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Four Ways to Use Social Media to Eat Like a Local on Your Travels

20/10/2014 13:50 BST | Updated 15/12/2014 10:59 GMT

Eating like a local is one of the latest trends in travel-and for good reason.

Locals usually hold strong opinions about where the food is good and which places should be avoided, and whether you're looking for fine dining, classic local dishes or no-fuss street food, having some insider knowledge will ensure a more authentic dining experience.

But as a traveller, how do you find out where the locals eat?

In the old days, of course, you'd have been left with no other choice than to approach people directly for recommendations, and while this tactic certainly still works today, social media's impact on food culture throughout the world has made the task of acquiring insider knowledge a good deal easier.

Following are a few tips for harnessing the power of social media to eat like a local no matter where you go.

Use hash tags to your advantage

Platforms like Twitter and Instagram have become popular places to share food photos, and according to a 2013 survey, 90 new photos with the hash tag #FoodPorn are uploaded to Instagram every minute.

Among all those photos and food-related updates there are bound to be a few from the city you're travelling to, so by simply using the right combination of hash tags, you can often make some interesting discoveries.

For instance, if you were spending a weekend in London and wanted to get an idea of what the locals eat on an average afternoon, you could search for a combination of hash tags like #London, #Foodie, #FoodPorn or #ComfortFood, and would immediately be able to browse thousands of photos and tweets that fall into those categories.

Tweet before you leave

Before you head off on your adventure, tweet out a message to your followers asking for tips on where to eat in the city you'll be visiting. If you don't have a very large following yet, you can always use those hash tags again to get your query out to a wider audience.

Most people are eager to share their own experiences, tips and comments about the places they love to eat, and even more general comments like "You have to try the raw herring on market day" or "I love the Ukrainian Borsht Soup" will give you a better idea of what to expect and help you plan your food itinerary.

Follow local food bloggers

No matter where in the world you go, you can be sure that there will be food enthusiasts, and many of these foodies will have their own blogs that detail their dining experiences, give advice on where and what to eat, or share cooking tips and recipes.

All of this combined can give you a pretty good idea of what the local food culture is like, so do some digging to uncover food bloggers that cover the food scene at your intended destination.

Bigger cities like New York or Paris are positively brimming with food bloggers that cover every type of food and establishment imaginable, and while you'll probably have to do a little more digging to find bloggers who cover smaller cities or areas, it's definitely worth it to avoid the tourist traps and head straight for the good stuff.

There's an app for that

There are apps for just about everything these days, and travel eats are no exception. Many of the bigger review websites like Trip Advisor and Yelp have their own apps that make it super easy to find highly rated restaurants and eateries in just about any city.

Aside from these, there are plenty of other dedicated food and restaurant apps that can help you in your quest to eat like a local.

Foodspotting, for example, allows users to share photos and information about restaurants and dishes that they like, and also lets you discover dishes, foods and restaurants near you -- and there are many more like it.