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Where Do You Eat?

Curt1591

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  • Added on: January 8th, 2010
Travelers have different opinions about eating while on holiday. Some dine only in major, international chains and hotel restaurants. Some may add major local chains. Others try smaller, family eateries. Then there are those who get down and dirty and dine from small shops, stalls and carts.

Who are you and why?

Curt1591

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  • Added on: January 9th, 2010
OK, I'll start.

Living in Bangkok, I actually partake of all of these, depending on the mood.

Here is my favorite kaiyang (grilled chicken) vendor:


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She also does great fried chicken and somtam.

rhythm_blues

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  • Added on: January 9th, 2010
I prefer smaller, locally-owned places (whether they are restaurants or mobile carts) that are indicative of the culture I'm in. Trying new foods is part of what I enjoy about traveling. In my opinion, if you stick to major international hotel chains and the like for all of your meals, 1) you'll pay a lot more money, 2) you'll lose some authenticity (e.g. much blander versions of what the locals are eating) and 3) you might as well stay home and eat at the hotel in your home town -- it would be a similar experience for a lot less money and hassle.

Although I know it can happen, I have rarely gotten sick eating in local places. I pick places that are well-populated, especially by people who seem to be local; I figure they are good judges of what will be a good restaurant. The more people are eating there, the less likely the food is to be sitting out for too long, thus reducing the likelihood of getting sick. Of course, if I'm actually visiting someone who knows the area, that's great; they can steer me to their favorite restaurants and order the food.

If I'm in a country where I don't speak or read the language, and there is no English on the menu, then I just point to what someone else is eating, to indicate that I'd like that too.

wanderlustt

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  • Added on: January 9th, 2010
I try all of them and enjoy different aspects of each.

I have no qualms about chain/fast food restaurants, whether int'l or local. Especially when I first arrive in a new country (i.e. still nervous), I have to admit I gravitate toward the golden arches, even though I rarely go there at home. I think it's partly because I'm looking for familiarity and consistency and partly because I associate them with the excitement of childhood road trips.

That said, I absolutely love eating little things from local street carts and stalls - so fun & cheap, great for snacking. Smaller, family-owned-type eateries are what I usually prefer for regular meals. I may pick something based on the menu description (even with the help of a dictionary, companion, etc) or point to something that nearby people are having. I've had both hits and misses, but it's fun either way, and I learn something new. I find this to be not only authentic & economical but also a great way to meet and interact with locals. Then there are some specialty, high-end dishes that you just won't see at smaller local eateries, and for them I don't mind paying the price at fancier hotel restaurants.

There is one type of restaurants I try to avoid if I can - "local" restaurants that primarily target tourist clientele. It may be my personal bias derived from unfortunate timing on my part, but the few times I had food-related stomach issues while traveling were after eating at the more expensive but cleaner-looking restaurants offering tourist-friendly menus.

patricia23

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  • Added on: January 28th, 2010
Yes, I also eat street foods... Have you tried "balot" from Philippines? Wah... For me this is the memorable experience when I visited the country.

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VagabondQuest

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  • Added on: February 4th, 2010
In Greece, I did gyros pita. It's very tasty and cheap. Many times you can find a small restaurant that sells it for less than 2-2.5 Euros. Gyros pita in Greece is often served with french fries inside it, which make it even tastier and more filling.
If you are in a bigger group, you can also choose gyros platter for about 7 Euros. If you take home, you will get a big box full with shaved meat, souvlaki, french fries, and some vegie (I forget what since I don't like vegie in general). Also a big pile of pita bread. Every time I and my husband bought one gyros platter, we typically ended up only eating 1/2 of it, or at most 2/3.
Dina at VagabondQuest
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Papaya

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  • Added on: February 16th, 2010
During my RTW, i ate EVERYWHERE. On days when I felt poor, I ate pasta or ramen in the hostel kitchen. On regular days I tried local eateries, and when I felt like a splurge or was in a country where I loved the food (helloooo France..) I ate every once in a while at a nice restaurant. :)

Traveller11

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  • Added on: February 18th, 2010
Depends on the country but in generaly in low to mid end restaurants. Somes times a splurge on a nice meal. I try to stay away from tourist restaurants as much as possible as you get a much more authentic experience at the local places.

I am generally pretty happy to eat street food, my favorite being tamales and empanadas from south america. I try not to ask the ingredients because I really don't want to know!

KathrynD

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  • Added on: February 18th, 2010
If someone tells me the food is great and it's in my budget, I'll give it a try.

