One of the best ways to really get to know a new culture is through the food, so it’s no wonder local food tours and dining experiences often top a traveler’s list of must-dos in a new city.
While a walking food tour of a local market or a dining experience at a renowned local restaurant is sure to introduce you to the local flavors, nothing beats the authentic experience of sharing a traditional home-cooked meal in a local’s home.
The only problem? It’s not always easy to find locals who will invite you over for dinner.
Luckily, peer-to-peer dining is taking off around the world, allowing travelers and hosts to meet and mingle over home-cooked meals prepared in the host’s home. It doesn’t get any more local than that!
If you’re looking for an in-home dining experience to enjoy on your next trip, these 10 peer-to-peer dining programs will connect you with a home-cooked meal anywhere in the world.
One of the best resources to kick off your hunt for local, in-home dining experiences around the world is MealSharing.com, which allows hosts from more than 450 cities around the world to open up their kitchens and dining rooms to hungry travelers. Hosts from around the world create listings for upcoming meals, and as a traveler, you can take your pick of brunch in New York City, tapas in Spain or vegan fare in London. Some meals are totally free to join, while others have what’s called a “chip-in fee” that helps hosts offset the cost of the meal. Users can also use the site to find local cooking classes, cocktail parties, potlucks and food tours.
New in town and looking for someone to eat with? Then check out the aptly named EatWith.com, which boasts an active community of foodies and travelers connecting over food in all its glorious forms. Rest assured that the food will be delightful, too: the site screens all potential hosts before they’re allowed to host meals, and only four percent of host applicants are accepted into the community. With hosts ranging from home cooks to Michelin-starred chefs, your stomach is sure to thank you for checking out a peer-to-peer dining experience on EatWith.com. Keep in mind you’ll have to pay to join one of these dining experiences, but the quality control makes it worth the price.
Encouraging users to “discover unique meals outside the restaurant,” Feastly is another great option for hungry travelers looking for home-cooked meals. Focused on “authentic food” around “big tables” with “good people,” Feastly is currently best suited for those traveling to major cities throughout the U.S. Check here for a great selection of locals in the U.S. hosting dinner parties that highlight their favorite ethnic cuisines.
Whether you want to roll up your sleeves and cook in the kitchen alongside the host or simply relax and enjoy a home-cooked meal, Cookening offers local, in-home dining experiences to suit your tastes. Currently, Cookening is a great resource for local dining experiences in major European cities.
Urban Adventures focuses on food as a means to explore the local culture, offering an assortment of food tours, cooking classes and other dining experiences. Sprinkled throughout Urban Adventures’ offerings are in-home dining experiences in cities like Delhi, Kochi, Istanbul and Krakow.
With Locals helps travelers connect with locals on all levels, whether it’s through tours, activities or shared meals. Travelers visiting Southeast Asia will find plenty of options for home-cooked meals in locales like Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Although Traveling Spoon is still in beta mode, this peer-to-peer dining program is one to keep your eye on. The site takes authentic local dining experiences to the next level by creating custom dining experiences hosted by local chefs and at-home cooks, all based on your interests and travel plans. Currently, Traveling Spoon focuses on peer-to-peer dining experiences throughout Asia.
Another great resource for authentic in-home dining in Southeast Asia is PlateCulture, which connects local foodies with travelers for an intimate taste of authentic local cuisine. Many dining experiences are less than $50 to join.
Another resource on the peer-to-peer dining scene is Bon Appetour, which connects hosts with travelers and foodies in major cities around the world. Cities in Europe, Asia, North America and South America are included in the site’s listings.
Book a Lokal
Foodies unite over at Book a Lokal, another peer-to-peer dining site where hosts can list shared dining experiences for guests to join. Meals are hosted at both restaurants and homes, so be sure to keep an eye out for those home-cooked meals while browsing the site.
(Main image: Didriks)