Eating out when traveling is always a party, and if it’s not, you should make it a party! It depends of course on the destination, but also on what you choose. I always try to keep it as local as possible and look for dishes that I suspect the chef on duty is good at. I also try to take the circumstances into account, so ‘fresh’ sea fish in the interior of Vietnam without cooling in the vicinity…. I don’t trust that completely. Take a good look around you, see what the other guests are eating, and see who the other guests are at all. My mother taught me that you should always go where it is busiest, even if it means you may have to wait a while. Pressure means good and a high turnover rate, so often also safe. Another good tip is that maybe you shouldn’t be too adventurous. Trying out a little local is fine, but a cut open short grilled armadillo in that aforementioned hut in the interior of Vietnam, I don’t know if it will make you happy (I know that, by the way, you won’t, believe me, I got it did and regretted within an hour. Huge regret).
They are all choices! Tough? Maybe. Nice? Can, if it works out well, but I was sitting in a non-English speaking doctor’s office a day later explaining what I had been doing all night on the bathroom floor, and surely that affects your travel schedule. So take a good look around you at the circumstances, the location, is the chef a bit clean, does it smell a bit fresh and what are the other guests eating.
I am currently summering in Canada and having a great time. I eat very well every day, but as the well-known proverb says: “life is a party, but you have to hang the garlands yourself”, so I am 90% responsible for that myself. Eating out in Canada is not really a party except in the big cities. The Canadian is especially happy with a lot, sweet and fat, and the restaurants are happy to oblige. The range in the shops is overwhelming, so if you shop a bit and take an hour or so, you’ll have a great time. Fixed in my travel necessaire (a nice old word for a case filled with accessories for personal care) is a chef’s knife and a paring knife, tweezers, a Microplane grater, and a core thermometer, and it is also common here again sense. What is in season here, what are they good at and what is really tasty. They don’t know celeriac, to name just one, and Brussels sprouts are currently being thrown to death (with us that is from October to March). Take your pick, don’t make it too complicated and don’t spend hours in the kitchen (if there is a kitchen at all, I also like to work in the woods on an old wooden picnic table).
If you’re in Canada (B.C.) soon, go to Published on Main, or like Ron to Mott 32 (Chinese) in Vancouver, or to Stage and Marilena in Victoria. Wild Mountain in Sooke is another great one, but go further with the great selection of shops, roadside and Farmers Markets. Have fun!