THE BLOG

A Middle East Delivery for the Lazy Eco Traveler

04/23/2014 04:36 pm ET | Updated Jun 23, 2014

I've spent years in the Middle East and I've seen the pattern time and time again. Even in exotic locations tourists fall into the same old traps in cities. I've been one of those tourists in the past -- going to the ridiculous sheesha pipe cafes that locals would never dare set foot in. Or the bars that American tourists cling to while looking for a burger and chips from home.

I've even ended up in a belly dancing trap on a double date with a gal pal and two very local Turkish guys from a village.

After many years I now know how to avoid some traps. Not all, but some.

When I move around this planet I try my best to find the best local food. I am not talking about haute cuisine, but the best of local food customs, whether it's the best tabouleh in Amman. Or the best spread of Turkish salads in Istanbul.

The truth is, if you are just passing through the Middle East, and don't have the local apps or attention span to follow reviews online, it's hard to find great local food to sink your teeth into. That is unless you are brave enough to try the couchsurfing of eating, EatWith. The best way of course is to get out on your feet and linger. Walk around and follow your nose. But what if you've been on your feet all day and just feel like ordering delivery into your hostel or hotel at local prices?

One handy way I've found for eating around the Middle East is through delivery or take-away services that list and collect the favorite restaurants of expats and long-term tourists -- in English.

Consider that the super hip Al Dayaa Shwarma does delivery in Amman. As does Aroos Bahr in Jeddah, or the wonderful Lebanese sandwich place Orfali in Beirut. Find them all online delivering through one reliable space.

The somewhat new curated delivery service also covers the crappy fast-food and burger usually found in the Middle East and global village. Avoid those traps, please. But searching through delivery sites popping up you can find some surprising gems. After you've foraged through the local delivery options, you'll have lots of energy to get off the couch and get outside to explore. If you're lucky some locals will invite you to eat right inside their homes.