Many people consider being able to immerse themselves into a new culture as a highlight of traveling. One of the most popular ways to truly get a taste of another culture is quite literal: eat local food. With a 2016 World Food Travel Association study showing 59% of travelers say that culinary experiences are more important today compared to five years ago, food has become a major part of travel experiences. To help satisfy your cravings for new food, this article is going to serve as a guide to some of the best food markets the world has to offer hungry travelers.
Toronto, Canada – St. Lawrence Market
In 1803, local farmers began selling seasonal produce at the market and the tradition continues today. St. Lawrence Market offers both locals and visitors Ontario-grown-and-made products. Popular purchases include fresh produce, bread and other bakery goods, handmade pie, and a variety of local game. With over 120 vendors, each with their own goodies to offer, there’s something for everyone at this local market.
Barcelona, Spain – La Boqueria
Known as one of the biggest tourist attractions Barcelona has to offer, this market is a must-see on any traveler’s “to-do” list. Whether you’re looking for seafood, meat, cheese, or fresh produce, this market has it all. With Mediterranean specialities galore, La Boqueria is a popular choice for visitors to get authentic, yummy food.
Rome, Italy – Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio
This historic market recently located from Piazza Testaccio to a new, modern building powered mostly by solar energy. With over 100 vendors, visitors can enjoy fresh produce and, of course, handmade pasta. Besides offering a wide variety of food goods, this market is also home to a bookstore and a home goods store. Travelers can enjoy a less touristy experience compared to some of the other markets in the area. So when in Rome, this market, and the cannoli it offers, should paid a visit.
Istanbul, Turkey – Spice Bazaar
If you’re looking to spice up your traveling, visiting this market is a great way to do just that. With a primary focus in spices, there are also vendors selling all sorts of goodies. Visitors can enjoy floral teas, cheeses, nuts, and other produce. With the scents of all of the difference spices and food, sitting down to enjoy the aroma can be just as enjoyable as actually eating some of the goods this market has to offer.
London, England – Borough Market
This market is hands-down one of the best in London. A large, open area is dedicated to vendors selling local and important foods from all around Europe. This market truly offers a little bit of everything – visitors can try a variety of cheeses, produce, meads, ciders, seafood, and tons of sweets. Dating back over 1,000 years, London’s oldest market is home to over 70 farmers and vendors who provide scrumptious seasonal dishes.
Bangkok, Thailand – Or Tor Kor Market
As one of Bangkok’s oldest markets, this market is a produce-lover’s dream. With both imported specialities from cities throughout Asia and local exotic fruits and vegetables, visitors will not be disappointed in their options. Along with fresh produce, the market also offers seafood, sweets, and spices. Travelers can also enjoy ready-cooked meals like sun-dried fish and noodles to satisfy immediate hunger cravings.
Tips for Finding the Best Local Food
When you’re in a foreign city or country, it can be difficult to figure out where the best local food is going to be. Besides doing some research and planning ahead of time, we’ve put together a few other tips to help satisfy your inner food connoisseur.
Stay away from touristy areas. While it may seem intimidating to stray from the welcoming, touristy areas, the best food is going to be with the locals. So to find the best local foods, follow the locals! Ask around and find out where people eat and give their recommendations a try.
Take advantage of festivals. Any traveler knows that where there’s a festival, there’s going to be food. No matter what kind of festival or event is going on, there’s bound to be delicious, local food you can try. Even better, you’ll get to experience other cultural things like music and crafts as well.
Utilize smartphone apps. By using mobile apps, travelers can have quick access to nearby food options, along with photos and reviews. Social media and mobile apps are a great way to hear about other travelers’ experiences and consider these options for yourself.
Try something new. You won’t like every food item you try, and that’s okay. But one of the best ways to immerse yourself into a culture (and it’s food) is to just try something new! Even if the thought of eating snails or bugs makes your cringe, give it a try anyways. You never know, you may just find your new favorite food.
Whether you’re going around the corner or thousands of miles away, there are always opportunities to try new food. Trying new food is one of the easiest ways to immerse yourself into a different culture and learn more about what the culture is all about. So next time you travel, don’t forget to pick up a fork and try as much new food as you can!
And of course, to get to all these wonderful destinations mentioned head to CHEAPOAIR for the best deals on flights.