People love eating as much as they love travelling. Put these two things—eating and travelling—together, and you get the formula for an amazing life. If you’ve ever visited another country, you know that eating local food is the most important part of the experience. Whether it’s pho in Vietnam, gallo pinto in Vietnam, tacos in Mexico, or adobo in the Philippines, you have to try them to experience the wonderful cultures this world offers.
You should ask where to eat in Singapore or other countries the moment you arrive in a foreign land. There are plenty of options for you—from Michelin-starred restaurants to a hawker down on the streets. But always, look where the locals converge. It is here that you’ll sample the most amazing local cuisine in the country.
So why do travellers need to sample local fare? What is it with food, travel, and people? What is the connection that binds these three?
Local Food Is Part of the Culture
Experiencing local food is connected to understanding the culture of a community. Traditional food is rooted in the experiences and history of the people in the area. Recipes are passed down from one generation to another. In the Philippines, for example, there are hundreds of varieties of the traditional dish, adobo. Every family’s adobo is different, but it is always rooted in familial connections, stories, and memories.
Being a Responsible Tourist Means Caring for the Community
You can walk anywhere in the world and have a burger from McDonald’s. When you eat in a global fast-food chain in a foreign country, a large chunk of the money you spend will leave the community to line the pockets of the executives. Many countries are now welcoming Western food and restaurants. Slowly, traditional food is dying.
You need to be a more responsible tourist by caring for the community that you visit. Drink from a local café. Buy lunch from a local diner. Make sure that your money stays in the community that has welcomed you. Do you need to buy souvenirs? Attend local fares and look for locally made trinkets.
Buying from Local Farmers Sustain the Environment
Ingredients for food travel an average of 1,500 miles. That’s a lot of energy wasted. Locally grown food doesn’t have to travel that far. You can go to the local market and purchase directly from farmers. This contributes to sustaining the environment. Many local farmers use sustainable and organic methods of farming. When you buy local, you’re essentially caring for the local environment, too.
Local Food Is Way Fresher
Fruits and vegetables from grocery travel far to get to the aisles. Meat and fish are frozen. Local food is fresher and tastes better. They don’t need to travel far to get to your table. It’s even better to eat seasonal food. They say that the earth provides what the body needs. Some types of food are seasonal because that’s exactly when the body needs them.
There is nothing like tasting fried crickets along the streets of Bangkok. How about the original fish and chips from London or those large pretzels from the streets of Manhattan? You get to experience culture through food. With travelling, that’s all you need.
This article was originally published on Milliken’s Reef.