“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo
Every time I get a chance to travel, I like to visit new places and learn as much as I can about the local culture. I like to explore and wander. I let curiosity lead the way and take me to places outside tourist maps. Once I´m there, I taste all that I can get my hands on.
Sometimes I know what I want, for example, I may want to try a really good Paella in Spain, or the real-deal sushi in Tokyo. However, there are times where I have no idea what I should order or taste. When you are walking the streets of the country or city you are visiting you need to make the call and decide where to sit down. Sometimes you have only one chance to get it right. Where to sit and what should I order?
Normally, you will find yourself in tourist centers, downtown, ruins, or popular walks, the problem is that those places are surrounded by tourist traps. They may offer the dishes you are looking for, however they will normally be overpriced and not half as good as the real stuff. If you are lucky enough to find a good spot, you may come across other challenges such as menus in foreign languages, what should you ask for ? Once you get the dish, more questions arise. Do you add lemon ? do you eat it with your hand? where are the forks? how much sauce do you add? onion ? do I pick it up? … and then, people stare – oh the gringo – jiggles !
The best way to find what you’re looking for is to have a local friend guide you, or at least ask for suggestions. Someone who also understands what you are looking for (hotels will point you to tourist traps most of the time). Someone who understands, that you are not looking for the “nice” tourist places. You don’t need a folkloric dance or English menus with gringo versions of the real food. Locals can tell you where to go, what to try and how to eat. This is what Jitomate Tours offers. Advice, and guidance to experience real local eating, by fellow travelers and foodies. Away from the tourist traps.
What do you think ? is this really an issue? what tips can you give fellow food explorers?