I am a “foodie” in one source of the expression. I love good food. That doesn’t mean I like to gorge myself. It means I appreciate great flavors and variety.
One of the biggest joys of travel, whether you’ve done a lot of it or not, is to enjoy foods and good times sharing them bring. There’s an undeniable exposure to culture when you experience different foods. I like to take those memories with me and expand my eating horizons at home by incorporating the flavors into things I can cook myself.
I could write a book on this subject, but that is not the purpose of a blog. Today I discuss the different travel choices for experiencing good food.
“Escorted Group Tours” are usually the worst for good food. It’s not bad food, but the per day price is usually higher than if you did it yourself another way. On the other hand, if you are going to a very foreign place to your comfort level or if you have not done much traveling, this is a “safe” way to go. We have only done two such tours. One was to Egypt and included top notch hotels and a Nile River cruise as well as most meals. It was expensive, but we chose it for the safety factor. Those who ate the local foods got sick. We did not. From a food perspective, it was not an expanding view. From a cultural perspective, it was fantastic.
The second escorted group tour we did was in Russia, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It included high end hotels and a river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow along the Volga River. The food was not very good. We often referred to it as “mystery meat” and we were on one of the better ships. Our outside the group dining that we did on our own was much better. Chicken Kiev squirting at you and real Russian caviar were treats.
Then there are cruise ships. It so varies by ship and line that it is hard to generalize. We have had great meals on many of them, but you don’t get the “local” flavor since all of your meals on board ship and you don’t experience the local culture. We have found it a total waste of money to be paying for food on the ship and then eat in the local places. Instead, we will often find a local place to have cocktails to enjoy the local ambience.
Do it yourself by land travel! That is the way to truly enjoy local foods. But, don’t eat at street carts. You are asking for trouble. If you are nervous about totally planning you own trip, do a combination of escorted or cruise with add ons for yourself in at the beginning and/or end of your trip.
Finally, there are an increasing number of all inclusive resorts all over the world. You’d be surprised at how good the food is with total safety. I attach one photo today of my joy at eating Caribbean Lobster in Punta Cana at Majestic Elegance. I grew up at the Jersey Shore with cold water local lobsters and Maine lobster. Here I learned the joy of trying something different at a fraction of the cost.
I welcome comments and questions here. Check out my other posts on DesiWorlds.com, my DesiWorlds Facebook page, and my very numerous posts on Trip Advisor under the name Desiwood.