Updated: May 15, 2020
A lot of people when visiting a new country try to find their home foods in order to feel safe and at home; I am the complete opposite. I do my best to eat what the locals eat in order to be one with the place, to make the most of my visit. Eating like a local also saves you money because the food tends to be cheaper as they are directed towards the inhabitants of said country or city.
Here is how to eat like a local:
1) First thing you should do is preliminary research
Look up the local dish of where you are going and some good places to eat. Remember that these online recommendations aren't always right and most of the time made by tourist but it is a good place to start and it gives you an idea of what food are a must-try.
2) Go on a food tour
When I visited New Orleans for the first time I knew a little bit about what to try but really did not know where to go etc... I went on a food tour and had the chance to meet some pretty wonderful people and try some of my favorite meals now. We tried about 8 different restaurants and each came with the story of the dish we were trying and how it is made. I came out of that trip loving shrimp and grits and jambalaya.
3) Go for the street food
This next one comes with a warning; if you have a sensitive stomach, don't do it, we do not want you getting sick miles away from home. Street food is usually very cheap and readily available and is usually popular among locals and tourists. Once again, keep an eye on the preparation in order to avoid a malaise. Avoid going to chain restaurants or fancy dining unless it's a special occasion of some sort.
4) Be open
Don't be afraid to try new food, the worse that could happen is you not liking it and that's it. Of course, stay away from the food you are allergic too but if not go for it; at least now you'll have a story about when you tried frog or even had piranha.
5) Trust bar and restaurant staff
Bartenders tend to be locals who have lived in the area for a while and are friends with other bartenders. If you are looking for local drinks or a fancy bar they would be the ones to trust. The same goes for restaurant servers.
6) Ask the right local
Not every local is willing to share but I've found that Taxi drivers are more than willing to talk and recommend you places; sometimes they might even tell you who to ask for. The concierge at your hotel, ask them where they go with their friends and family and not for what's popular among's tourist.
All in all, eating like a local is always an experience. From the first looks of surprise, you get when you walk to the restaurant to the possible high fives at the end of the dinner when you have tried something bold. It is always a good time.
What is a meal you've tried and did not expect to like?