A new online platform called ‘Eat at a Local’s’ gives tourists an opportunity to do exactly what its name suggests – enjoy an authentic Portuguese meal at the house of a local resident.
Anyone can sign up on the platform as either a host or a guest. Hosts can be “anyone with the possibility of opening the doors of their home to tourists and offering them a unique gastronomic experience”, while guests can be anyone looking to enjoy a traditionally Portuguese gastronomic experience.
Launched this month by 33-year-old Joana Glória from Lagos, the platform already has 50 hosts in Portugal. Around 30% of them are located in the Algarve, mostly in the Lagos area.
The idea for the project followed Glória’s experience managing guesthouses.
“Guests would tell me that they felt they were missing an opportunity to have direct contact with locals and to enjoy authentic gastronomic experiences,” she told Barlavento newspaper.
She discussed the idea of starting the platform with a friend who told her that she had always wanted to own a house where she could cook for tourists.
“The next morning, I woke up early and got the motivation to create a platform where people like her who want to welcome tourists in their home could do so by signing up on a platform,” Glória told the newspaper.
Hosts should be “communicative and friendly people who can provide inclusive and intimate environments” to make sure guests feel at home, she said. They should also allow their guests to help cook the meals so that they can “take part of our culture”.
The platform is also encouraging hosts to prepare special menus for the holiday season so that holidaymakers in Portugal can enjoy a traditional festive meal during their stay.
‘Eat at a Local’s’ aims to cover all of Portugal by the end of its first year (including the Madeira and Azores archipelagos) and start expanding to Spain and other Mediterranean countries in the coming years.