are almost always good too! There’s always a huge collection of options and a lot of times they include the best eats from the city. Excellent recommendations 🙂

  • Svetoslav Dimitrov

    Oh, how I agree with your first paragraph :))) I am now dripping saliva. I would say one of the best ways is to make friends with some locals and then they would take you out to reasonable places with delectable food. That is what happened to me in China! I loved it. And it was rather cheap!

    I have to try some of the apps you mentioned. Especially Yelp! Great read!

    • Thank you! And yes, locals are definitely the BEST way to find the best food. Nobody knows a city like someone who lives in it :). Yelp is definitely worth checking out especially in a pinch. Thanks for commenting!

      • Svetoslav Dimitrov

        Absolutely, but we have to find the right ones who will guide us in the best way! 🙂 Bon voyage!

  • Haha, I love how you mentioned taxi drivers at the end! There have been so many times that we’ve taken a cab from the airport to where we’re staying and we get so many good recommendations from the driver!! 🙂 We stay at a lot of Airbnb places, and our hosts always lead us in the right direction when it comes to food.

    • Cab drivers are SUCH a wealth of information and people completely forget that! I agree that Airbnb hosts are also really knowledgeable (just one more reason to stay in an Airbnb and not a hotel). Thanks for commenting!

  • Marathon Mouth

    I travel in search of good, independent, affordable food and find ideas in Yelp, TripAdvisor and other online sleuthing. These trips feed my western US/Canada road-trip food blog (www.marathonmouth.me) and ebook.

  • Great suggestions! I wholeheartedly agree with taxi drivers (and other locals) to point you in the right direction for a delicious meal. Also, I love wandering the aisles of a local grocery store, it reveals so much about the culture and you never know what treasures you might find 🙂

    • YES grocery stores are the best! I always end up spending such a long time in them because I’m so curious what locals eat! Plus, you might find your new favorite food / snack!

  • I’m personally such a huge fan of Foursquare, especially for discovering places abroad but this was so helpful, expanding my digital palate with this list :).

    • Oh that’s a good one, thank you! I haven’t used Foursquare much but I’ll definitely check it out next time 🙂

  • Danielle Wolter

    I am an avid user of Yelp, however have found it is not used quite as widely in many countries as it is here in the US. I also read through blogs from people who have been there. Taxi drivers and locals are other great resources. I’ve been considering trying food tours lately, so we’ll see how that goes. I haven’t thought about Facebook or Pinterest as sources; great ideas!

    • I know, it’s super sad as there doesn’t seem to be a particularly great alternative (some countries have their own version of Yelp). It seems like you’ve been utilizing all the good sources though! I have found food tours to be particularly helpful so I’m intrigued to hear what you think. Thanks for reading and commenting!