Locals Spill Their Hometown Secrets

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7. London, U.K.: Fish & Chips

fish and chips london uk famous dish

Read: Dine with a View in London at Hutong or SushiSamba

Fish & Chips is the national dish in England and every visitor, who comes to England should try this tasty food. It is a large piece of white fish, usually cod, battered and deep fried, served with chips. Often they spray vinegar on top or they serve mushy peas on the side. It is a very popular take-away food in England. Usually canteens serve fish & chips on Fridays.

Fried fish was first introduced by the Spanish Jews, who came to England in the 17th century. They called it pescado frito at the time. The English quickly adopted this tasty dish and it became the favorite dish of the working class people by the 19th century.

First the fish was coated in flour and it was deep-fried, later it was also coated in beer or in soda as well as flour. The first Fish &Chips store was opened in London in 1860, that sold “fish fried in the Jewish fashion”. By 1910, there were 25,000 Fish & Chips shops around the country. Traditionally it was served in a wrapping of old newspapers.

The dish became so popular in the middle of the 19th century, that even Charles Dickens mentioned it in his book, Twist Oliver, which was published in 1838. Soon after Fish & Chips became England’s favorite, it has invaded Ireland, India, the United States and Indonesia as well.


8. Munich, Germany: Watch surfers at the English Garden

English Garden surf eisbach

Read: My Favourite Summer Spots in Munich

Munich’s a beautiful city and has so much to offer. And it’s a really active city, especially because it’s so close to the mountains and great lakes. But one active thing that Munich offers right in the heart of the city is something not a lot of cities (at least the ones without the ocean right there) has: A surfspot! And watching the surfers, that don’t care how cold the water (or the air) is, catch the one (natural) wave at the Eisbach at the English Garden is a unique thing you should definitely do when in Munich! And bring some time, because you might not want to leave.


9. Manchester, U.K.: Live music

As the origin of bands like Joy Division, The Smiths and Oasis, Manchester lives for music, and seeing live music should be at the top of the list for any visitor.

You’ll be spoilt for choice; during the day you’ll find talented buskers on the main shopping thoroughfare, Market Street. In the evening there’s a wide range of venues, whatever you’re into.

For big names on world tours, you’re likely to have tickets to the Arena, a purpose built stadium in the city centre. For the next tier down, look for dates at the Academy at Manchester University, the Apollo, or Manchester Central (an old railway station). In the summer look out for open-air gigs at Heaton Park or Old Trafford Cricket Ground, but remember that in Manchester, summer doesn’t always mean good weather!

For the real Manchester live music experience, seek out smaller bands and artists at venues like Albert Hall, an amazing old chapel hidden above Peter Street. Whitworth Street West used to be the home of Madchester club The Hacienda and bars like Gorilla keep the energy alive.

For new music, head to the Northern Quarter, where Manchester stalwarts Band On The Wall and Night and Day Café host local bands.

If classical is more your scene, Manchester has one of the best concert halls in the UK in the purpose-built Bridgewater Hall, and the brand new Stoller Hall at Cheetham’s School of Music. If you’re lucky enough to be in Manchester on Whit Friday (late May/June), take a train 30 minutes out of the city for the Saddleworth Band Contests – an international brass band competition described as the “greatest free show on Earth”.

With something for every taste, it’d be a crime to come to Manchester and not see live music.


10. Riga, Latvia: Riga Central Market

View of Riga Central Market hangars from above

Read: Why Visit Riga

When traveling to Riga, capital of Latvia, you shouldn’t miss Riga Central Market! As the name suggests it is a central market of Riga and it is the largest one as well.

It is located in the heart of Riga – close to Riga Old Town and near the banks of river Daugava.

Riga Central Market is one of the largest outdoor markets in Europe. The area of the market is 72300 square metres (778000 square feet). It was built in 1930, and five old German Zeppelin hangars were used to build the pavilions of the market. Now these five pavilions are five of nine World’s Zeppelin hangars, which still exist.

Riga Central Market is one of the best places for groceries in Riga. The products you can get here are fresh and affordable. Most of them come from the local farms and, in my opinion, taste much better than the ones you can get from the supermarket.

Another reason would be – to have a traditional Latvian meal. One of the best restaurants in Riga, offering traditional Latvian dishes, is Siļķītes un Dillītes (English: Herrings and Dills). And it’s located in Riga Central Market.

Even if you aren’t planning to buy anything, head there anyway, to get a glimpse of the amazing mix of Western and Eastern European cultures!


11. Marrakesh, Morocco: Tangia

Tangia-Urns marrakech morocco

When you visit Marrakesh you really need to try tangia. No, not tajine – this dish is something different.

