1. Eat a big meal at lunch rather than at dinnertime. Food is often cheaper yet is still good quality. If you can find a set menu, then even better! For example, a Spanish ‘menu del dia’ often includes a starter, main, simple dessert and coffee for a reasonable price. It usually runs from ~noon to 4pm.
2. Go to a local market and make your own dish based on what’s in season and what the locals are buying. Ask the stall holders for recommendations!
3. Go to a market or a supermarket that has tastings. This way you can try for free a small bit of something you wouldn’t normally buy. Some market stalls will also give you tastes of their products if you look like you’re going to buy something e.g. cheese or olive stands.
4. Eat street food. This sometimes has a bad reputation but watch what the locals are doing and follow their lead. Even fast food stands can be rewarding – I got a great currywurst from a food truck in Munich for just €3.50 that was just as good, maybe even better, than any I could have found in a restaurant. Likewise a €1.50 pizza from the takeout counter of I Decumani, a popular restaurant in Naples was, while still freshly prepared, ready in a matter of minutes.
5. Use any natives or residents you come in contact with to your advantage. Ask them for tips for good, cheap restaurants and markets. Go out with them if you are couchsurfing or using AirBnB. Join up to apps like Eatwith, Withlocals or Bonappetour for the ultimate in local gastronomy!