Travel with taste at local ethnic restaurants offering fare from around the world. Do not think only of pad Thai, or burritos, but of the culture and place in which the wider menu first took root. You could do this in your hometown, taking a tour one week after another, to a different destination: the Mexican joint, the sushi bar, or the Chinese take-out. Or make a point of seeking something out when on the road, such as Chiangmai Thai Restaurant, in Portsmouth, N.H. (128 Penhallow St., 603-433-1289, www.chiangmaiportsmouth.com); Restaurante Taco Mex in East Boston (65 Maverick Square, 617-569-2838, www.tacomexboston.com); Amanouz Café (44 Main St., Northampton, 413-585-9128, www.amanouz.com), for flavors of the Mediterranean; or Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant (176 Temple St., New Haven, 203-789-1232, lalibelarestaurant.ejmart.com). Ask questions of the servers: favorite dishes, and why? Get the story behind Yater Fittit, dried peas slowly cooked with garlic in the Ethiopian tradition, or behind the sweet plantain, pork rind, and grilled steak, typical of Colombia, served at Taco Mex. You might hear from the owner Luis Vasco about his native Colombia and the Paso Fino horses he loves. Or visit the website put together by Chiangmai Thai owners Ron and Petchara Pradit. There you will find links to a tourism site for the mountainous northern region of Thailand, food for thought for another kind of journey.