Six Tips for Finding the Best Cheap Eats Abroad

Food blogger with a pavlova at Salamanca Market, Tasmania

I travel to eat. I mean, I travel to experience new cultures and environments, but I don’t think there is any better way to do that then to try local food. I would love to eat at Michelin star restaurants when I’m abroad, but more often than not that’s out of my budget, and to be honest, there is so often amazing food to be found for a lot less money.
Here’s the six ways I find the best places to eat abroad:

1) Restaurant apps

Obvious suggestion, but I have a couple of apps that are my go tos when I’m away. It may be a bit old school now, but Foursquare is still great for suggestions. It has a rating system that hasn’t failed me yet and you can sort it by distance or budget. Zomato also works in a few countries so that can also be pretty helpful.

Nutella ball freakshake in Sydney

Best place I’ve found: Foodcraft Espresso in Sydney and their insane Nutella Ball Freakshakes.

2) Blogs

If you want to know where the locals eat, or fancy exploring some place that would never be found elsewhere, search through your blog roll. I type countries into Bloglovin’ or in blog search bars and read copious amounts of reviews. What could be better than an honest review from an unbiased source?

Best place I’ve found: Kam Wah bakery in Hong Kong for incredible pineapple buns, thanks to Lucy Loves to Eat.

3) Social media

As soon as I head somewhere I tweet out for recommendations, search hashtags on Instagram and have a root around Pinterest. I love the direct response of Twitter, but with the other two I can browse photos of delicious meals and save photos to remind myself of what I’m looking for.

Scallion pancakes in Shanghai

Best place I’ve found: Scallion pancakes, regularly cooked in the street in Shanghai

4) Guide books

Guide books are (as a younger colleague of mine once weirdly said) ‘analogue’ now, but just how I still buy DVDs and prefer to read a book over a Kindle, I like the solid nature of a guide book. Lonely Planet has saved my arse on a number of occasions, but I like them because they just whittle things down for me. The internet has somany suggestions and everyone’s a critic, but sometimes I just want someone to unequivocally say, ‘Go there.’ And nothing says certainty than print.

Kaya Toast in Singapore

Best place I’ve found: Ya Kun Kaya Toast for breakfast in Singapore

5) Ask the locals

Really, the best and most reliable source for good food is the people who eat it every day. I’ve always said that my biggest food abroad fear is to end up in the foreign equivalent of an Angus Steakhouse, and I guarantee, if you ask any Londoner where they should eat, they will not be directing you to the corner of Leicester Square and saying, ‘Opposite M&Ms World you’ll have the meal of your LIFE.’ So ask a local.

Fish and chips with deep fried haggis in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Best place I’ve found: The Bay fish and chips in Aberdeenshire

6) Just joining a queue

Sometimes you’ll just be walking down the street in a city you’ve never be to before and there will be a queue. Just join it. If you’re tired and you don’t know where to go and something smells delicious and people look excited, you know what to do. This is especially helpful when you’re in a country where there is no English whatsover anywhere.

Best place I’ve found: Chinese hamburger at Xi’an Muslim Market

This post is sponsored by Cheapflights, who have a whole heap of tips on where’s cheapest to eat abroad (including some of my favourites like Kuala Lumpur!). All experiences and opinions on this post are very much my own.