To Cook or Go out…

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Have you ever wondered if you went out all the time would you still have money for other things? Let that sink in for a second……ok that would depend on your budget and way of thinking. Don’t treat it like a Las Vegas trip where as soon as you get off the plane your iteneriary goes out the window!

I mean going to many different places all at once on your first trip is setting yourself up for exhaustion. You have to do it in small chunks. Otherwise, you will end up either hating the experience there or worse yet, lose a lot of money paying for a taxi or train tickets to get there and back.

I am sure you either have a nice hotel that may have a restaurant in it or at the very least close by. This is good, for two reasons. One, it keeps you relatively close to the hotel. Two, you are not spending a lot of money to get there. Unless of course you have rented a car while there. Many others are using AirBnB or another form of rental while away or abroad.

apartment with small kitchen
Dining in or setting up a night with EatWith friends?

You have options…

You do have options, to do something other than eat out. If your only staying for a week or less, then I can understand about wanting to visit as many places as you can. Why you should plan the longer trips to a restaurant or place to eat from the hotel or where you are staying first. This ensures on your last few days that you are not going very far and can have a bit of extra time to relax and pack up before leaving.

I do recommend having a good nice dinner for the last night to commemorate the trip and spend time with your travel partner. This is a great opportunity to take a few pictures and make it special. Isn’t that why you took the trip anyway?

So you have cooking skills….

Ok, lets get things straight. You went to the store, tried to stuff many things in the European fridge that is no bigger than a US dorm fridge. Now you understand why Europeans are not big on processed and chemically laced foods! By now you have seen a market of some kind and wanted to make something. This is where my blog comes in. Because I not only will hand out recipes, but let you know about the markets that you might normally not know about.

Lets get back to the real reason why you wish to cook. If you are renting an Airbnb and have access to the kitchen, by all means ask your host to help out. This is how you make friends, learn about the local culture and country that you are in. Hey, we are all humans. Language barriers drop when it comes to sharing a plate of food with new found friends. Grab some veggies, and maybe a meat or even go all vegan if you wish. The possibilities are endless.

farmers market
Take a trip to the local farmers market.

Things to consider…

So you have an idea of what you would like to make. This is Great! My suggestion is to actually make a grocery list of sorts and how many are you planning on cooking for. A good rule of thumb is to budget for about 2 to 3 dollars per person, or at least about 6 oz for the main course, and 2 to 4 oz for any sides. While this may not seem much. It does make sense if you the one purchasing the ingredients in a local market in a country that you may not be familiar with.

The other alternative is to actually go to a grocery store. The main reason is to actually venture off the beaten path and act like a local. This is how you learn about a country, learn about the customs and actually meet locals. This is how you can learn about different foods, techniques and overall how to learn something you can’t get in school.

Keep a budget is the main goal here. Try to cook what a local would do. Be adventurous. Think of something that is not like the many fast food type places or volume type chain restaurants. This gives you a chance to learn about food, the culture of a country through the food. Not only would you have something made similar in style from a local restaurant. You have saved yourself some money while treating your significant other to a homecooked meal from yourself! Congratulations you did it!

In Summary

If you wish to learn more about a country, try your localhost if in an Airbnb, or hotel concierge. They can give you some insights for places to try. Even be able to give you some tips for cooking and where to get great fresh ingredients. Not only could your taxi driver as well. I would be cautious if using taxi services for places to try. Some may have ill intentions, but just asking for suggestions is a way to look up later using internet searches.

Have fun and enjoy the food, the culture and live life with a plate of food and good friends!

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