Inspiration • September 2015
If you want a truly authentic travel experience, you have to break bread with a local, says food and travel journalist Victoria Stewart. It’s the ultimate in collaborative consumption. She picks her top four ways to eat out without a waiter in sight
If you haven’t given up your bed or bike to a stranger lately, you have missed out on one of the biggest start-up booms to hit the web. All around the world a sharing economy has been hard at work.
Showers and sofas have been offered for cyclists or travellers wanting to rest their weary heads on WarmShowers and CouchSurfing; rooms have been rented via AirBnB or LoveHomeSwap; taxis and liftshares have been available at the drop of a hat thanks to Uber, Lyft, BlaBlaCar and GoCarShare; and bikes have been borrowed on Spinlister.
Now cooks have decided to collaborate. So if you’re in a new city, you’ve found a place to stay and now you fancy some great food, it’s time to share a plate with a local. Here are four ways to dine out without ever entering a restaurant.
Cities: worldwide, including Paris, New York, Krakow, Istanbul, Madrid
How it works: This is what every intrepid traveller dreams of when arriving in a new country. Like an AirBnB for food, the site enables users to eat with a local. Select the city, budget, language and the kind of food you want to eat, then head over to someone’s house to share it.
Plate Culture’s ‘off the beaten track’ approach to local cuisines has spread around the world
Cities: global, including Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Sao Paolo
How it works: The organisers of this site want you to go ‘off the eaten track’ to meet people and try local cuisine. Launched by two Malaysians, it went first to Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines and has swiftly been picked up across the world.
Cities: Los Angeles, New Delhi, Johannesburg, London
How it works: During Ramadan, Muslims break their fasting when darkness falls and they gather for dinner. Dine@Mine, run by the Islamic Society of Britain, aims to connect Muslims with non-Muslims who want to break the fast together, firstly because it’s a fun way to meet people, and secondly because it can break down cultural barriers. Any Muslim family can offer to host an event, provided they are happy for people to cook and have strangers dine around their kitchen table.
Take the chance to sample fusions and styles from all over the world
Cities: San Francisco, New York, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro
How it works: This suits anyone who fancies tasting guinea pig in Brazil, world fusion food in London, or an Argentinian take on French fare in Paris, and doesn’t mind sharing the experience with 10 to 40 guests. Hosts range from amateur cooks to Michelin-starred chefs making food at home, but the idea is the same as the others: sharing food with strangers and learning about new cultures.
Ready for your own adventure? BA has teamed up with Ventoura - a new app that connects locals with international visitors to offer unique experiences away from the tourist trail. From a coffee-shop crawl to cooking classes, the experiences are available in many European cities including London, Paris and Rome. Visit the website to find out more