Experiencing the food wherever you're traveling is an essential part of understanding the culture of the country you're in. A great way to taste all types of food while abroad is to walk through a market. Conversing with vendors, markets are also ideal for getting to know locals and helping your language study too. Most cities have morning markets filled with small stations serving up delicious street food and fresh produce. We'll help you navigate the seemingly overwhelming number of choices to leave you satiated and not break your bank. 

1. Don't nibble at the first bait you see

potato, sweet, chicken, sweet potato
Walker Foehl

Treat this like shopping for clothes - you're not going to buy the first thing you see without seeing what else is in the store. The beginnings of a market can cause a sense of overload. But don't fill up too fast, you don't want to be full from a soft pretzel that turned out to be mediocre when there is an award winning taco truck down the alley

#SpoonTip: Take photos of stands you like during your first walk through or, even better, ask for a sample before buying.

2. Overview in under 20

Walker Foehl

It's important to look around, but don't spend thirty minutes at each stand. Get an idea of the food that's offered, and make your way to the next. Otherwise you will end up missing an entire day of sightseeing.

3. This decision is not life or death

fish, dairy product, vegetable, cheese
Walker Foehl

...even though when you're hungry it might seem like it is. Try and remember that you're entire existence is not based off whether or not you got the pulled pork poutine or the gluten free veggie burger. To avoid this stress, get many different snack-size items. Also, go with your gut. If that grass fed burger is calling your name, GET IT.

4. Get different things than your friends

cheese, salmon, spinach
Walker Foehl

Don't let that one friend who "doesn't care about food" just order what you're ordering. Encourage everyone in the group to try something different or even something they wouldn't normally gravitate towards (those are often the best). My now favorite fruit was something I randomly tried in a street market in Taipei, Taiwan. I cannot imagine my life without the odd looking white fruit with big blacks seeds called "Buddha's Head." Another plus of getting different things is that you can all take bites and even trade if someone ends up liking something more.

5. Engage with the vendors

shrimp, vegetable, seafood, chicken, meat
Walker Foehl

These are some of the most interesting people you will meet while abroad. Most have been selling and making their product for many years. Ask them about how they started selling or what traditions and customs are behind the food. Food culture is essential to understanding a city. In addition, if you are there for the semester, it is always nice to have a familiar face to see while you buy your favorite treat.

6. Go for the samples

candy, sweet
Walker Foehl

Abroad can be an expensive endeavor. Samples are a great way to fill up without spending a thing. I know you may feel bad sampling at all the vendors but for the most part they are more than happy for you to try their product.

7. Wait in the lines (for the most part)

sweet, strawberry, banana, candy
Walker Foehl

A large line in a street market generally means that s*&$ is good. If you have the time and the persistence you will almost never be disappointed. Read the reviews of the market online as well. Notable and popular stands usually have customer reviews. Some things in life are certainly worth waiting for. Have you met many disappointed people AFTER they waited in the line at Dominique Ansel's and enjoyed their cronut.