Traveling for pleasure is all about exploring the unknown and sometimes technology can limit us on our adventure. After all, if you’ve already read every review about where you plan to go, it hardly counts as “exploring the unknown”.
In a world where everyone thinks they’re a world class food critic, restaurants can often become the victims of this identity crisis. For example, one very picky customer can result in an online review that steers all future clients away. Follow these four tips to give the restaurants a break and visit them in a non-virtual sense.
Talk To People
Technology, social media and travel websites can connect people from across the globe. While this can be wondrous, when glued to our phone reading a review from someone in the Netherlands, we forget to speak to the locals in front of us. Afterall, that cab driver who’s lived in Nelson or Victoria his entire life knows more about local cuisine than someone half a world away.
The best people to ask about local cuisine are those who, due to their trade, have become intimately acquainted with the streets. This includes cab drivers and policemen. If you’re looking for cheap and easy cuisine within a 500-meter radius, retail workers at a nearby shop will always offer delicious and affordable solutions.
Eyes Open for Crowds
It’s pretty straightforward. If a restaurant, food truck or diner is loved enough to attract a lineup, it’s worth checking out.
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Look for crowds that don’t look like you. Steer clear of the hordes of tourists looking for easy eats. Instead look for locals. After all, these locals aren’t in a hotel room and they have a kitchen and food in the fridge. They’ve chosen to spend money on this restaurant so it must be good.
Ignore the Menu
Finding good food doesn’t stop when you find a good restaurant. One of the best parts about cuisine is picking from the variety of options a restaurant can offer.
When you’re at a restaurant, make it your aim to get the best item on the menu. Ironically, not looking at the menu might be the easiest way to achieve this. Simply wait for the server to come by and ask them what their favorite dish is. Order whatever they suggest. To truly experience local culture, you can also ask a server what the best local dish is. For example, if you’re in Sooke or Victoria, the restaurant will serve superb salmon. If you’re in Cranbrook or Nelson, you can always check out the veal. And in the Okanagan, be sure to try a variety of locally-grown vegetables and Okanagan wines.