3 Reasons Why it's Imperative to Eat Local Foods

by Drew Goldberg / Jul 11, 2014 / 0 comments

Eating local foods when you’re in a foreign country isn't just important. It's imperative.

Food is my absolute #1 favorite part about traveling. I am completely obsessed with eating local dishes everywhere I go.

I can confidently say that over 90% of all my meals are local when I am on the road. In total, I've been to about 50 countries, so that's a lot of delicious meals!


Eating delicious tacos in Granada, Nicaragua. From  3 Reasons Why it's Imperative to Eat Local Foods

Eating delicious tacos in Granada, Nicaragua


It's not only about trying out the local dishes, but it's also about the experience of eating as a whole. I like to seek out the best "ma and pa" restaurants where nobody speaks English. I want the old chef cooking me the same recipe that he's been using all his life. I strive to ask locals for advice and follow them into their favorite restaurants/ street vendors. That's what it's all about!

Street food is really where all the money is. Sure, it might be a little more unhealthy and greasy, but it’s how you can discover the best tastes of the city!

Still not convinced to eat local foods yet? Check out these "Top 3" reasons for why you should do it.


1. It's the cheapest option

There's no question that eating local foods is the cheapest option. It’s quick and convenient and it’s the food that everyone in that region has been eating for centuries.

Many times, the best local foods can be purchased from a street vendor.  I shouldn’t have to explain that street food is always the cheapest option, no matter where you are in the world! There have been so many unbelievable meals that I’ve had from street vendors around the world for under $3USD.  

If you think about it, the ingredients for non-local (foreign) foods most likely have to be imported, or else it won't taste nearly as good.

So why not try out the locally grown ingredients, while not burning a hole in your wallet? 


Pad Thai for $1USD in Bangkok, Thailand. From 3 Reasons Why it's Imperative to Eat Local Foods

Pad Thai for $1USD in Bangkok, Thailand


Pho Noodles for $2USD in Saigon, Vietnam. From 3 Reasons Why it's Imperative to Eat Local Foods

Pho Noodles for $2USD in Saigon, Vietnam


2. You can learn about the culture

I've learned so much about local culture just by eating the food.  I've been introduced to traditions that I never knew existed...things that are not taught in textbooks or used in movies.

Here are few examples for what I'm talking about:

- In Macau, I discovered that many of the best dishes are actually Portuguese, because Macau was formerly a Portuguese colony.  

- In Korea, I learned that it is a tradition to eat a live octopus (and I did it!).

- In Lisbon, I tried sardines and later found out that it is part of a huge festival where everyone eats sardines.  It is a specialty Lisbon food that brings in positive vibes from the locals.

These are just some examples that came to mind.. There are so many more! 


A Classic Korean BBQ meal in Seoul, Korea. From 3 Reasons Why it's Imperative to Eat Local Foods

A Classic Korean BBQ meal in Seoul, Korea


3. Locally ingredients = quality

I touched on this earlier, but eating local ingredients is equivalent to eating quality ingredients.

For all of you healthy eaters, don't confuse "quality ingredients" with "healthy ingredients"... I'm simply saying that each and every ingredient exists for the purest and best taste.

Eating quality ingredients in local foods isn’t just a recent thing either, but it’s the way that it has always been throughout history of that specific region.


Street Food in Seoul, Korea. From 3 Reasons Why it's Imperative to Eat Local Foods

Street Food in Seoul, Korea


I am currently living in Korea, and the food here is absolutely incredible. But ONLY in Korea does the food taste this good! I've been to many Korean restaurants in the States and other countries, and it isn't even a fraction as good.

This is also the case with any local cuisine. The local ingredients can't be beat when eaten in the right place!





Drew is a recent college graduate who has visited 43 countries since the beginning of 2012.  His favorite things about traveling are eating the local foods, meeting awesome people and experiencing the nightlife scene.  Drew is currently teaching English in South Korea and he blogs about food, culture and nightlife at the Hungry Partier.  Find him on Google+ and Twitter.




All photos courtesy and copyright Drew Goldberg