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Here's How You Can Actually Find The Best Local Food When You're Traveling

Because traditional dishes are always the best kind.

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1. Like EatWith:

Founded in 2012, EatWith is a global company that connects travelers with local vetted chefs in 150 cities around the world, who invite you into their homes for a meal. Basically all you have to do is type in your destination, and then you pick from a variety of specialty meals (and some chef-led food tours) that are being offered in your area. Most meals end up dinner-party-size, and there is a fee, depending on what you eat.

2. And Traveling Spoon:

Similarly, Traveling Spoon — a company founded in 2013 whose amazing tagline is "travel off the eaten path" — also connects travelers with local hosts who prepare regional cuisine in their homes. The company has vetted hosts in 38 cities in 14 countries in South and Southeast Asia and Japan. Hosts also offer cooking classes and market trips.

3. And Cookapp:

Cookapp is a similar food-sharing company that originally launched in Buenos Aires in 2013. It's expanded since then and has vetted hosts in more cities in Argentina, plus New York and the San Francisco Bay Area — and has plans to launch in many more American, European, and Latin American cities very soon.

4. And Feastly:

If you want to stick with stateside only, Feastly is like the other companies above — except it's only in America. Their major market is in San Francisco, but they also have chefs in New York, D.C., Chicago, and Houston. They also have occasional meals in other cities, depending on when chefs want to host their events. Search your own city here.


5. Like Localfu:

As its "Don't be a tourist" tagline clearly conveys, Localfu has your back when it comes to avoiding tourist trap eats. The website lets you ask locals ANYTHING for $5, like the best wineries to hit up or the best street food for under $3 — and you'll receive a personalized travel plan with addresses, phone numbers, images, and maps.

6. And the LocalEats app:

Unlike Localfu, which lets you ask locals themselves for recommendations, LocalEats, which costs 99 cents, sources its top local restaurants from travel writers, restaurant critics, well-respected bloggers, and food editors. Here's a list of cities they cover around the world, which is especially helpful with the GPS "what's near me" feature.

7. And the Spotted by Locals app:

Basically, this app is a collection of city guides to over 60 cities in the world, sourced from a group of curated locals. The app itself is free, but then you have to buy the actual guide to each city, which costs $3.99. When you click on each place listed in the guide, you also get an essay written by one of the locals about why the place or activity is so great. And there's a "nearby" feature that lets you choose from all the local-endorsed places right around you.

The best part is it all works in offline mode, so you're good to go if you don't have Wi-Fi or you're underground.


8. And Instagram:

Search the geotag and the hashtag of your city or town (like #austin). If there's a spot that keeps popping up, go there, because it's clearly popular. Or, if you find cool locals, follow them and go where they go. You can even DM them for recommendations.

9. And even Tinder (yes, Tinder):

William Cho CC BY-NC / Via Flickr: adforce1

It's not just for dating! You can totally use it to get food and drink recommendations, too. When you get to your city of choice, start talking to people who live in the area. Tell them you're visiting and ask them to tell you or show you the best places to go for eats and booze. You can even talk to locals before you go using the Tinder Passport feature (on Tinder Plus).

Of course, be careful. Always meet in a public place first, don't meet at someone's apartment before having met them already, and always carry your phone and cash.

10. Like Vayable:

Unlike big group tour companies, Vayable offers small, unique experiences like a yoga and cooking tour in Fobello, Italy, and a food foraging and wellness tour of Athens, Greece. (They also offer non-food activities like backroads bike tours and hikes.)

Bike tours wherever you go are also a good idea, because the leaders usually bring you to local hole-in-the-wall food spots along the way. Get Up and Ride, for example, is a great one in NYC.