Molly, a foodie traveler friend, eating strawberry pie in France
Molly, my foodie traveler soul sister, eating strawberry pie in France

“Foodie: a person keenly interested in food, especially in eating or cooking.” ~ Dictionary.com

“Traveler: 1. a person or thing that travels. 2. a person who travels or has traveled in distant places or foreign lands.” ~Dictionary.com

“Foodie Traveler: a person with an extreme interest in food that travels just to experience food.” ~ Heidi Medina

I’m coming clean.

I’m admitting my dirty little secret. I’m a foodie traveler.

I tend to hate associating the word “foodie” with myself. It just brings to mind images of people who ask pretentious questions like “Is this chicken free-range?” or “where are these greens grown?”

I just want to scream, “Do you even know what free-range means?” and “Does it really matter where the greens come from? Are you not going to eat them if they came from Farmer Bob instead of Farmer Joe?”

As you can see, I’m a little passionate about this topic. And why I don’t like to associate with the word “foodie.” It’s like a dirty word in our home.

Is that saying I don’t talk to waiters or others about food? No, of course, I do.  I love having conversations about food and where it comes from. I love comparing recipes or learning how to make a dish better. I’m just not one of those people tossing around trendy buzz words pretending I know what I’m talking about. It’s the main reason I hate associating the word “foodie,”  another buzz word, with myself.

For me, it’s not just eating and drinking that brings me joy; it’s the art of creating a new dish or the excitement finding a new ingredient. I love how food brings people together, making them satisfied and happy.

Cooking food allows me to connect with my zen place. When I’m cooking, I’m at my most present. I’m in the moment, alive and feeling awesome. Turn on some music, pour a glass of wine, give me my knives, a few ingredients and I’ll give you a tasty meal.

Ok, rant over! Now, join me as I explore the 13 reasons why the foodie traveler title fits me perfectly. You can find out if you’re one too.

You Might Be a Foodie Traveler, IF…

Tapas in Cadiz, Spain
Tapas in Cadiz, Spain

1 You Pick Your Travel Destinations Based on the Local Cuisine

Do you plan a trip to Thailand just to eat authentic Pad Thai? Or take a jaunt around Italy tasting olive oil? If you plan all or most of your travel destinations on the local cuisine, you qualify as a foodie traveler.

I have, will and do. Well, I haven’t been to Thailand yet, but one day…so much of the world of food to explore.

Colorful mushrooms found in Bourgh's Market, London, UK
Colorful mushrooms found in Bourgh’s Market, London, UK

2 If you make it a point to visit local farmer’s markets and food events

If you seek out the local farmer’s market and food events everywhere you go, you are a foodie traveler.

Hubby and I have searched out the local farmer’s markets and food festivals everywhere we’ve traveled. Both are a great way to experience the local cuisine and find unknown local foods. Shopping at the farmer’s market is also a great way to save money while eating plenty of fresh food.

David eating octopus tentacles in Cadiz, Spain
David eating octopus tentacles in Cadiz, Spain

3 You seek out and try the local foods

One man’s weird is another man’s normal. To you, eating scorpions, ants, bugs, offal and fermented foods might be strange. But to someone else, the “normal” food sitting in your pantry may be weird. That’s the awesomely cool world we live in. What makes you a guaranteed foodie traveler is if you are willing to try strange new foods.

A few years back, I committed to at least trying a bite of anything offered to me. As a result, I’ve tried ALOT of dishes that I normally wouldn’t have even considered. I’ve eaten offal from pigs, cows, chicken and lamb in a variety of forms in France. And tried fried Skate wing in Ireland (that was really strange)!

Excellent wood fried pizza at Casa San Carlo in Monteleon d'Orivetto, Umbria, Italy
Excellent wood fried pizza at Casa San Carlo in Monteleon d’Orivetto, Umbria, Italy

4 You only eat at “local” places and avoid tourist restaurants like the plague

A true foodie traveler will avoid eating in tourist areas at all and find out where the locals eat. Eating in the tourist areas is easy, convenient, expensive and rarely an excellent example of the local food.

Most of our bad trip memories involve eating bad, over-priced food from tourist area restaurants. We usually avoid those restaurants but sometimes you just don’t have a choice. Like when you’re too tired to go elsewhere or everything else is closed.

Awesome Hamburgers and Fries from Hamburgueria do Bairro in Lisbon,
Awesome Hamburgers and Fries from Hamburgueria do Bairro in Lisbon, Portugal

5 You decide if the trip was a success based on your food experiences

Did you have one of the best burgers you’ve ever eaten in Portugal? Or maybe find a perfectly roasted porchetta sandwich In Italy? Did you manage to eat at a restaurant run by or recommended by your favorite chef? Or locate the holy grail of old recipes for haggis in Scotland? If things like these made you feel like you had the trip of a lifetime, then you’re a foodie traveler.

