Picking a Restaurant – Top 10 Tips for Backpackers

Picking a Restaurant – Top 10 Tips for Backpackers

People eat some interesting things around the world. Guinea pigs, snails, frogs, spiders, insects, horses and goat heads. What is considered exotic in one part of the world is daily bread for someone else. We eat a lot of cray fish (small lobsters) in Sweden in August for instance, which some people find really strange (but not as strange as the fact that during these cray fish parties grown men wear strange coloured bibs and weird looking hats, drink vodka until they can’t stand upright any more, all this while singing hedonistic songs). Sampling the local cuisine is one of the highlights of travel. Here is some advice on how to pick a place to eat:

1. Choose a place which has plenty of guests, this makes sure that there is a good throughput in the kitchen and that the food will not be waiting for hours on the stove.

2. Go to places which are frequented by locals. Sure, it may not be as fancy schmancy as the touristy places but you get to experience the locals’ food.

3. Ask locals about restaurants. Your hotel can be a good choice for information but sometimes they get a commission and only recommend places because of this.

4. Do not pick restaurant when hunger is killing you. Bring small snacks with you (such as a sandwich, biscuits, an apple or bananas) to fight the hunger. Picking a place to eat when you are really hungry usually results in you picking the closest one.

5. Bring your dictionary to the restaurant in case there is no English menu.

6. If you are on a tour your tour guide will usually take you to an expensive place where he gets commission, eats for free or a place run by someone in his family. You do not have to eat at this place.

7. Check if the bathroom is clean. If it is really dirty then cleanliness doesn’t seem a priority which is probably true about the kitchen as well.

8. If you travel alone use the time while you wait for your food to write your diary or just look around and take in the atmosphere.

9. If you want to find cheap food go to food stalls, restaurants where the locals eat or food courts in shopping malls.

10. If you are on a caf? listen to the waiters orders to the kitchen when ordering coffee, use the same terminology and you may get a lower price since you show that you are not a tourist, e.g. a cafe au lait may be called “un cr?me”.

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