Hi my lovely readers!
I’m all for trying new and different foods and dishes when I’m abroad and on holiday. That’s part of the excitement, trying completely different dishes to what we are used to from back home and experiencing part of the culture.
The best food experience I ever had was in Singapore. There were so many dishes that I tried, especially from the hawker centres, that were all delicious and different. But I have also visited countries where I found it hard to find foods that I like and could eat.
You see, I’m a very picky eater. I like trying new foods, but I will never eat anything such as intestates, seafood such as shellfish, fatty meat cuts and so on. Some foods such as shellfish I simply don’t like. I tried it and didn’t like it. But foods such as intestates, liver etc. I just don’t want to try, because I find the thought of eating them revolting and sickening. I know many people love them and they might be super tasty, but it’s just not for me.
There’re destinations that offer similar foods and dishes to what we’re used to, but there’re (luckily) also plenty that don’t. For picky eaters like me, vegetarians, vegans etc. it can be challenging to find foods that we can eat and like, but there’re a few things we can do to avoid going hungry while on holiday.
Here are my top tips for picky eaters to find delicious food while abroad and on holiday!
RESEARCH THE FOOD OF THE DESTINATION
We often research attractions and things to do, but forget to research what people tend to normally eat in the countries we visit. For example, I was naive to think that food in Asia would be sort of more or less similar across the different countries.
Boy was I wrong. When I visited Hong Kong and Taiwan I thought I would find similar dishes to what I found in Singapore. This was not really the case for me and I learned my lesson to do a bit more research in advance before my next trip to Asia.
LOOK UP PLACE TO EAT AT
Instead of blindly walking around hungry, researching places to eat at in advance is a great solution to make sure you can find tasty food or at least food you can eat.
There’re a ton of food bloggers and vlogger out there with good recommendations (see My go to Youtubers for Travel Inspiration and Tips), but sources such as Tripadvisor and just googling also yield great results.
Being hungry and not being able to find food that you can eat can ruin your holiday. We don’t go away to suffer, we go away to have fun and enjoy ourselves.
BRINGING YOUR OWN FOOD
Of course it depends on where you’re going, how long you’re away for and also how you get to a destination, but taking some food with you, maybe even just for the first day or so, can make a difference.
If you’re travelling by car or motorhome you can easily take a cooling box with you to sort you out for a few days. And even when you’re travelling by plane you’re often able to take some food with you on board eg. sandwiches, crisps, sweets etc.
FIND MENUS IN ENGLISH
One of the challenges I came across in certain countries was that they don’t offer food menus in English, which is almost like a no-go for me personally. I will not eat anything if I can’t make out what’s inside or what it’s made of.
I know the best restaurants are often located of the tourist trail and in sight streets. But if they aren’t accommodating tourist in terms of offering menus in English or speaking English, I still won’t eat there.
Hence, I will always check with staff or have a look on their website in advance if they have menus in English.
FIND RESTAURANTS, FOOD COURTS AND MARKETS WITH PICTURES
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and look at pictures of food and dishes. If you have done a bit of research in advance you can pretty much guess what foods and dishes the pictures represent. Very often they’re also self explanatory.
Take your time and don’t rush if you’re trying to figure out what the ingredients would be on the picture and if unsure, you can always ask the staff as well.
USE ANY FORM OF COMMUNICATION
Nowadays there’re so many translation apps out there that can help you to figure out what a menu or food label says. Use those to your advantage and if worst comes to show use good old sign language and sounds. I’m not joking.
Back in 2015 when I visited Japan I really wanted to try one of their steamed buns, but had no clue what the filling was. Could have been octopus, which I don’t eat. Somehow I managed to get the clerk to understand what I was trying to tell him and he went around his shop to collect all the ingredients that were used for the filling.
It was one of the nicest gestures and moments of any holiday I had. I still remember it as if it was yesterday. By the way, it was chicken. Hence I bought two of the buns 🙂
MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD
If you simply can’t find anything you like to eat then I guess your last option is to make and prepare your own food. You can always find a local supermarket to buy ingredients to make a sandwich, find fruits or buy instant noodles, you get the idea. It might not be as exciting, but will do the job.
ASK HOTEL STAFF FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
And my last tip for you is to ask the hotel staff if they have any recommendations. They can point you in the right direction of where the best restaurants and food courts are and what local dishes you should try. After all, they are the local experts.
Have you ever had a bad food experience abroad?
What are your tips?
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