When in Europe, eat what locals eat

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by sobore, May 28, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/When+Europe+what+locals/8444290/story.html

    One of the great joys of European travel is eating. If you let yourself tune in to the experience, a meal is a travel thrill in itself — as inspiring as visiting an art gallery and as stimulating as a good massage.
    I have only a few basic rules for eating my way through Europe. Find places outside the tourist zones. Go for local specialties. Eat seasonally. Most of all, eat fearlessly, trying things you’ve never had in places you’ve never been.

    Begin by looking for welcoming spots filled with locals. On a recent visit to France, I sat amid a crush of happy French diners in an atmospheric, wood-timbered restaurant. Glasses filled the room like crystal flowers; portraits of long-forgotten city fathers kept an eye on us from the walls.

    I ordered top end, my travel partner took the basic menu, and as usual, we shared. To start, we treated ourselves to a dozen juicy escargots. I gently pried a snail out of its shell and popped it into my mouth. The taste was so striking that I found myself requesting silence at the table. It was just my mouth and the garlic-drenched snails, all alone on the dance floor of my palate.

    Read More: http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/When+Europe+what+locals/8444290/story.html
     
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  2. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Did you know that Italy and France are Mc Donald's fastest growing markets in the world, I remember in Milan earlier this year and seeing a Mc Donald's which operates near the Duomo on several floors in a grand renovated palace like building, the outlet was packed and people even spilled unto the square.

    IMHO, guides / newspapers have a somewhat romantic notion about regional cuisine, seeing what they want to see, but as money pressures grow, so people divert their spending into cheaper options and this incl. fast food, ready meals from supermarkets and so on. It's not about food, it's more about being fed while on travel, it's a necessity for many, not by choice, who wouldn't choose the better more pricier options out there in the big city or the romantic seaside?

    It's like life itself for many, a big balance between what to spend, when to spend it, how to spend it and nevertheless experience the thrill of travel.
     
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  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Many times the best meal can be one of the simplest. While there is a lot of fanfare around celebrity chefs and trendy food, locals tend to eat well on a working mans budget. A little asking around and planning can pay off big. I have had many a meal well below $15 that was outstanding. As far as McDonalds goes, while not the optimal spot for a traveler to eat, it usually is cheap and you know what you are getting. ;)
     
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  4. coffeeaddict

    coffeeaddict Member

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    The best place I ate at in Berlin was a place a former coworker who grew up in Berlin told me about. It was way off the beaten path and nobody in the place s poke a lick of English. So glad we ended up going there instead of to another biergarten.
     
  5. Street Smart Traveler

    Street Smart Traveler Member

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    Crepes in Paris! Man, I ate that all the time when walking around the city.
     
  6. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    In Paris right now. Found lots of great food by wandering away from the tourist attractions and looking for where the locals eat.

    If the menu outside has four different languages and most of the guests are holding a guidebook walk far far away.

    I found a nice bistro that has been there for a hundred years and all the food is from one area of France. The owner who was my server told me the farm for the cheese was next door to him.

    Such a great city
     
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  7. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    what do you mean by this?
    so true !
     
  8. fiopred

    fiopred Member

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    I do not have the experience.
     
  9. Fredrik
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    Fredrik Silver Member

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    I have plenty of experience of eating like a local in Europe. The good advice given in this thread is valid for other continents as well.
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I don't find McD's to be particularly cheap.

    I do look at MCDs in foreign places, mainly to see how they have customized the menu. I will admit that I occasionally even try a local item (Tikka Massala Chicken Sandwich in Delhi comes to mind... and before someone takes it the wrong way, I have spent probably 10 weeks total in India and all other meals were real food). The place was packed with locals, not foreign tourists, so I guess I ate like the locals. ;)

    Escargots in France? Been there, done that.
     
  11. Bassington

    Bassington Member

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    Yes, I'm always amazed when people describe McDonalds as cheap. Sure, individual items are cheap, but you need three or four to start feeling remotely full. It's cheaper than a sit-down meal, but usually way more expensive than local sit down food.

    Nastiest "local adaptation" I ever tried: KFC shrimp burger. Some prawns smooshed together and deep fried in breadcrumbs. In a bun. With mayo. Someone else bough it for me. Thank God it didn't actually taste of prawns - it tasted of everything at KFC - if it had I'm not sure I'd have kept it down.
     
  12. Tad's Broiled Steaks

    Tad's Broiled Steaks Silver Member

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    Falafel and döner?

    Well, when in Europe, I almost always buy my dinners at supermarkets. Olive oil is a constant, as is bread, but anything else is spontaneous.
     

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