Think of the best tasting dishes and drinks you have ever had. It is OK. I can wait. I will do some airfare searches while you reminisce about past great meals.
Here are 8 reasons I find road food so memorable, along with some of my favorite food and drink memories:
8 Great Reasons Food Tastes Better On the Road
1. Road Food Recommendations
2. Road Food Atmosphere
The pizza pictured below might be the best pizza I have ever had. Nothing to do with the egg—which I did not eat. The ingredients were not unusual. Why was this pizza so good? Might have something to do with eating it at an outdoor cafe on a side street in Venice, Italy on a perfect day with my family. Would the same pizza taste as good next time I eat it? What if I was alone? Or in Venice, Florida? Or it was raining?
3. Extreme Situations
The best beer I ever had was a Corona. By no means is Corona a great beer. This particular bottle of Corona was ice cold and I had it in the middle of the California desert, with temperatures above 110 degrees.
4. Insider Info
My Couchsurfing host in Casablanca told me he would show me (the next day) the best deal in Morocco at a place no tourist knew about. I looked forward to it for many hours. Sure, this amazing fruit blend only cost about $1.50. It probably tasted much better to me, though, because Joel and I traversed back alleys and secret passageways to arrive at the fruit stand I could never find on my own.
Some of my favorite road food and drink memories are from unexpected places that seemingly popped up out of nowhere when I did not expect them. I cannot decide which were better—the food truck tacos in NC or the food truck tacos in FL.
6. Intentional Road Food Discoveries
Often I consult Yelp or Chowhound for food recommendations. While I did not truly discover the resulting places on my own, I still feel like I discovered them in a way. Travel tips are subjective (yikes, even mine!) but I do enjoy finding the best Cajun food in Lafayette, best fish tacos in San Diego, or best ice cream in, well, anywhere.
7. Local Specialties
I ate the best oranges and Paella in Valencia, Spain. Miami has the best mojitos and Cuban rice. Can you beat lobster in Maine, crab cakes in Maryland, fish and chips in London, street tacos in Mexico City, sourdough bread in San Francisco? Were they all really the best or did they seem that way because they are native dishes?
8. Adventurous Eating
Trying new things in new places is exciting, right? Another seemingly objective statement made by travel writers is that you must eat authentic. Even though I feel this way now, I was not always so adventurous. I had a few too many Wendy’s Frostys in Switzerland because they were inexpensive and convenient; now fast food chains are very low on my list. New flavors, however, wake up the brain and actually result in you eating less. Whether you want to call it authentic or adventurous, as long as food is fresh and not from a chain, it is better for you and more memorable.
What is your favorite road food or drink from your travels?