Elena Adams shares why she thinks that trying new food is the best part of travelling.
People travel for many reasons; the weather, scenery, tourist attractions, and to experience different cultures. But, if you’re anything like me, then the best reason is the food. It could be in a local restaurant, or a food truck on the street: it’s the best and most memorable part of travelling in my opinion. That’s not to say seeing the sights isn’t important, but I think experiencing the food of wherever you are is one of the best ways to learn and participate in local culture.
Food brings people together; it sounds cheesy but it’s true. When you, as a tourist, visit a local bar, restaurant, or cafe you get to experience local culture. How the food is presented and served to you, the atmosphere and scenery, and even the staff and other guests around you. Everything together creates a unique experience that differs from country to country, from city to city. An experience that allows you to fully immerse yourself within a country’s culture and appreciate and learn more about it.
There are certain foods now that I can’t eat without thinking of a certain trip I’ve taken, even certain smells can take you back to a trip from years ago. I’ll always remember trying Langos (a Hungarian fried flatbread) at a street market in Budapest or even having the best focaccia ever at a little cafe in Verona. Food, at least for me, is so strongly linked with travelling and creating memories. It’s always a highlight of any trip I’ve ever been on.
“I’ll always remember trying Langos (a Hungarian fried flatbread) at a street market in Budapest or even having the best focaccia ever at a little cafe in Verona…”
It’s probably one of the things I’ve missed the most over the past couple of years we’ve spent in and out of lockdowns. Last year there really wasn’t much that anyone was allowed to do, but that just meant people had to get creative. Just because we couldn’t travel or go out, didn’t mean we had to stop trying new foods and experiencing different nights out. People were recreating their experiences from within their own homes from creating different club nights and bars in their homes, having themed nights, and trying new dishes from around the world.
With nothing but time on my hands, trying new recipes was the perfect way to spend it. And everyone else seemed to think this as well. It seemed like everyone was trying to perfect their banana bread recipe, was learning how to make sourdough for the first time, or making some new viral Tiktok recipe like feta pasta.
There are tons of different pages suggesting new recipes like the Tiktok accounts of @sheckeats with different pasta recipes, or @usajalandhar who shares videos of different Indian dishes, and @tiffycooks who shares a lot of Asian inspired recipes on her Tiktok (all of which I’d highly recommend following if you’re not sure what to make for tea). They all show that you can recreate dishes from loads of different cultures and learn about them without even having to leave the country.
But now we are out of lockdown, travelling the world through food isn’t something that you can only do at home. Restaurants and bars have been open for a while now and it’s slowly becoming easier to travel abroad. Again, there’s a ton of different pages documenting this. @girlsaroundscotland has an Instagram and Tiktok about all the best places to eat around Glasgow, and there are even accounts like @consumingcouple who document their travels through the food they’ve eaten around the world.
Food, with the help of social media, has become something that everyone can share. I’d even argue that lockdown has impacted the way we enjoy and experience food. Even if you haven’t travelled you can still learn more about different countries and their culture through the recipes and experiences that people have shared online. Now, more than ever, there are so many options to experience culture and recreate dishes from the comfort of our own homes.
Food is one of the most important aspects of culture; through it, we can learn about the history, traditions, practices, and beliefs of a country. Recipes can be passed down from generation to generation, some may be completely traditional, and others brought by immigrants from their home countries. Food can tell the story of a country and the experiences of those who live there. It brings different aspects of culture to the table from historical practices and traditions to religious beliefs. As an outsider and a tourist, there is so much that local foods can teach us beyond a country’s iconic landmarks, all while being extremely yummy at the same time.