Travelling to Eat
The phrase “food tourism” has become some kind of byword these days. Food tourism, also known as culinary tourism, is a practice of traveling beyond one’s
immediate neighborhood to find great
food. Of course, the further one is willing to travel, the broader the range of his culinary experiences
More and more people are going places for the very purpose of tasting the specialty foods that these places are known for. They believe that to get the real taste of the specialty food of a place, they need to have it in that place itself. Whether it’s “bali-ad” in Bantayan or “bakasi” in Cordova, enjoying it in its place of origin supposedly adds to the taste.
A food tourist might start checking on the various food markets in his own neighborhood, and then those in the other neighborhoods nearby. Then he graduates to making a “bucket list” of restaurants across the country or the globe to visit in his lifetime. Actually, it doesn’t have to be grand; it can be as casual as going to a place to enjoy and making darn sure that he eats well while he’s there.
Food tourism doesn’t mean that tourists only eat gourmet meals. Often, food tourists are simply in search of authentic or new culinary experiences. Some like white table cloth restaurants, while others prefer street food. Food tourism isn’t about the type of food that the tourist eats; it’s about the fact that when people go to a new place, they seek out new food experiences.
Yes, there are travelers whose main mission is to eat specialty food in its place of origin. Traditionally, in the Philippines, it’s usually only the delicacies that get bragged about of a place. For example, there’s “kalamay” in Bohol, “moron” in Leyte, “konselba” of Negros, “bibingka” and “masareal” in Mandaue, “torta” in Argao, Carcar “chicharon,” Catmon “bodbod kabog” etc. The reason for the popularity of delicacies is that these are the usual “pasalubong” brought back home by travelers to those places.
The more popular delicacies are in the form of snacks or desserts, enjoyed outside of a meal or to cap a meal; and are easy to pass around. This makes for word-of-mouth to easily get around, too. With specialty main dishes, one would have to sit down at a meal to relish them.
Social media and the internet in general play a big role in getting word around about a dish. Food posts on social media, for example, work to whet the curiosity of many. In the process, many specialty foods have gained widespread attention.
Of course, a dish would have to have what it takes to be famous, in the first place. It has to have its own unique mouth-watering qualities that will create a craving in those that will have tried it. One good example is the Cebu Lechon.
Today, food tourism is a worldwide occurrence. People now travel to eat. Well, it isn’t really anything new – in the ancient past, people also travelled great distances to hunt for food.