Tips for Cooking a Local Meal in a Hostel Kitchen

Written By: Catherine Wills

There is one part of travel that everyone partakes in – and loves! This is, of course, eating. Exploring new foods and trying unique local cuisines is often a highlight of visiting new countries and places. If you’ve been traveling recently, at some point you probably turned to your travel buddy and said ‘oh my goodness, that was delicious. Let’s get some more!’

It is the backpackers’ dream to eat out for every meal and try every single delicacy on offer. But the backpackers’ budget does not always align with this dream. This is no reason to despair, for even on a tight budget you can still enjoy local food in all its glory.

The beauty of staying at a hostel is that there is a communal kitchen on offer. Many people may have the initial reaction that hostel kitchens are unclean, noisy and unhygienic. These can act as deterrents to cooking in a hostel, but they certainly shouldn’t. This is totally untrue about hostel kitchens. They are, in fact, cleaned to a restaurant standard to meet health and safety regulations, and are incredibly fun and social to cook in.

So while you’re staying in a hostel in an exotic destination and immersing yourself in a whole new culture, this is the perfect opportunity to test your cooking skills. Try these handy tips to see how much of a master-chef you can become during your travels!

Walk around and smell the air! Every time you pass street food markets or restaurants, inhale deeply and absorb the beautiful aromas of the local cuisine.

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Have a look at restaurant menus (even if you don’t eat there) and see what kind of meals the area is well-known for.

Head to the local supermarket. The wonderful thing about traveling is that food items that seem mysterious and unattainable back home are local and cheap in supermarkets abroad. So an Indian supermarket will be stocked with some flavor spices, you’ll easily find top quality cheese for cheap in France, and a supermarket in China will have more varieties of rice than you can imagine.

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Look up some recipes to get a feel for the ingredients that are most commonly used and the different cooking methods.

Ask some locals about what their favorite meals are and how they like to cook. You’ll pick up some genuine knowledge about how to cook locally by doing this! Also, asking experienced travelers at the hostel if they’ve got any advice is a great way to socialize and gain some new knowledge.


The main thing to do when cooking in a hostel is to experiment and have fun! You might just surprise yourself at how delicious a meal you can cook using authentic flavors and ingredients!