Why do people travel? The answer for each of us is slightly different but in general, people travel to escape their daily routines, to relax and rejuvenate, to sightsee, to celebrate, to strengthen relationships, to have an adventure, and simply to enjoy life.
Many people travel in order to learn. Traveling gives one a chance to explore unfamiliar destinations and to experience new traditions and cultures. During one’s travels, one meets people from different countries, races, and religions. In short, travel gives us an opportunity to learn about the world.
Sometimes, the thing that differentiates one destination from another is the food served at mealtimes. Some dishes are symbolic of the countries where they originated. How could you imagine traveling to Italy without dining on pasta and the purest form of mozzarella cheese? And no visit to Spain would be complete without a meal of paella, the tasty rice dish prepared with beans, vegetables, and seafood, meat, or chicken.
When considering national dishes by country we might connect Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding to England; Dumplings to China; Pad Thai to Thailand; Souvlaki to Greece; and Falafel to the countries of the Middle East. On a holiday in Mexico one could dine on enchiladas, while visitors to the United States may prefer to stop into a fast food joint to order a Cheeseburger and French Fries.
As you explore the world, you will come across a variety of cuisines, or local variations of food with which you might already be familiar. But the real joy of travel is tasting food dishes that you’ve never heard of, or tasted, before.
The best part of travel, many veteran travellers would agree, is tasting the local food, as well as local variations of familiar food. National dishes, prepared with local ingredients and produce, are part of that country’s culture. Recipes for these local food treats are often passed down from one generation to the next. As a visitor, tasting these dishes for the first time will give you a real introduction to a country’s heritage and history.
If you’re wondering where to get the best local food, take to the streets and markets just like the natives. Street food often makes for the freshest, tastiest meals you will have on your travels. Walking through the open markets will be a sensory experience that you won’t find at home. Explore the markets and bite into the inexpensive meals available, from kebab to noodles, pastries to rice dishes. And while you’re at it, drink the local varieties of wine, beer, and coffee. Taste and drink your way and you will truly learn about a country and its people.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive or reserved for the jet set. You will be able to afford first class travel with a big Mega Millions jackpot win or if you happen to inherit a fortune, but for most of us, dining on local food during our holiday trips will be the ultimate, and most affordable, travel experience.