A major component of enjoying a new culture is through food. Trying new dishes and even learning to prepare them as a take-home memory immerses you into the very fabric of the destination you visit, as the ultimate in local experience.
Sustainable Travel: You Eat Where Others Need Help
Did you know your choices in where you eat can elevate your whole experience because it can also help others? This is a very core of Sustainable Travel. First, by choosing a local eatery, you are investing in the local economy. Supporting local businesses is contributing to the community, which creates stability of culture and the economic opportunity to better lives within. That is no small thing. You can read about my personal experiences in this regard in Vietnam.
When you travel abroad, ask your travel advisor for ways to support the local economy. Or better yet: ask about ways you can help out disadvantaged populations! Here are some of my “eat with a purpose” suggestions for Asia.
Socially Responsible Food Experiences
Asia is known for its rich food culture. Wouldn’t it be great to know you are making a difference to the community and helping someone in need through your choices?
In Cambodia, Battamburg is known for its vibrant art scene and is home to a community of artists. Rising again after being destroyed by the Khmer Rouge regime, it is experiencing a renaissance. You can enjoy lunch at a social enterprise restaurant where the staff of locals is trained by a Michelin-star chef, and all proceeds go to support the Cambodian Children’s Trust.
In Chiang Rai, Thailand you can participate in the planting, growing and food preparation in an elephant sanctuary, instead of partaking in the inhumane elephant ride tourism. You can help feed the elephants and simply watch them in their natural environment. This is a wonderful opportunity for families!
Supporting local craftswomen raises the economy of their community and helps them provide better lives for their children. This is the essence of sustainable development. In Myanmar you can travel in eco-friendly style via electric scooter to meet inventive communities in small villages, industrious craftswomen and young aspiring chefs.
Bali is a bucket-list dream vacation destination, but you can make an impact in the lives of others by adding a lunch stop at a restaurant promoting Balinese cuisine and culture while working closely with the community and supporting local fishermen and farmers.
You can take a cooking class with a well-known local chef to introduce you to the cuisine in Laos. You would use traditional techniques in the fully immersive experience in the chef’s village home!
These, and many more socially responsible restaurants and experiences can be combined with others, such as a biking or sailing excursion, a hike or walk, an art tour, etc. for an exciting day of cultural adventure.
More than volunteerism, social enterprise helps and sustains a local community. Your choice on where to dine or how to build travel experiences and activities into your travel can create a world of good!
Thanks to my partner, ICS, for the help in creating this blog.
If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning in 2019, I’d love to help!
You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.