There are different kinds of travelers out there with varying takes on how to really ‘see the sights’. Some prefer to go backpacking and roughing it up, quite a lot likes to go shopping at flea markets for great finds, there are people who adore exploring a city by biking, and talented photographers go on photo walks. Then there’s us, the ones who yearn to try the local cuisine for the authentic experience. Eating is a common experience for everyone! Although it sounds lonely to eat out when traveling alone, it’s easy to make it a fun venture. Here are a few tips on how I enjoy eating solo while traveling.
Always bring bottled water. Tap water is generally harmless to locals since their tummies are already accustomed to it, but it’s different everywhere. Go down the safer route (no one’s going to take care of you when you get sick traveling solo) and bring bottled water with you. You also get to save a few extra bucks by not paying inflated prices for it in tourist spots.
Ask the locals for recommendations. Or better yet, eat with them!
l used to print out lists I found online of food to try in a specific place, but the best tasting ones are usually suggestions from the locals. I usually ask them to write the address and the name of the dish for me, but a lot of friendly locals will even volunteer to go eat with you. It’s pretty easy to bridge cultural gaps through dining together (it’s important to note that you still have to take necessary safety precautions when eating with strangers).
Line up for street food.
I find street food interesting because it’s diverse in a way. Copenhagen has their crepe bikes, waffles on a stick, and hot dog stands. Orange quail eggs, chicken innards, and blood cubes can be found in the streets of Manila. They sell coffee and soy pudding with ginger sauce in Hanoi, while you can find $1 fresh fruit shakes at Pub Street in Siem Reap. The concern people usually have about street food is its cleanliness. While there is no way for you to know that everything you eat on the streets is clean, stalls that have the longest queues usually means that they have high ingredient turnover.
Try something at least once. You know what they say – when in Rome do as the Romans do. Unless it violates your personal dietary restrictions, go try it out before giving judgment. It may not be as bad as you think it is and it ends up being your favorite, or it could be worse.. but you’ll never know until you try.
Join food tours! The downside of eating solo is that you can only eat for one person, and ordering everything is not practical at all. This may be cliché already, but joining food tours is the easiest way to get around to trying a lot of food and sharing it with like-minded people. Now, isn’t that fun?
Enjoy exploring the world through eating, female foodies! 🙂
*As published in MAGPIE, the world’s first private membership club for female travelers. I was so excited when Cathy asked if I can write a quick article for them about solo female travel. So I thought, hmmm, why not write about eating solo? Thank you Cathy and MAGPIE for the opportunity. 🙂