December 9


Six benefits of exploring local cuisine when you travel

By Mashav Shelef

When traveling abroad, there is nothing like treating yourself to some of the local specialties. Whether trying out a tasty Italian pizza or savoring an exotic dish from India, each bite will offer something new – not only for your taste buds but also for your knowledge about different cultures. Eating locally produced food is not only an opportunity for gastronomy but also a chance to immerse yourself in the culture and history of a destination. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, taking the time to try the food of the region you’re visiting can enhance your experience in countless ways.

1. Insight into a destination’s culture and history

Trying local cuisine is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the area you’re visiting. The food reflects a region’s culture, history, and traditions, and by trying the dishes of a particular place, you can learn more about its people and way of life. For example, in Italy, the food is heavily influenced by the country’s history as a maritime republic, with dishes featuring seafood and other ingredients that were readily available to Italian fishermen. In contrast, the cuisine of landlocked countries like Switzerland and Austria is characterized by hearty, meat-based dishes designed to sustain people during the long, cold winters.

Fresh Cannoli in a Pastry Shop in Torin, Italy

2. The exciting part of the travel experience

Trying local cuisine can also be a fun and enjoyable way to explore a new place. Food is an integral part of any travel experience, and trying new and exciting dishes can add an extra layer of excitement to your trip. Many people find that trying local cuisine is one of the most enjoyable parts of traveling, and it’s a great way to make new memories and experiences.

Steamy Dim Sum Stall in Guangzhou, China

3. Support the local economy and community

Trying local cuisine can also be a great way to support the local economy and community. When you eat at locally-owned restaurants and try locally-sourced ingredients, you’re supporting the businesses and people of the region you visit. This can be especially important in areas where tourism is a significant part of the local economy. By choosing to eat locally, you’re helping to create jobs and stimulate the economy, which can positively impact the local community.

Charcuteria in a Food Market in Seville, Spain

4. Learn about a region’s environment

Another benefit of exploring local cuisine is that it can be a great way to learn about the local environment and its resources. Many dishes are based on the ingredients readily available in a particular region, and trying local cuisine can give you an idea of the natural resources and climate of the area. For example, the cuisine of coastal regions often features seafood, while the cuisine of mountainous regions often includes hearty, meat-based dishes. By trying a particular region’s food, you can better understand its environment and how it affects the local culture and way of life.

A Fresh Tuna Sashimi Breakfast in The Fish Market Of Tokyo, Japan

5. Benefit your health and well-being

Local cuisine is often based on fresh, healthy ingredients that can benefit your health and well-being. In many cases, local cuisine is based on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients packed with nutrients and flavor. This can be a refreshing change from the processed and fast foods commonly available in many parts of the world. By choosing to eat locally, you can enjoy healthier and more nourishing meals, which can positively impact your overall health.

Juice Bar in Ha’Carmel Market, Tel Aviv, Israel

6. Make new memories

Exploring local cuisine is a great way to enhance your travel experience and make new memories. From the vibrant street food markets in China to the lively tapas bars in Spain, there are so many unique dishes that can introduce you to a new culture and bring you closer to the people around you. Eating what locals eat is an invaluable way of getting immersed in their customs and traditions.

Selection of Tacos in Guanajuato, Mexico


In conclusion, exploring local cuisine is essential to any travel experience. Not only is it a fun and enjoyable way to learn about a destination’s culture and history, but it can also support the local economy, provide insight into the local environment, and improve your health and well-being. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a new and exciting way to experience a new place, trying local cuisine is a great way to make the most of your travels.

Mashav Shelef

I’m a trained chef, a food writer, a culinary traveler, a food explorer and a mom. My mission in life is to inspire and motivate people by helping them experience life through food.

Mashav Shelef

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  1. My fiance and I decided to take a tour for our next vacation trip when summer arrives, so we'd like to know how we'd find nice places to eat at. We loved what you mentioned about exploring local cuisine when visiting a new place to help the economy and community, so we'll definitely keep this in mind. Thanks for the insight on exploring new flavors with local cuisine.

  2. I loved how you said that you can get a deeper understanding of the area you're visiting when you try local cuisine. My husband and I are planning on going on vacation next month, and he was talking about how he thought it would be a good idea for us to go on a food tour, so I wanted to do more research. I appreciate you helping me learn more about trying local cuisine when traveling!

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