If you want to sample local flavours when you travel, this new service can help you track authentic cuisine
In 2011, two graduate students met at a university event in the US and instantly connected over a shared love — “travelling off the eaten path”. And thus, Aashi Vel and Stephanie Lawrence — decided to put their common interest to good use and started The Traveling Spoon (TTS). A website that helps travellers find local families willing to host them for a homely meal of the authentic cuisine of the region.
“We realised that both of us were passionate about food. And that’s when the idea for the site came up,” says Aashi, who had been travelling around Mexico before she met Stephanie. The local Mexican food Vel had on the trip inspired her to share her experience with others. “We started with offering these local food experiences to our Facebook friends,” she says, adding, “Then we launched a pilot programme in December 2012 and sold a few local meals to some of our classmates,” says Aashi.
“For now, we’re personally whetting the host applicants,” says Lawrence, adding, “We have a checklist of things, which covers aspects like safety and hygiene that they should pass in order to be able to host travellers.” On a trip to India last year, Vel managed to sign nearly 40 host families who will offer food experiences to guests from across the globe.
In addition to the meals, the service aims at offering other experiences such as cooking demos and market visits too. The services will be priced depending on the
programme and more details will be put up on the website.