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English for Travelling

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  1. At The Airport
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  2. Arriving
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  3. Staying At A Hotel
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  4. Staying At AirBnB Accommodation
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  5. Talking To Locals
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  6. Sightseeing
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  7. Taking Care Of The Essentials
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  8. Food and Drink
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  9. Pubs
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  10. Safety Tips
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Lesson 8, Topic 3

Exploring Street Food Markets

Gemma November 20, 2019
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You’ve managed to locate a street food market or accidentally discovered one. Lucky you!

Street food markets are full of life, flavour and local food. They’re a great place to see and taste the best food from the local area. Most of the ingredients at food markets are locally sourced and traditional food is popular. You’ll also discover that street food markets are diverse places with more than just the local specialities on offer. For example, you may see a stall with local cheeses, another stall selling their signature blend of coffee, and another stall serving Indian curry to hungry shoppers. Each street food market is completely different with its unique variety of stalls to see and food to try. One thing is always the same though: the food is freshly prepared in front of you.

Street food markets are incredibly popular because the food is fast, fresh and delicious! Due to their popularity, street food markets can be incredibly busy places. That’s why the phrase ‘excuse me!’ is one of the most important phrases to know!

Due to the fact that street food markets are all different, it’s difficult to know exactly what vocabulary you will need. The good news is, if you need any help or recommendations, you can use the same phrases you learned in the first part of this lesson, ‘Eating At Restaurants’.

For example, maybe there’s one particular stall serving food that all looks delicious. How do you choose? You can use these phrases to ask the person at the stall for advice…and they should look familiar:

‘It all looks so delicious! What would you recommend?’

‘Which one do you think I should try?’

‘Which one is your bestseller?’

‘Which one is the most popular?’

‘Are the ingredients locally sourced?’

‘Which one is the most traditional?’

Here’s an example of these questions in action:

Dialogue 1:

A: Good afternoon. What can I get for you?

B: It all looks so delicious! What would you recommend?

A: Hmmm…our venison burger is our bestseller, but our Angus beef burger is also popular.

B: Which one is the most traditional?

A: Both the venison and the beef are from Scotland, but if you want something traditional I would recommend the haggis burger!

B: I haven’t seen a haggis burger before, so I’ll try that.

Maybe you’ve noticed someone eating something that looks wonderful and you want to try it. Don’t be shy! You can ask them what it is and where they got it from. Here are some useful phrases to get the information you need:

‘That looks delicious! Where did you get it from?’

‘That smells incredible! What is it?’

‘That looks so good! Would you recommend it?’

Here’s how you can politely approach a stranger and ask for their advice at a street food market.

Dialogue 2:

A: Excuse me? That looks so good! What is it?

B: It’s seafood paella.

A: Ah! Would you recommend it?

B: Yes, it’s absolutely delicious!

A: Fantastic! Where did you get it from?

B: That stall over there. They have different kinds of paella but I think this is the best one.

A: Thank you!

Usually, people are flattered that their opinion is valued and they’ll happily answer your questions.

The vendors at street food markets are very proud about their food and where their ingredients come from. If good-quality ingredients are important to you, there are some particular words you should look out for when you’re at a street food market.

Authentic/Genuine – real

Traditional food – food made in a traditional way

Family-run – the business is owned by a family. These businesses are usually small and trustworthy.

Unique – there is nothing else like it.

Locally-sourced – the ingredients come from somewhere local. This is good for the environment and the local economy.

A general rule of thumb is: if you see any of the above words, it’s a good thing!

Now you’re ready to explore some street food markets. Let’s go!