This cool new website connects travelers with local home cooks for unforgettable meals.
A growing number of travellers are striving for authenticity in their experiences. There is a desire to connect with locals, to experience the ‘real’ thing instead of a superficial, touristic version of an exotic destination.
That is the mission of the Traveling Spoon, a new website that uses food as a cultural link between locals and visitors and advertises itself as a way to “travel off the eaten path.” Founded by two young women, Aashi Vel and Steph Lawrence, who bonded in business school over a mutual love of food and travel, the website was founded in order to build a sense of community among food lovers and travelers from all parts of the world.If you happen to be in Asia – the website offers hosts in 35 cities throughout India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, or Sri Lanka – you can sign up via the Traveling Spoon for one of the following options: (1) a home-cooked meal in a local home, (2) a cooking lesson and meal, or (3) a market shopping trip plus cooking class and meal. The length of time spent with a host could be anywhere from 1.5 to 6 hours, and the cost varies from $20 to $170 USD, depending on what you sign up for.
All hosts have been personally visited and vetted by the Traveling Spoon team, and they also guarantee that all photos on the website were taken of real meals made by their hosts – no stock photos. In other words, you get exactly what you see.
I love the idea of using food as a cultural connector. As I’ve written before on TreeHugger, making and sharing a meal together may seem like simple act, but I believe it can have a long-lasting and positive ripple effect on intercultural relationships – something that’s desperately needed in today’s world.