Road Trip Food At Its Best

One of my favorite parts of going on a road trip is the food. I’m a firm believer that food is one of the most accurate representations of a region’s local culture. Fortunately for me, I live in the Midwest, where road trips are common and the off-road restaurants usually have delicious food that fills you up without costing a fortune. However, many of my friends, who are less adventurous than I am, often fall into the typical trap of sustaining themselves on greasy fast food and vending machine foods because they don’t want to eat somewhere that they’ve never read a Yelp review about.

Yes, finding a good diner can be hit-or-miss and you may very well end up at a less than stellar restaurant, but eventually you’ll find one gem that will make you forget about all those duds. Whether you are on a budget or just hesitant to try a restaurant you’ve never heard of, traveling on the road doesn’t mean you have to live off of fast-food and chips. With a little exploration, creativity and spontaneity, you too can eat well on the road.

Fortunately, my culinary hero, Alton Brown, has written a book, Feasting on Asphalt, about the adventures of road food. He gave an interview to National Geographic Adventure Magazine about how to eat well on the road, here are a few of his tips:

  1. Eat BBQ – According to Brown, barbeque can’t be frozen, canned or vacuum stretched so it’s more likely to be fresh and cooked by someone with experience.
  2. Stay off the expressway – Generally pit stops right off the expressway are usually filled with fast food chains and gas stations. According to Brown, authentic diners are usually in the northeast because way back when, these establishments were easier to ship supplies to than those in the Midwest.
  3. Befriend a stranger – Recently there has been a big push in the culinary scene for communal tables and communal eating. So next time you are on a road trip, Brown recommends eating with strangers. While this idea may sound strange to you, consider the advantages, you may hear some interesting stories and even make a few new friends on your trip.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask – Instead of sticking to your usually routine of chocolate chip pancakes and bacon; ask your server and the diners around you what they would recommend. Be adventurous and you’ll never know what you will discover!
  5. BYOC (Bring Your Own Condiments) – If you are a foodie like me, Brown suggests bringing your own condiments like kosher salt, peppercorn and your favorite kind of hot sauce. This way, you can spice up your meal, just in case it comes out bland.