As stated in About EYW, we believe that the typical foods and drinks of a place are absolutely essential to experiencing it, whether you’re in Mexico City or Detroit.
Besides offering a tangible glimpse at things like what and why and when locals eat, examining a culture’s gastronomy brings a traveler into contact with so many of those locals. Food is, after all, a topic everyone knows about, no matter where they’re from.
By identifying and celebrating the distinct foods of a region—which, in turn, celebrates and supports the local people and their culture—we hope to enrich readers’ travel experiences by encouraging them to seek out those foods for themselves.
Moreover, we find that eating a region’s native foods helps us to better understand and appreciate those foods, most notably the ones we might already be familiar with. It’s like meeting the parents of a good friend. Haven’t you ever wondered about the origins of the Buffalo wing?
We do a ton of pre-trip research, looking for a region’s typical foods and where we can find good representations of them. To generate ideas and create a list of foods and restaurants, we contact friends and family (and their friends) who live or hail from that region; we check out that area’s local food blogs and newspapers online; we ask local contacts on Twitter and Facebook; we skim through food forums like eGullet and Chowhound and sometimes regional guidebooks. However, we’re always willing to push the planning aside to pursue one really convincing recommendation from a perfect stranger in a local market, and inevitably we add to our list once we’ve arrived in a place and start noticing trends and talking to more people. It’s not a perfect science, and we’ll never claim to put forth an exhaustive list. In many cases, we hope to revisit regions and keep adding content in the future.
For us to identify a food as regional, it must meet one of the following criteria:
- It is native to that place, or concocted there.
- If not actually invented there, it is traditional to that place (i.e., historically eaten there, perhaps because the place was settled by immigrant group A two decades ago, or because a dish has long been served by a local institution so as to become a part of the area’s culinary landscape).
- It is locally grown, harvested, sourced, or crafted—what we call a locavore food/drink. For smaller cities, we will often feature one dish that highlights a bunch of locally sourced ingredients from a very locavore-centric restaurant. This allows us to showcase foods that are healthy, sustainable, and literally of that region’s earth. (For now we are not doing this for large cities in which the locavore options are too numerous to easily simplify this way.) This category also applies to area vineyards, breweries, and brewpubs.
A bit less scientifically put: When you think of City A, what foods/drinks do you (or should you) think of? And if you lived in City A, what would you tell visitors they had to eat while in town because it is so distinct to that area?
We look for places that are known to serve a good rendition of a particular dish. Note that we didn’t just say the “best” rendition! We’re not interested in objectifying something as inherently subjective as taste.
As mentioned earlier, however, we do also consider a restaurant by virtue of it being a local institution—one of those places that’s been around so long its food has become entwined with the city’s landscape. We think that makes its food distinct to that city, and onto our list it goes.
Please note that all of our research and selections are done independently. EYW never accepts payment of any kind from restaurants seeking to be highlighted on the site.
EYW never accepts money or free meals from restaurants in exchange for coverage. All content is based upon independent travel, research, and good old-fashioned hitting-the-pavement. We always pay our own way.
We do work with advertisers, but all ads are featured in obvious positions in right-hand columns throughout the site. Additionally, any paid/sponsored content elsewhere on the site will be clearly labeled as such. Interested parties should contact [email protected].
Finally, any contests that involve prizes for which we do not pay will feature the terms “sponsored by” or “courtesy of” in the promotional language.
No, we don’t. We shine the spotlight on certain foods and drinks, then tell you where you can find them.
Although it is impossible to guarantee the complete accuracy of every detail on this website at every moment—menus change, restaurants close, prices rise—we do take pains to fact-check regularly so that our information stays pretty up-to-date, and we constantly edit entries as needed to reflect any changes we become aware of. If you notice something that is inaccurate, please leave us a comment or contact us directly so that we may look into it.
Wherever you see the EYW snapshot symbol, we’re alerting you to brief—but still valuable—EYW information about that location. Usually we are highlighting two to five exceptional regional foods without going into full coverage, because we need to revisit the area to do that.
For most of our photos, we shoot RAW images with the Canon PowerShot G12, a great 10-megapixel, manual-capable point-and-shoot that’s easy to travel with, works well in low light, and takes very good 720p HD video (we also use the iPhone 4 and 4S for video).
Of course, and thanks for your interest!
- Shoot in RAW format if you have a program that lets you open these files. RAW allows you more options for fixing color and lighting issues. Photoshop CS5 will let you download a RAW converter for certain cameras. Click here to see what you’d need for your camera.
- When shooting inside, look for your light source. Try to sit by a bright window or near a bright light.
- Increase your ISO in dark locations, but try to avoid going as fast as 1600 unless you have no choice.
- Don’t use a flash unless you must, and in that case, see if you can power it down.
- If your camera has the option, use Macro mode. This will help in getting a definitive area of your subject in focus.
- Try to adjust your camera to the correct color temperature. Indoors, you will often use a florescent or tungsten setting; outdoors, sunny or cloudy.
- It’s better to shoot the photo horizontally, not vertically, for EYW.
- Hold steady! If you are using a slow shutter speed and don’t have a small tripod (like the Gorillapod), set the camera on a flat surface.
- Review the photo. Zoom in to ensure that an area is sharp. If it’s not, try again!
New York-based graphic designer Raluca Preda created the EYW logo.
Yes, with some caveats.
For the EYW Blog: At this time most guest blog entries are unpaid. No affiliate link requests, please—but we do offer links to personal websites/blogs in bylines, of course. We are looking for a few hungry food/travel writers to work with on a regular (paid) basis in the near future, and writing for the blog is how we’ll get to know you.
Our regular columns include: Trips (food-related stories, i.e., a quest for a local dish or narrative about tracking down a slew of local foods), Recipes From Afar (recipes of foods encountered while traveling, with backstory), Q&As (short interviews with local food producers around the world, like these), Origins (explorations of where certain foods come from), and Dish Spotlights (short tributes to one particularly quintessential dish from a destination). Pitches can be sent to [email protected].
For featured EYW food entries: Currently, we are seeking Asia-based writers—China is preferable—who know their local/traditional food scene inside and out to contribute new destination guides: well-researched entries for What to Eat, How to Burn It Off, Where to Stay, plus an introduction and high-quality photos. These are paid gigs, based on how many food entries are to be completed. Please contact [email protected] to introduce yourself and your work if you’re interested.
And as always, we encourage you to get involved by uploading your own regional-food photos and writing your favorite food-related memories. If you impress us with your own coverage, we may hire you to help with ours one day.
Pretty nice things! Check out our Press page for details.