Every culture has a set of dining options that are unique to their location, and if you’re truly trying to make the most of your travels, you’ll want to get a taste. The thing is, if you’re not used to trying new foods, opting for that local specialty might be a little scary. In a day where everyone is extremely particular about what we consume, it can be easy to pass up a few gems on the menu, in exchange for whatever you can pronounce.
Have no fear. We’re here to give you a few simple tips to help you become a shameless, daring, and wise yet fearless foodie.
1. Try the odd options, when opportunities arise.
Honestly, there’s no need to seek out the strangest most exotic dish you can find. If you’re in a country or city that’s foreign to your own, you likely won’t need to look very far. When you’re offered an unknown appetizer, grab a bite. If something sounds interesting at the restaurant you choose, go for it. If you’re walking through the marketplace and a vendor offers an unidentifiable sample, use your street smarts, ask the necessary questions, channel your inner boldness and eat it. Even if you don’t like it, at least you tried it.
2. Have plenty of water on hand.
Trying new foods is like a box of chocolates; (say it with me) you never know what you’re gonna get. You may love it. You may hate it. Whatever your reaction, try to be as polite as possible, especially if you’re displeased with the taste in your mouth. If this is the case, wash it down with a bottle of water… or two… or three – however many you have available. Just make sure to have plenty of H2O within arms reach.
3. Don’t over-think the menu.
You’re in a new place. There will be plenty of new and unknown options to choose from, but in an over-zealous attempt to try something different, there’s no need to scout the most outlandish entrée. Maybe you’ll try the chicken in a seasoning or sauce you’ve never heard of. Maybe you’ll try a vegetable native to the region or maybe you really will try that animal meat you’d never consider back home. Browse the selection, find something that sticks out and place your order. There’s no point in racking your brain and your taste buds.
*Note: For the most part, these tips DO NOT APPLY if you have food allergies. Always consider your health, first. Advise your server, chef and/or host(ess) of any issues. Most establishments are more than happy to accommodate your needs, so you should still be able to try new things.