Wednesday, August 19, 2020

{Travel Immersion 101}: Dining with Locals

Bocagrande, Cartagena
Food and travel are inextricably linked in my world.  And as I often say, one of the best, most authentic ways to experience a destination is through the lens of its cuisine.  But there's something that actually surpasses the typical tourist dining experience.  Beyond the restaurants found in hotels and resorts, often exceptional in their own right, lies a sometimes overlooked source of true culinary delight and cultural immersion--dining with locals. 

It's like discovering the ultimate best kept secret, because who better to represent the tastes and soul of a people, their history, their heritage, and the essence that represents 'home'--than a local?  Some of my most memorable meals have come from dining with locals.   Not because the trappings were so grand, but because the heartbeat of the food purveyors and the surrounding community were.

Family-Owned Harvey's Restaurant, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

From a crowded (how I like it) and understandably popular beach hut nested on the hot sands of South America, to a multi-generational owned family restaurant touted as the best among locals, and those who know, in the Virgin Islands, to a Fish Fry featuring locals' gold (aka Crack Conch) in the Caribbean, there's no end to the richness each experience offered.

Sitting elbow to elbow with fellow diners, as I settled in for lunch in BocaGrande, Cartagena, to chatting up a family on their exceptional history and landmark restaurant, Harvey's, in Saint Croix, to trying to navigate the massive fish fry platter presented to me in the Bahamas, these are the dining experiences that go well beyond simply satiating an appetite to ultimately nourishing the soul.  From local pride and community, to seeing a people living in their everyday environ, it's an instant segue into the heart of a destination.

My favorite lunch during my time in Cartagena, Colombia
So as you plan out your travels and dining forays in the days ahead, be sure to do yourself the favor of going off the beaten, tourist path and gift yourself with moments and memories spent dining with locals. 

Happy Travels and Eating! 


No comments

Post a Comment

© D.M.R. Fine Foods. All rights reserved.