Made in a clay pot that is shaped like an urn and slow cooked in the charcoal from the local furnace you’ll never experience something similar. The dish is native to the markets (souks) of Marrakesh where men would get together on Thursday to pool their money and someone would be in charge of collecting the ingredients; a bit of lamb, preserved lemon, garlic, saffron threads, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Then the pot would be taken to the coals to cook all night long. On Friday they would take the dish to a park to enjoy as a part of a picnic on their day off. Today the dish is prepared the same way but it’s enjoyed by just about everyone.

You need to try this when you’re in Marrakesh because that’s the only place you’ll find it in it’s authentic form!

Take a trip to the train station and you’ll see people getting onboard with large clay urns in their hands – tangia bound for other Moroccan cities! The shops that sell tangia are usually full of Moroccans from other places who must enjoy this dish when they come to visit.

Head to Mechoui alley at lunch time for the some of the best tangia or take a Marrakech food tour and taste it then!


12. Cork, Ireland: Kiss the Stone

Blarney-Castle-Cork kiss stone

Read: 17 Secret Things to Do in Cork

Cork is the second biggest city in Ireland, and the city is most famous for a kissing stone which is supposed to give you “the gift of the gab”. Legend has it that if you kiss this magical stone, which is located on top of one of Ireland’s most famous castles, you will never stop talking. My parents always said I kissed it one too many times when I was a child, which is why I can never keep my mouth shut these days! The Blarney Stone, and Blarney Castle, are definitely top places to visit in Cork – with people travelling up to 4 or 5 hours from other cities just to have the chance to kiss it!


13. Bucharest, Romania: Palace of the Parliament

The Palace of the Parliament is famous worldwide, so you cannot miss it while in Bucharest, capital of Romania.

It is the largest civilian building in the world, and the second largest one after the Pentagon. Built during Nicolae Ceausescu’s ruling, the building is emblematic for the communist period. Initially named House of the Republic, after the 1989 revolution, the building is known as People’s House.

The building is really impressive – the interior has really tall rooms, and opulence is seen everywhere. The Palace of the Parliament houses the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, three museums (the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Communist Totalitarianism, and the Museum of the Palace), and an international conference center.

If you visit the National Museum of Contemporary Art you’ll see that at the top floor there is a cafe with a terrace – you can go outside and get a view of the area.

Palace of the Parliament is lit at night, so if you visit Bucharest and have time, try to see it during the night as well.

As fun facts, it is said that Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy the building for US$1 billion, but his offer was refused (the building is evaluated at US$3.4 billion).

Another interesting thing is that under the building there are several tunnels – believed to be built so that Ceausescu could easily escape from here, if needed. The famous “Top Gear” BBC show presenters drove their sport cars through the tunnels (they filmed a show in Romania, when they also said that the Transfagarasan is the most beautiful road in the world).

While you won’t see the tunnels, the Palace of the Parliament can be visited – tours are available, but you have to book them in advance. The museums can be visited separately.


22 Replies to “Locals Spill Their Hometown Secrets”

  1. This is really well done. I’ve got plenty of tips to jot down!

    1. Hope it comes in handy! 🙂

  2. What a fun idea! No one knows a city better than locals 🙂 I’ve heard good things about the Sky Garden in London so it’s on my list for my next trip to the UK. Can’t wait to read more of these!

    1. Agreed! Be sure to find out these details from the locals! 🙂

  3. 1, 3 & 6 look the most interesting to me!

  4. When I was a member of Soho House I always wanted to check out Shoreditch House! It looked like such a cool area. I’ve been to London several times and always seem to have missed it!

    1. Oh no, then you definitely have to go there the next time you’re in London! 🙂

  5. What great information! Will be pinning for later – I want to go to all of these places!

    1. You have to go to each one of them! That’s a given 😛

  6. yes its so true a local person can make a place more interesting with the facts which only a local knows. great post…

    1. Definitely! 🙂

  7. This one is a very interesting article. Locals are the best source of information and you have just compiled amazing stuff here. Thanks for this post.

    1. Agreed! And you’re welcome 🙂

  8. I’ve always dreamt of traveling the world, Europe being top on my list.You had me at Milan (apperitifos), Hungary’s goulash and that yummy looking dirty ice cream from Manila!! the eclectic art described in shoredich London is so intriguing! I now want to visit Europe more than ever before!

    1. Hehe Europe is home to many great attractions so yes, do explore it all!

  9. Some great hidden secrets spilled right here on your article. Bucket list for every country. Some of the finest things I didn’t know about a place are mentioned here. A great compilation!

    1. Aw, thank you!

  10. I love the idea of insider’s guides to famous cities! Apertivo is honestly my favorite thing about Italian culture as well so its good to see that my opinions are in sync with that of a locals! Awesome article and love the instagram additions 😉

    1. Definitely! Hearing it from locals can be so much more insightful 🙂

    2. Thanks for the support, and yes! The best way to get to know a city is to see it through the eyes of a local 🙂

  11. I will be visiting London in just a few weeks. The Shoreditch neighbourhood sounds awesome! I will have to add it to the list!

    1. You got to see it and experience it! It’ll be really nice.

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