Food is arguably one of the most important aspects of any travel experience. Not only is it a necessity, but the regional differences teach us more about a country and its people than any book or tour could ever hope to. It just makes sense then that there are a lot of travel related food apps on the market, but here are my favorite for both inspiration as well as practical use on the road.
Apps are listed in no particular order and any associated fees were current at time of publication.
1. Paris Food Markets
Since food is so important when we travel, I’m always looking for new food travel tips. That’s why when I discovered a food app for my favorite city, Paris, I couldn’t wait to try it out. This app allows to user to “live as a Parisian” navigating the various arrondissements and finding the freshest food available for a quick snack or to make your own French meal. Even if you aren’t interested in using this to do your grocery shopping, exploring Paris through its food stalls is an experience everyone should try at least once.
Cost – $2.99
2. Japanese Food Guide
I chanced upon this app by pure accident, but I’m so glad I did. The app solves a common problem, choosing the right dish while traveling. The app features dozens of dishes with full explanations. No more guessing and certainly no more mistakes need to be made with this app. Meals are searchable either by photo or name, hopefully making the app useful in any circumstance. I think it’s a brilliant idea, especially when traveling to places where you don’t speak the language or where translations may be few and far between. In addition to Japan, the author also has similar guides for: sushi, Thailand, Spain and France.
Cost – $0.99
3. InterContinental Kitchen Cookbook
I’m always surprised by InterContinental, although by now you’d think I’d be used to their excellence when it comes to app design and execution. Following up on their incredibly well done and immensely popular World Concierge iPad app, InterContinental just released this app highlighting their best food from around the world. While the app is limited to just 20 locations at the moment, I’m sure this will expand over time. For each location, the user is presented with an iconic dish as prepared by the InterContinental chef in that city. From seared redfish in New Orleans to Gai Sauce Makharm in Bangkok, these are some great meals. More than just culinary eye candy, recipes are included so you can live the experience at home, although finding Argentinean venison in DC may be a challenge. This is a fun app that highlights InterContinental’s commitment to service and producing quality cuisine in a fun and informative way.
Cost – Free
Food trucks are all the rage at the moment, and I hope they’ll survive the initial novelty factor. Gone are the days of the Roach Coach with dubious looking hot dogs, these food trucks are high end destinations for even the most discerning foodie. I’ve looked at a lot of food truck apps, and I’m most pleased with this one. Far from a comprehensive national or even world listing, it still includes more than twenty cities, including my hometown of Washington, DC. The app does a couple of things. First, it includes a comprehensive listing of all food trucks in the selected city, including scheduled stops and recent tweets. But, and this is the best part, it also offers a real time map showing where all of the food trucks are at the moment. Gone are the days of guesswork, luck and Twitter following, this app does all of that for you. Now if I could just find the Big Cheese Truck.
Cost – Free
I actually use this app a lot for finding restaurants at home, but it really proves its worth on the road. Finding a good place to eat is a constant problem and I have wasted many hours wandering new cities desperate to find a good, non-generic meal. With Urbanspoon, you set your area and then search using a cool, slot machine like tool for restaurants. You can either be completely open to neighborhood, price and style of cuisine, or you can search using some or all of these criteria. I especially like the app because it’s not only focused on major, metropolitan areas, I can find things in the far flung suburbs or the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t always find exactly what I am looking for, but it serves as some great inspiration and basic information when I’m searching for some food.
Cost – Free