Forks and Jets

The true story of a couple or amateur foodie travelogues going around the world


Our 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

December 6, 2009 China, Peru, Spain


Brian from No Debt World Travel nominated us to share three travel secrets in the Trip Base blog tag. We’re picking 3 places where a ready-to-eat food adventure is just waiting for you.

1. The entire city of Granada, Spain

If you like beer and eating (… then we should be friends) you’ll like Granada. At 90% of the restaurants you’ll get a free tapa (mini plate of something tasty) with your drink. We’re not sure of the “official rules,” but a beer, cocktail and even sometimes a coke comes with this tasty reward. Round two features a new, different tapa and so on to infinity, apparently.

If you like the look of a place, go pop in for a thirst-quencher and give their samples a spin, each place is serving up something unique. We found slices of assorted cured meats at one bar, and two-bite portions of stewed veggies in another. If you don’t like it, you’re not down any more than the price of your drink. Hell, make an evening of it — but learn from our mistake and get a glass of water with every beer! The best place to start is the The Albayzín District where lots of tapas locales stand door-to-door: Boabdil and Bodega Castañeda both have great atmosphere.

2. Barranco District. Lima, Peru

Everyone seems to hate Lima. And Lima hasn’t quite figured out that its incessant push of tourists into the Miraflores district is what’s making that happen. Do yourself a favor and check into Barranco Backpackers or The Point and escape the traffic and crush of tourism ground zero. Barranco is a small, romantic and quiet district poised on high cliffs overlooking the ocean. A more bohemian nightlife subtly offers options from high-priced swank to smokey dives.

Canta Rana

Start your morning with ceviche at el Muelle — it opens early to serve up its fresh haul of local seafood (Limeños don’t eat ceviche after lunch). Work up a hunger and for a late meal find the homey Canta Rana (another A+ spot for ceviche). Their dishes are very generous, more than enough for two to share. Seafood Tacu Tacu is the ultimate comfort food: refried beans and rice are combined into a pancake, cooked together and covered with a delicious seafood sauce. Try the Chicha Morada here, if you haven’t yet.

Bodega Bar Juanito

You’ll find the perfect ending to any day at Bodega Bar Juanito. This neighborhood institution draws the whole gamut of crowds for it’s cheap beers and awe-inspiring Jamon Norte sandwiches. 

3. Ghost Street (Gui Jie). Beijing, China

Shockingly omitted from every guidebook we checked is Beijing’s epic answer to hunger pangs. Under a canopy of red lanterns, over 200 restaurants (many 24 hour) line busy Dongzhimen Street. The atmosphere alone will whet your appetite — noise, laughter and shouting show you a carefree side of Beijingers you won’t easily find.

Gui Jie

Cover the 1.4 mile stretch and pick the busiest establishment: you’ll see the flavors of many provinces represented here. Inside, the bustle is the perfect cover for taking a peek at what everyone is eating. Most come to each establishment for a particular dish — if you can spot it, that’s what you want to try. When you’re stuffed and happy, you’ll get another surprise: the bill is 1/3 of what you’ll find in the city center. Beijing may go to bed early — a perfect excuse to go hang out with the ghosts.


Now, it’s our turn to tag 5 bloggers who’ve surely got some good stuff up their sleeves:


  1. Katie, Sorene says:
    December 6, 2009

    Superb secrets and great pics, thanks for sharing!


  2. Legal Nomads says:
    December 7, 2009

    THANK YOU for mentioning Beijing’s Ghost Street. I stayed with friends near the Drum Tower and we would bike here often and eat to our heart’s content. So delicious…..


    • Team Rees says:
      December 30, 2009

      We are honestly floored that it’s not in any guidebooks — for the first time it’s a secret I don’t mind sharing, even with Lonely Planet! There more than enough places to go around with over 200 restaurants!


  3. Audrey says:
    December 7, 2009

    I couldn’t agree with you more about Barranco! Most travelers we meet either disliked Lima or skipped it completely because other people told them the city sucked. They all stayed in Miraflores – boring and full of chain restaurants. Barranco’s food scene was a lot of fun and so reasonably priced for the quality – we also loved El Muelle (tiradito was our favorite) and found a super rich chocloate cake for $0.75 from a Chinese grocer on Avenida Grau. Very good memories.


    • Team Rees says:
      December 30, 2009

      So glad you found Barranco as well. Had we not met up with a family friend in Lima who gave us the lowdown on the city’s districts we would have been stuck hating life in Miraflores as well. Barranco had the perfect atmosphere for us, a we didn’t even have to share it with that many other visitors!


  4. Melinda says:
    January 5, 2010

    Hi !
    I’ve been following your blog for a few months (since you posted it in a LJ community) and it’s great! I just saw this post and wanted to share a website that I found to be AMAZING while I was living in Hamburg, Germany the last four months:

    It’s amazing, but I’m not sure it will be too helpful now that you’ve left Europe. 😉 next time!


    • Team Rees says:
      January 13, 2010

      Thanks for finding us! I’ve checked out that site — how useful! I hope things like this become more and more popular with travelers in lieu of guidebooks!


  5. Todd says:
    February 28, 2012

    Lauren and I are getting ready for our trip to Peru. We’ll be staying in Barranco while in Lima. Thanks for the suggestions for the ever important question of ‘Where to eat?’!


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