Eating on the Road: 5 Apps to Help Find Great Local Food
You’re in a foreign city. You don’t know much about the local cuisine. You’re not sure where to eat but you want your local food experience to be top-notch. All this might sound familiar if you’re a food-loving traveler. Surely you’ve traveled to a new country and had to dive into the culinary scene blindfolded. However, it doesn’t have to be like that: you can have access at the tips of your fingertips to all the delicious, local food you want, especially with help from technology.
If you’re a foodie, you really should have the most up-to-date food-related apps in order to help you navigate the kitchens of the world during your gastronomic journeys. Luckily, there are apps for pretty much anything related to food, satisfying every type of eater. Need to grab something on the go? You’re covered. Looking for the best vegan food? No problem. Want to share the experience with locals? Sure thing. Looking for comprehensive restaurant reviews? Taken care of.
Download some of the apps listed below before taking off on your next trip, and then let the food-finding begin. With these apps, you’ll never be far away from your next meal, no matter your diet or dining style.
Happy Cow is hands down the best food app for vegans and vegetarians. Founded in 1999, Happy Cow helps assist travelers to find healthy, plant-based food and restaurants. The site allows users to list restaurants that have vegan/vegetarian items on their menus, and users can also leave reviews, which allows for a better understanding of what to expect. Each restaurant listing has a brief overview of the type of food, hours, pricing, as well as contact information. I had personally used Happy Cow in a number of countries, when I found myself in a city and wasn’t sure if there were any great veg restaurants around. Sure enough, there were. There are almost 70,000 listings in over 180 countries on Happy Cow.
TripAdvisor might be the first website that comes to mind when you want to look up reviews of restaurants (or anything else). TripAdvisor is completely global, and while it might only briefly touch on the food options in smaller cities, it’s a very useful tool that provides an overview of restaurants in larger cities. It’s probably the first site that populates on Google when looking for reviews – that’s because there’s a whopping 500 million of them, covering both travel and food. Be warned, you can’t take everything you read at face value. It’s easy for people to leave fake reviews (some people are paid to do so), and whole businesses have been created under false pretenses. However, if you practice a bit of common sense, there should be no problem figuring out what’s real and what isn’t.
Ever get sick of running around the airport looking for a reasonable place to eat? We all know what that’s like: you’re tired, stressed, in a rush to make your connection, and more than anything, hungry. This is where Grab comes in handy. The Grab app connects airport restaurants to travelers, making the often-stressful airport experience easier. Not only does the app show which restaurants are at the airport, it also allows users to order food ahead of time, avoiding the line, and saving precious connecting time. The app mostly serves American airports, but it is steadily expanding.
If you really want to eat at a local level, Meal Sharing is the way to do it. The app allows users to connect with locals and discover home cooking in more than 150 counties. Similar to popular platforms such as Couchsurfing (though free) and Airbnb, people are allowed to sign up as hosts in order to share the flavours from their region of the world. The app literally brings people together over home-cooked meals. It might not be the same as eating one of your grandmother’s famed dishes, but you might end up eating another grandmother’s culinary masterpiece. Meal Sharing’s website says, “Across the world or across the street… a home cooked meal awaits you.” Show up, get fed, meet nice people – this is the way I like to eat.
Food trucks have taken much of the world by storm. Street food has been the way of life in some parts of the world – particularly throughout much of Asia – for centuries, but eating on the street has become largely normalized in the Western world. Roaming Hunger is a database of food trucks and food carts. It allows users to seek out where the next food truck is parked, as well as provides the option to book vendors for events. The app lists food trucks in every American state, most Canadian provinces, a few European countries, and the UAE. Your food’s on the go while you’re on the go, but tracking down delicious meals on wheels was never easier.
These apps will fill your stomach no matter where or what you want to eat. Of course, there’s always the classic way of finding great food at a local level – word of mouth.