5 Tips on How to Eat Like a Local, From Curtis Stone and Cat Cora
After eating and dining in every country imaginable — Thailand, Morroco, England, Argentina — Cat Cora and Curtis Stone know a thing or two about eating well while traveling. Cora and Stone, hosts of Bravo's newest cooking/adventure show, Around the World in 80 Plates, shared their favorite meals abroad and tips on how to eat like a local. Their advice:
Thailand and Buenos Aires, the ultimate food destinations...: Thailand is high up on the list for both Cora and Stone as their favorite country traveled to on the show, they said. "I’m in love with the Thai people and the Thai food and Thailand," Cora said. Stone said he loved the beauty of Buenos Aires and its culture. "It was a real eye-opener for me, Buenos Aires, and the way they cook," he said. "They cook on these grills called parillas and then they cook Asador-style, which is like these guys that have been cooking on these grill pits for, you know, their entire life and they’re just so skilled."
...Or maybe Greece and Italy, too: "Right now I’d love to be sitting on a Greek island somewhere —because of being Greek American — and eating, you know, a great octopus salad and a grilled octopus salad and some fantastic lamb," said Cora. As for Stone, it was all about the truffles in Bologna. "You know, I’d go back to Bologna in a heartbeat and eat that truffle salad that we had late night at that place," he said to Cora.
On eating healthy abroad: Traveling doesn't have to mean a gluttonous diet; in fact, many Asian and Mediterannean countries are home to healthy eats. Cora, a Greek-American, said with all the fresh produce, olive oil, and lean meats, a Mediterannean diet is one of the healthiest diets out there. Same goes for Southeast Asia, Stone said, with all the fresh fruits, veggies, and legumes the natives put in their food.
Avoid the tourist traps: The concierge should be the last person you ask for food recommendations, Cora says. "The hotel concierge is kind of my last choice, especially in foreign countries just because they tend to send, you know, tourists to tourist destinations," she said. Instead, ask the locals where they eat — drivers and guides know the hidden gems you don't.
Hit up the markets: Why stick with a stuffy restaurant when the world's best ingredients are at your fingertips? "Stay away from restaurants that have menus in five languages. That’s always a tourist trap," Stone says. Instead, he says to start at the market, where you can "get a feel for the culture" and find out what they use in their meals.