A question that I asked quite often while traveling abroad was “where do I find local food?” I was surprised to see McDonalds, Burger King and Denny’s in many countries. They were always packed and most stayed open 24 hours daily. Before leaving home I decided that I would experience as much of each country’s culture including food as possible. In the Philippines, I asked the locals at the small hotel in which I stayed where I could get good local food, they took me to street vendors! Those street vendors had some of the best grilled chicken I have ever eaten! It was perfectly seasoned, moist and cheap, 150Pesos for an entire chicken!
During my travels, I discovered that staying in hostels, homestays, housesitting or Airbnb provided many opportunities to interact with the locals. In Kuala Lumpur each morning when I would go out, I’d see locals going down an alley. This was a puzzle to me and I wondered where they were going. So, I assumed they were going to work! I was staying at Back Home Backpackers and asked one of the staff “where can I go to get good local food,” she said, “I will take you tomorrow.”
Tomorrow could not come fast enough!
We left the hostel and had a lovely walk down the street, imagine my surprise when we turned into the alley! Getting to see where the locals went was super exciting, I could hardly contain myself! We came out into a larger alley with vendors making food on grills, tables and chairs under canvas stretched across the top. She took me to her favorite vendor and ordered our breakfast, food for the gods! The cost of breakfast 3MYR (Malaysian Ringgit)!
You might be wondering why a solo boomer woman traveling alone would go out with someone she didn’t know. I knew her from our interactions at the hostels and watching her with others. She was always pleasant, easy laughter and showed concern for everyone. In addition to that, one afternoon her daughter came to the hostel and she found me to introduce me to her.
Always be aware of your surroundings! Listen to your intuition wherever you are. Pay attention to what is being said and not said when talking with people. You will know whether it is safe or unsafe to be in their presence. If you’re walking down a street and it doesn’t “feel” right, turn around and go back. NEVER override your gut, that is the voice that keeps you safe.