Eating Abroad: 7 Tips

Rue des Bouchers, which some consider to be a tourist trap.

Rue des Bouchers, which some consider a tourist trap.

Dining in a foreign country is intimidating! But you can overcome your fears with our 7 time-tested tips. You’ll see how a little research can change your perspective on dining out abroad.

1. Dine where the locals dine to avoid tourist traps. While it is more likely that the tourist trap restaurants have English speaking staff, the quality of the food is almost always compromised.

2. Research local cuisine. Knowing about the food can really help you practically and with your confidence. Moules-frites for example, are a staple in Belgium.

3.  Translate the foods you hate. Learn the foreign words of foods you don’t like. For example, champignon is the French word for mushroom. I don’t like mayonnaise (which happens to be a French word), in Dutch it’s mayonaise.

5. Don’t be embarrassed if given an English menu. I am always a little embarrassed when a English menu is given to me without asking. Then I remember that they took a lot of effort to print English menus and make me feel welcome.

6. Learn the tipping customs of the area you’re in, 1.25 € is almost too generous and tips are not expected. Tipping too much might be insulting or misunderstood.

7. When in doubt, observe the locals. You can learn a lot about how the locals carry-on in a restaurant. In Rome, it is impolite to eat pizza with your bare hands in a sit-down restaurant. There is no written rule but many discover that by observing. Why am I the only one not eating my pizza with a knife and fork? 

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