Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How to find food hotspots

When I moved to London, an entirely new world opened up to me: the wondrous world of good restaurants, cafés, bars and small eateries: hotspots. Having lived on the countryside until my eighteenth and at the same time getting spoiled by delicious mummy food every day, I never really felt the need to eat out at restaurants or go to cafés. But when I moved to a big city - London, not the least - I discovered more hotspots than I could ever try within three years. My new hobby/obsession was quickly born: finding and trying the best places the city. I didn't stop after London, so also Amsterdam and Munich's hotspots quickly followed on my endless to-do list. I sometimes get the question of how on earth I find all these places so today I'll give you some hints on how to find food hotspots. 
How to find food hotspots
Do you want to become that person who everyone goes to for good food recommendations? Do you want to eat amazing Sunday brunches, find the best coffee in town? Read the following tips carefully and you'll never have a bad meal again (if you're lucky). Here's how to find the best food hotspots:

- Ask locals and people who live/have lived there. Preferably someone who you know has a good taste for food. People who live or have lived in that particular city usually know where the locals go, and where the REAL good food is. With this trick you can easily avoid tourist traps and overhyped places, and find out about the newest places that haven't made it to the 'Best of' lists yet. 

Check your favourite food blogs for hotspots. Blogs usually have better reviews because I feel like they are more trustworthy and they usually write about relevant places which just opened or are good right now. Once you've found a blogger whose taste you trust, you can blindly follow their recommendations. (The Londoner's recommendations have never let me down before)

- Observe. Walk around the city and discover places on your own, it's really one of the best way to find the places that YOU will like. Not everyone will love dark and shabby burger places just like not everyone likes hipster coffee bars. If you look around you, you will find exactly what you want. 

- Write down a to-do list of places on your phone. Whenever you read or hear about a place take a note of it on your phone, so whenever you visit that place/city, you have a list of potential hotspots you could go to. When I lived in London, I had a London list, and in Amsterdam and Munich the same. Whenever I go to a place I tick it off, and I keep adding places when I hear of one. I also have a worldwide list just in case ;) This is really my best tip! It's also great if you're not feeling inspired or if someone asks you for a recommendation. 

Note it down now. Continuing on my previous point, always make a note immediately when you see a place, hear about a place or read about a place. Don't "do it later", don't add it to your bookmarks. Just add it to your list so you'll be sure it doesn't get lost in the depths of your memory or bookmark list (let's be real) 

- Follow your instinct. If a place seems to be packed with locals and it smells great, then chances are high that you've hit the jackpot. In Kyoto, Japan, we used this 'trick' to find one of the tastiest Korean bbq places. We couldn't find any reviews of the place online but there was a queue of only locals, so we took a chance and it was one of the best meals of the trip. 

- Don't give up. When you've been walking around all day, it can be easy to just pop into a place you know (McDonalds for example). I promise you, you'll never remember that night you ate another Big Mac... If you go for the easy option and something you're familiar with, you'll never get to try the really good places. 

- Social Media. Once you've found a place, check Instagram for pics and/or reviews online. I like Instagram because the pictures were (mostly) taken recently so you can see exactly what the popular dish is, or which seasonal special you shouldn't miss. And let's face it, Instagram pictures are usually much more appetising than what you'll see on Yelp or Tripadvisor. 

- The easy option. If all else fails, find yourself a foodie friend. If you're not good at finding hotspots/amazing places to eat, find a friend who does. They'll lead the way and all you'll need to worry about is how you'll ever manage to try all the spots that he/she has compiled on the list

How to find food hotspots

How to find food hotspots

How to find food hotspots

I hope that with these tips, you'll next vacation/year abroad/citytrip will be filled with good food and hotspot discoveries. As you can see it only take a little bit of observation and preparation. You almost can't go wrong. Bon appetit!

© whiskers & lions

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