Many of our food adventures are our fondest memories and the take aways from our trips. I always feel disappointed when I didn’t make it to a certain market or eat a certain food. So, I can say for sure, that I do rate my trip’s success based on the food I encountered.

Picking olives in Trevi, Umbria, Italy
Picking olives in Trevi, Umbria, Italy

6 You talk more about the food of a location, then the “sights”

If your food stories take center stage instead of the world-famous sights you saw,  then you are a foodie traveler.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, depending on who you talk to, food is always the center point of our travel stores. Our favorite memories are centered around food. Therefore, we will talk about the sights at some point but the food is usually first.

A beautiful neighbor who cooked for us in Morocco
A beautiful neighbor who cooked for us in Morocco

7 You’ll go the distance to visit or find the best restaurant or food

You’re a foodie travel if you spend hours searching travel blogs, food review sites, talking to other travelers, asking the locals, paying a neighbor to cook or getting lost trying to find the best food in town.

Hubby and I have done all these things and more trying to find the best food. We’ve trekked all the way across a city hunting yummy authentic food. In the end, we were exhausted and cranky but happy when we ate the first bite. We’ve paid neighbors to cook, earning us some of the tastiest local food we had in that location.

I stood in a really long line to get these macaron desserts In Paris
I stood in a really long line to get these macaron desserts from Y. Martin in Paris. They were so worth it!

8 You go to great lengths to eat at a restaurant, including bribing or begging the host/hostess

Will you beg, bribe, cry, flatter or try to trick a restaurant host/hostess or other customers into giving you a reservation or allowing you to eat at a restaurant that you’ve heard is awesomely tasty? If so, you really are a foodie traveler.

I’m guilty of begging and flattering. It’s been a successful approach for getting us into fully booked restaurants. We will also hang around in the hopes of a no-show reservation opening up a table for us.

David looking through the window at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark
David looking through the window at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark

9 You make restaurant reservations months in advance of your trip

You are a foodie traveler if you book your restaurant reservations before your transportation tickets or hotel rooms.

Since I base much of my travel on food, I’m always researching where and what to eat when planning a trip. And hubby tried for a reservation for Noma in Copenhagen before I booked our flight.

Sardines, a local fish I can't remember the name of and potatoes at the beach in Cascais, Portugal.
Sardines, a local fish I can’t remember the name of and potatoes at the beach in Cascais, Portugal.

10 It’s about the experience of eating, not just the food

If you understand that it’s more than eating but also the ambiance, experience, people and atmosphere then you are a foodie traveler.

We’ve sipped coffee and eaten pastries in classic Rome sidewalk cafes enjoying the Italian sunshine while people watching. And nibbled French baguette sandwiches which sitting with locals on the steps of a Parisian gothic church. And learned how to eat Moroccan tagine by scooping it up with bread in Morocco with a local family. And sat watching the waves crash on the shores of Lisbon which eating fried sardines and sipping wine. These are just a few examples of awesome food experiences we’ve had.

11 You’re willing to go to cooking classes in a foreign language

Cooking and food bridges the language divide for anyone and the foodie traveler knows this.

It’s completely intimidating.  But so worth the effort when you’re bonding with the locals learning to make an awesome dish. Hubby and I learned to make Stuffed Celery Parmesan while in Trevi, Umbria, Italy. I look forward to making it for my readers one day soon.

Making homemade pizzas in our kitchen in Shankill, Dublin, Ireland
Making homemade pizzas in our kitchen in Shankill, Dublin, Ireland

12 If your vacation rental must have a kitchen

If you want to cook during your travels then you are a foodie traveler.

Having a kitchen is a must for me, even when traveling. How else am I going to try out the interesting new ingredients I find. Plus, it gives me a chance to recover from a hectic day out sightseeing and learning new places and languages.

Gelato at Gelateria La Romana in Rome, Italy
Gelato at Gelateria La Romana in Rome, Italy

13 If all your friends ask you where to eat

You know you’re a foodie traveler when you’ve eaten and traveled so extensively that all your friends ask you where to eat when they travel.

Number 13 is the ultimate point of knowing if you are a foodie traveler because it means your friends acknowledge both your travels and your extreme interest in food.

So how many of these reasons do you match? Are you a foodie traveler? Does your world revolve around food? Or do you have an awesome reason that I forgot to include?

Please share your food stories, thoughts and answers in the comments section. And remember, good food feeds the soul.

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