How to eat like a lo­cal on the road

Want a mem­o­rable meal while trav­el­ling? Dine like a res­i­dent by ask­ing lo­cals for sugges­tions, and try ap­pe­tis­ers in­stead of en­trées

The Financial Express - - FOOTLOOSE - Shivani Vora

EN­JOY­ING GOOD food is an es­sen­tial part of any va­ca­tion—at least as per David McIn­er­ney, the co­founder of the New York Ci­ty­based gro­cery de­liv­ery ser­vice FreshDirect, who spends most of his time trav­el­ling the world sourc­ing food for the com­pany. The way to savour mem­o­rable cui­sine, he says, is to skip fancy restau­rants and eat as the lo­cals do. “You’ll get the best meals by eating the way the peo­ple do who live in the des­ti­na­tion you’re vis­it­ing,” he says. Here, he shares ad­vice on how to do just that:

Talk to the lo­cals

The best way to eat like the lo­cals is to talk to the lo­cals, McIn­er­ney says. Po­lice of­fi­cers, con­struc­tion work­ers and se­cu­rity guards are all re­li­able sources to ask for restau­rant rec­om­men­da­tions. But be spe­cific, and ask these peo­ple where they like to eat. McIn­er­ney has had many plea­sur­able meals us­ing this tac­tic, in­clud­ing on a re­cent trip to Mi­lan, where a bus driver rec­om­mended his favourite pasta place. “Thanks to his tip, I had in­cred­i­ble fet­tuc­cine with white truf­fles that was very rea­son­ably priced,” he says.

Try sev­eral restau­rants for one meal

An en­joy­able way to get a flavour of the lo­cal food is to spread a sin­gle meal out over three or four restau­rants— have ap­pe­tis­ers in one, en­trees in an­other and desserts at a third. An­other ap­proach is to hit sev­eral restau­rants that serve the re­gion’s spe­cial­ity, such as vis­it­ing a trio of lob­ster shacks in Maine to try dif­fer­ent ver­sions of lob­ster rolls.

At a re­sort, ask for the staff meal

Re­sorts tend to serve food that caters to a va­ri­ety of palates and doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the des­ti­na­tion’s cui­sine, but trav­ellers in search of au­then­tic­ity should ask if it’s pos­si­ble to try the staff meal, which is of­ten pre­pared by lo­cals for lo­cals. McIner ney says the many staff meals he has eaten through­out his trav­els, in­clud­ing the cur­ried goat he re­cently en­joyed at a re­sort in the Gre­nadines, have been among the best meals of his trips.

Be will­ing to travel

Don’t limit your food op­tions by stick­ing to the heart of the city in what­ever des­ti­na­tion you’re vis­it­ing—many of the spots pop­u­lar with lo­cals tend to be away from tourist-heavy ar­eas and are in the out­skirts of town or farther. “The best bar­be­cue I’ve ever had was a 40-minute taxi ride out­side of At­lanta where a woman cooked ribs on a smoker out­side of a trailer,” McIner ney says.

Choose ap­pe­tis­ers over en­trées

Starters, com­pared with main cour­ses, are usu­ally sim­pler and give trav­ellers a taste of dishes that lo­cals eat; they’re also cheaper. Grilled oc­to­pus in Spain, oys­ters in Seattle and steak skew­ers in Ar­gentina are ex­am­ples of pop­u­lar ap­pe­tis­ers in these des­ti­na­tions and are foods that lo­cals reg­u­larly eat.

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