We all love traveling. There’s sight-seeing, meeting new people, the ability to take shameless Segway tours, and let’s not forget about the endless amounts of Instagram posts. But the best part of all is the food.

Different areas of the world have so many new flavors and dishes that you would never even think of. From decadent scoops of gelato to exotic acarajé, there is always something fun to try. The possibilities are endless. Here are more reasons why food trumps all aspects of traveling.

1. You Discover Foods You’ve Never Tried Before


Photo by Katelyn Jones

There are so many dishes in other countries that you would never try if you do not traveled outside the U.S. Traveling somewhere new opens your eyes and your taste buds to a whole new range of authentic flavor profiles and foods that you would’ve otherwise been missing out on.

If you’ve traveled to Poland, you know about the famous pierogis, a traditional Polish dumpling stuffed with various meats and vegetables. These are some of the most delicious (not to mention cheap) things you’ll ever eat in your life. If you’ve never tried them, get on it with this recipe.

Discovering a new food while traveling is reason enough to go back to a country someday. So, if you’ve traveled a lot, you have a lot of countries to visit in the near future.

2. You Experience Foods You Eat at Home in a New Way


Photo by Teodora Maftei

While discovering completely new foods in a foreign country is amazing, so is trying a food you’ve eaten many times before and finding a completely new flavor in it. Foods in other countries have so much more flavor than the American versions of them.

For example, mozzarella cheese in Italy has so much more flavor than the kind at your nearest grocery store. The taste and texture can be so different that it may seem like you are trying a new food for the first time.

3. A Country’s Food Tells You A Lot About Their Culture


Photo by Victor Illen

It’s so cool going to a different country and seeing how much you can tell about a culture and what they value purely based on their food. Take Costa Rica for example. The country’s motto is “pura vida” which means “pure life.” The country and its people truly embody that.

Their staple meal is a meal consisting of rice, sweet plantains, and your choice of either beef, chicken, or fish, all of which are very fresh. It’s such a simple meal because that’s what they as a country and culture represent: simplicity. Therefore, you can expect a lot of fresh fish and chicken, a lot of beautiful fresh fruit, rice, and not much else.

On the other hand if you look at France as a country, especially Paris, their staple foods are nice bread, fine cuts of meat, decadent desserts, expensive cheese, and beautiful wine (often the two are paired together).

They as a country tend to value the finer things in life – for them, it’s better to eat a small amount of something truly exquisite than a lot of a poorer-quality product. The Parisian aesthetic is elegance and class at every turn.

4. Food Brings People Together


Photo by Josephine Rozman

There’s nothing better than experiencing new food with others who are just as ecstatic about it as you are. Find a family member or a friend that shares the same love of food that you may have. You’ll bond over the amazing new foods you try, what you should try next, and what cool restaurants you should go to while traveling.

Food also helps you meet new people. It is always cool to strike up a conversation with a stranger at the table over about their dessert that looks just as good as the picture on the menu. You may make a new friend and try something new that you may never have thought to try.

5. You Gain New Flavors and Dishes to try at Home


Photo by Abagail Wang

Going to a new country and trying new dishes and experiencing new flavors means you get to come home with so many things to try in your own kitchen. Sure, it might not taste exactly like that pasta you had in Rome, but hey in the real world you can tell yourself it’s just as good, right?

One of the best parts of traveling and trying new things is to bring home that knowledge you didn’t have before to use it, so take advantage of it. The kitchen is a place where you can travel to any country without having to ever leave your house, so get cooking, friends.