Foodies and travelers agree that tasting what the locals traditionally eat is one of the best ways to explore the culture of a country or a community. Dining in someone’s home is possibly the most authentic way to do that, but how do you arrange an invitation to a local’s table when you don’t know a soul in town? Eatwith is the world’s largest community for authentic and immersive culinary experiences with locals all around the world.
Food is a Portal to Culture
Traditional cuisine tells so much about a people. Cooking styles and preparation methods reflect their heritage and lifestyle. Moroccans use tagines for cooking couscous and vegetables, and a Polynesian specialty is roasted pig cooked underground.
The ingredients used reveal local resources, agriculture, and even weather. What foods they do or do not include in their meals may have to do with their values and belief systems. In New England, you’ll find a lobster roll on many menus because of the seafaring background, while in Texas, beef brisket barbecue harkens to sprawling ranches. In predominantly Muslim countries, you won’t find pork on the menu, but many Danes happily eat bacon at any meal.
Dining etiquette is also steeped in culture and traditions. In many Middle Eastern cultures, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat with your hands (right hand only) while in the Western world forks are customary. Much of Asia uses chopsticks, although the styles vary from country to country based on other cultural norms such as sharing meals or individual plates.
Taste the City With Locals
So, you’re a traveler in a new land and want to engage with “real people” over a traditional meal to learn about the local culture. How do you get invited into their kitchen? Eatwith hosts around the world are waiting to welcome you to their table for a one-of-a-kind dining experience! The organization connects hand-selected local hosts to travelers seeking unique, immersive culinary experiences.
The Eatwith experience can be a meal – dinner, lunch, brunch, tastings – in the hosts’ home. As a guest, you get to take a culinary journey, learn about the culture that produced the food, and connect through conversation and cuisine. Some examples:
- A rooftop brunch overlooking Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona with Laura
- A hike & sunset picnic with a panoramic view in Dubrovnik with Alex
- A Balkan feast in a charming New York brownstone with Dina
Eatwith also offers hands-on cooking classes, both in-person and online. Some examples:
- Learn to cook the perfect steak workshop and dinner with Kareem in Austin
- Make fresh pasta and enjoy a wine tasting and pairing at a professional chef’s house in Florence
- Learn the art of Chinese dumplings with lunch and a green tea tasting at Ally’s home in London
The Eatwith Experience
To ensure guests feel entirely safe, Eatwith has now made every experience a private party. Whether you have two people or ten, your party will be the only one at the experience.
“Amazing experience. We were connected with Shino. She met us and gave us a tour through a local store where she shops, showing us fish and ingredients that we would be using for our sushi-making experience. She took us to her home and gave us a tour of it, learning/seeing a typical Japanese home and how/where they live. We learned about the art of Sushi making and she taught us how to prepare the rice, cut the fish, and what ingredients to use. It was a hands-on experience, making both nigiri as well as rolls. Later on, she presented us with foods/desserts that she made for us which were all delicious. Shino was incredibly hospitable and a delight to meet. Her husband came home during the visit and we met and got to know him as well. It was a really unique experience that we would highly recommend to anyone visiting Tokyo. My kids LOVED it as did my wife and I. Thank you, Shino for a memorable evening.”
– David B. June 29, 2019
If you want to get more out of a meal than just good food, ask your Covington vacation advisor to add an Eatwith culinary experience to your next trip.