Travel and eat local food to take a trip on the trip!
Real travelers are not particularly interested in the destination. They don't care so much about being in one place or another, because they have understood that the essence of the journey is not in arriving at the destination.
The experience is what drives thousands of travelers to continuously leave not only to discover new destinations but also and above all to live new and intense experiences.
This is what a traveler does: he is completely immersed in a new context without fear and prejudice, but with great curiosity and respect.
That's why for a traveler the destination is secondary: he can be in South America, Asia or Europe, but what matters most is the experience he gets from the trip.
There are many ways to fully enjoy the experience of travel. You can choose to interact with the locals instead of just talking to other travelers, move slowly to observe the everyday life of the locals, get lost in the streets of an unknown location to discover its true essence, giving up seeing the tourist attractions.
But one of the most primitive and effective ways to fully enjoy the experience of a trip is through food.
The first real trip I ever took in my life was to Australia, a country where I had moved to study for a few months. It is a country full of wonderful places but with a scarce culinary tradition, a culinary melting pot that reflects the social melting pot created by the many generations of immigrants.
Then I traveled to Asia and a world opened up for me. Because if it is true that globalization is inexorably advancing in the East too, it is equally true that there are hundreds of culinary traditions handed down from generation to generation that are still very much present in the daily life of the local populations.
I only had to set foot in Bangkok to understand this.
It was my first time in Asia and everywhere I saw street food stalls, people of all ages and sexes stir-frying with these huge, worn-out wok, vegetables cut at the speed of light, rice, noodles, meat, fish, tofu and eggs being cooked and eaten in every possible and imaginable way.
The first thing that struck me about Thailand was the smell of the food.
I immediately realized that, compared to many Western nations, food was the protagonist in people's lives. It was not something to be consumed like anything else nowadays: quickly and without awareness.
There food was sacred: from preparation to the act of eating, I noticed a respect lost in our big cities. And I was not in some remote place in Thailand but on its most popular and touristy street! Nevertheless, people preferred street food cooked by the locals to sandwiches at the Burger King not far away.
I was so fascinated by this passion for food that I decided to start my exploration of Thailand by eating a Pad Thai. Pad Thai is a street food specialty, and in fact I ordered it directly from one of the stalls on Bangkok's most eccentric, noisy and touristy street. I couldn't find a place to sit, so I decided to stop by the side of the street and eat standing up. The food was an explosion of taste I'd never tasted before. It was fried, spicy, not at all salty, a bit sour and a bit sweet. An unusual mix for my palate, but extraordinary. It was simply delicious and from that first taste I fell in love with Thai cuisine.
Through experiences like this, I realized that by exploring the traditional food and drinks of a place you not only learn to discover it on a sensory level, but we actually enter a new reality.
Because the moment you choose not to go to fast food but to sit at the table of a small street restaurant frequented by locals, you put yourself on the same level as them. You show that you are really interested in understanding a place and not only in wanting to "consume" it as if it were a product.
So you trigger a wonderful domino effect of humanity: there are those who see you and smile, those who ask you where you come from, those who want to know if you like what you are eating, those who propose you to try a dish or simply offer you a drink.
All this from food. A magic that happens because food unites people, but not only: it puts them all on the same level of humanity. When we eat, we are all the same. Just like when we are happy.
If you love to travel, don't make the mistake of eating your national food. Sit where local people sit, trust street food, taste traditional dishes, don't be afraid to experiment with new flavors, dishes and combinations.
Only in this way you will learn to really discover the places you visit: first of all through their flavors and their ancient traditions, but also and above all by interacting with the people who live there. Travelling is an exchange, not a pretense. The most beautiful trips of your life could be made by eating.
Have you ever tasted the typical food of the place your language exchange friends live? When you travel, are you curious about eating local food? Write your answers in the comments section!
Written by: Martina Sassi, Staff Writer
Studenz.com Language Exchange
- 18 Jul, 2020
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