• Jarmo Leppinen

Food: Fuel or more?

Updated: Nov 12, 2018

Eating is something I have invested more effort on my resent trips. On the first trips I didn’t concentrate on food that much, it was just fuel. When I got more experienced in travelling, I started to pay more attention to the culinary side too.

Just randomly walking into a restaurant still feels difficult for me for some reason, so nowadays I check some options beforehand and choose one of them for the next day. One reason why I do food tours is just that they take me to places I would otherwise not end up to, to taste food and drinks I would not necessarily order on my own. Read more about food tours on this previous blog post.


When at home, nowadays I usually don’t eat breakfast, but an early lunch. When travelling, breakfast is essential to get the day started, so it is a factor when choosing a hotel (see previous post). Sometimes I buy breakfast supplies from a grocery store and have breakfast in my room, if there is a fridge available and breakfast is not included in the room price.


I appreciate if there is some local flavour available in the hotel breakfast selection, but the bread, scrambled eggs, bacon and pastries combination always works. Good side of a breakfast buffet is that it can fill your stomach until late afternoon, but on the other hand, you may need to lay down for a bit before heading out…


Finding the right spot


On a lunch or dinner it is nice to try local food, but sometimes it requires some research. Many places that advertise traditional local dishes can be just overpriced tourist traps with mediocre food. On the other hand, popular places usually are popular for a reason. One of the best dinners I have had was in Budapest on a river cruise boat, which sounds like a complete tourist trap when you first hear about it.


Before the trip and sometimes during it too I look restaurant options from TripAdvisor. I prefer easy-going places instead of fine dining, not least because of the price. If there are good reviews from locals too, it is usually a good sign.


I like to shop in local grocery stores for snacks and drinks. It is also a good place to see part of the local life and also use a little bit of the local language, as “hello” and “thank you” is often enough. I would like to buy something that locals eat, but it is not always easy to know what it would be. Also the lack of a fridge in room narrows the opportunities and too often I end up to just buying chocolate, cookies or such. In Prague I found ready-made baguettes that were so good that it compensated the extremely unfriendly service in that small grocery store.


Summary


Eating is definitely a part of the travelling experience, but sometimes it is ok to just fill your stomach and go on. I’m excited about all the upcoming food tours and other culinary treats that will wait me in the future, but I’m not going to take too much pressure out of always finding the perfect spots.


Treats in Vilnius, Zagreb, Vienna and St. Petersburg.

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