Travel | Eat | Repeat

By Nisha Gopolan

Five years ago, Japan received a surprising, if very specific, distinction: UNESCO honored washoku—the country’s traditional cuisine—in its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The accolade celebrated the way food reflects the country’s roots, and the tourism boost that followed proved that culinary excursions could be as culturally fulfilling as museum trips. “A lot of thought has been put into Japanese food—from flavor, texture and even time of year,” says traveling foodie blogger Melissa Hie, of the wildly popular Girl Eat World. 

Be Adventurous 

Japan’s cuisine may have UNESCO’s seal of approval, but its appeal is actually rivaled by countless other destinations. Mindi Hirsch of 2foodtrippers, an award-winning blog, recommends Lyon, France, and Bologna, Italy, for those new to planning trips around your meals. “There, travelers can immerse themselves in local food culture without much effort,” she says. For those feeling more adventurous, she suggests Slovenia for dishes that combine Italian, Croatian and Austrian influences. Rana Good, who writes about travel for Forbes and AFAR magazine, suggests spots that offer both cheap and upscale eats: Bangkok, Marrakech and Hong Kong.

Out of Necessity

Feeding your curiosity as well as your palate can be truly eye-opening. “The way the food is prepared and its origins say a lot about a place. Thailand’s pad Thai was invented after World War II and became popular because it was a cheap way to produce nutritious food for the masses,” explains Stefan Arestis, who writes the blog Nomadic Boys. “A lot of French food has its origins in the countryside. Ratatouille was created as a way to use old vegetables instead of throwing them away.”    

Travel in Season

Time your trip to maximize the tasty results—a tip each of our experts agreed upon. “Think about when the fruits and vegetables you like are in season, or have just been harvested,” says Good, who was pleasantly surprised by the seasonal berries and meat dishes in Sweden. Adds Hirsch: “Why not go to Emilia-Romagna in June for Vignola cherries, or in October for porcini mushrooms and white truffles? In cities like Shanghai, hairy crab is all the rage from October to December.” 

Take-Away, While Away

Once you decide where to go and want to search out the best meals, review sites such as TripAdvisor and DiziVizi, which lets you watch videos of different locales, or mobile apps like HeyLets. There are also sites that connect you with in-home dining experiences like Le Cesarine in Italy, TakeMeTour for Thailand or Eatwith for global housebound supper clubs.

Where Life Begins

The more you venture out of your comfort zone, the more surprises there are around corners. Hie didn’t have huge foodie expectations during a trip to the Middle East. “Back then, what I knew as Middle Eastern food was kebabs and hummus. I quickly discovered that wasn’t even the most authentic part of their food,” she says. What made her trip most memorable? Discovering the seasoning blend called za’atar. A tasty souvenir has become an obsession that will last a lifetime. 

Article by Mosaic and provided courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

The authors are neither employees of nor affiliated with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC ("Morgan Stanley"). By providing this third party article, we are not implying an affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement, approval, investigation, verification or monitoring by Morgan Stanley of any information contained in the article.

This article has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed by the authors are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Morgan Stanley.  The information and data in the article has been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. 

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.  Member SIPC.   CRC 2333714  12/2018