HooleyHoop

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  • Added on: February 22nd, 2010
I tend to eat in smaller restaurants, food halls and from hawker stands especially when in Asia. When I'm in Australia I'll eat anywhere that takes my fancy but no matter where I go I dont eat at hotels!

The one time I made an exception to this rule was my first ever night in China. I was in Beijing and we were knackered so decided to eat at the hotel. less than 24 hours later and I was violently sick and not well for another 2 days. Lesson learned!

My mantra....eat where the locals eat.

tcook23

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  • Added on: February 22nd, 2010
I agree, defiantly eat where the locals eat. I tend to stay away from as many chains as possible. I always try and grab some of the free publications that are littered through the streets, they generally have some sort of food piece.

My new favorite hole-in-the-wall is called Yats in Indianapolis, IN. Great, authentic, quick, cajun cuisine. Real eccentric owner (read a story about him online). If you're there, I recommend!
I've been to 39 different countries, where to go next?

elAdi

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  • Added on: February 23rd, 2010
We are currently cycling around Asia (see our FB page).
Cycling means, you go through and end up in towns that never see any tourists and therefore the choices of where to eat are usually non-existent. We usually eat in al fresco kitchens, i.e. one wok, one table and four plastic chairs or at food carts, although they are seldom outside of the bigger towns. After 10 months on the road, we did enjoy a couple of pizzas when we arrived here in Chiang Mai. But usually, we frequent small restaurants when in the cities. Or food carts.
As we also camp, we do cook ourselves as well - usually dahl or pasta - good and simple food with loads of carbs. ;) And we like it.
My personal travel website
Cycling from Indonesia to India (09-11) Fabebook Page
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"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind." Albert Einstein

busman7

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  • Added on: February 28th, 2010
All the above & even MacDonalds twice in a year, once last year in David Panama when nothing else was open for breakfast & once on Bangkok's Khoa San Road last Xmas time just because I had a craving for a Big Mac :D
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Curt1591

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  • Added on: February 28th, 2010
I will always make a trip into McDonalds, KFC, and/or other fastfood outlets. It's interesting to see the local take on these institutions.

KFC Thailand makes a terrific fish burger, something never seen in the States.

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: February 28th, 2010
I like to eat from street vendors when I can, or when it isn't totally disgusting. I found this the case in Cairo, by the way. There I never felt the need to eat in a good restaurant, because I was so torn apart by the city that it cost too much to look for one. Noise,Pollution, and Chaos does not suit me well.

So, I ended up eating in a R&B's Root Beer restaurant. It had palatable burgers, birch beer, and fries. It was the best thing i could find, since I never bothered to ask anyone where good food could be found.

Because of the pollution, just being outside gave me an allergic headache.

In countries and places with more available cuisine, I eat in inexpensive restaurants, street venues, and yes, the Golden Arches. Once in a while I enjoy a good restaurant, as well!!

Why the Arches? Because they have very clean restaurants no matter what country they are in. They always are well lit. They are filled with people from that country for the most part. The food is predictable. They have great Chocolate milkshakes, and the decor is often very fancy in many countries. In Odessa, it was the best place I could find to eat in the vicinity of my work. Dark restaurants tend to depress me, and almost every Odessan restaurant i found seemed dark and dingy. I suppose I could have eaten in a good restaurant there, but even my friends, from the area, knew very few of those that I could reach without a vehicle.

I have some rules for street food that have served me well.

1. If there is a line, the food is likely good.
2. If the food is boiled or fried, the odds of food being bad is fairly low.
3. Dairy products and Shrimp are to be avoided if they don't use refrigeration, especially in the warm areas.

In Asia, I like eating in the huge mart like restaurants with many indoor stalls.

Oddly enough, the only times I've gotten any kind of food poisoning I can attribute, it was in Austria after I ate a cooked sausage. It was 24 hours of hell, but I survived. The other time was in Guatemala, after eating some old Chinese food in a refrigerator. That one lasted 48 hours.

It might be I have or had, an iron stomach. I also avoided places that seemed sketchy.

Well, when I was hiking in Spain, I ate some beans from a bush. I thought they were domestic varieties. I was wrong. Apparently domestic beans have been bred without the levels of arsenic, or some other toxic metal that the beans have. I didn't know what it was until i had headaches, dizziness, and stomach upset. 12 hours later, I was in pretty good shape, and then I looked up the symptoms. Moral- do not eat beans from a bush in the wild , when raw!!!









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