Whether you are traveling or at home and looking for a new experience, look to MealSharing.com for incredible company and some great home-cooked meals.2013-03-16 21.12.06

Operating in over 450 cities already, MealSharing.com connects people all over the world and you should be next! Especially with Thanksgiving coming up, think about joining another family for a meal with Meal Sharing’s second annual ThanksSharing event!

Have you ever traveled to a new place and wanted to really immerse yourself in the culture? Well, let us introduce MealSharing.com as the best way to find and meet locals wherever you are. This incredible company, founded by Jay Savsani, connects people all over the world and brings them together over delicious, home-cooked meals.

Savsani came up with the idea for MealSharing.com when he was “backpacking in Cambodia and had a moment” when he wanted to really get in touch with the community and “go where the locals go.” After much thought, the solution dawned on him. He thought, “Well, where do the locals eat?” and suddenly, “it was so blindingly simple, they eat in their homes. If we go inside the homes, there’s not a question of the authenticity or realness.” So, in “a moment of inspiration,” Savsani ran to ask the hotel manager where he could find a home-cooked meal. Instead of being taken aback, as Savsani predicted the manager would respond, the man “lit up” and soon “people were fighting to have [Savsani] over for a meal.”

After finding a good place, Savsani and his cousin drove an hour into the countryside to meet with “Mr. Pon, his wife, and two kids” and, as he put it, “had a wide range of conversations and fantastic food, real, honest home-cooking – and even ate on the floor!” From this incredible experience, MealSharing.com was born. Savsani had worked in technology and website design for years and thought, “let’s make a website that makes it easier to have that same magic I had in the lobby [with the hotel manager] through technology.” He “wanted to perfectly recreate the Cambodia experience in design” and “tried to make it internationally friendly.” After several design changes and years of work, Mealsharing.com now presides as one of the best international social networks and has an incredibly devoted community of Meal Sharers.

meal sharingIn terms of the overall goal of MealSharing.com, Savsani explained, “Our whole mission is to point to anywhere on the map and be welcomed to a home-cooked meal” – just like that first Meal Share Savsani had with Mr. Pom and his family in Cambodia.

When asked who Savsani hopes uses MealSharing.com, he said, “Anyone! We’re going for people that care about the importance of home-cooking as a liaison to community building or cultural exchange; people care about the food that they are eating… it’s kind of that alliance with what millennials are doing with AirBnB… I don’t personally feel like a lot of people get the same experience when they go to a mall or chain restaurant – it’s MealSharing.com to go around the world… the unique part of MealSharing.com is that no one Meal Sharer is the same…each experience is naturally different and new.” Understandably, the response to the website has been incredibly positive and the company only continues to grow with that feedback pushing them forward.

With MealSharing.com in over 450 cities worldwide already, Savsani only hopes to keep going and says that the “goal is just growth and how do we keep finding people in communities around the world who care about opening up their homes and opening up their tables.” But, so far, finding new Meal Sharers and guests who want to share meals has not been a problem. Savsani “gets an email a day” to thank him or enthusiastically say how they have “never really cooked” but now use MealSharing.com all the time.

Whether you are looking for a meal in your own city or are traveling and hoping to find a place to eat, MealSharing.com can help. The beautiful website is effortless and simple to use. “If you’re looking for a meal, you type in the city, in your own city or when you’re traveling, and you can sift through various meals going on.” You even have the ability to request meals that have already been done by simply “reach[ing] out to the host and say[ing] something like, ‘I’m going to be in town next weekend, could you reactivate that meal?’” The communities are wonderful and supportive. A common concern, when welcoming others into your home or entering a home for the first time, is safety, but MealSharing.com provides extensive measures to ensure that everyone feels secure.

Similar to AirBnB, MealSharing.com uses “two-way review systems, phone number identification, Facebook connect,” among other procedures, to help all users feel safe. Much like a Yelp review, Meal Sharers have bios, which include reviews from past guests, who typically praise the Sharers with phrases along the lines of, “They make the best enchiladas and they’re hilarious!” MealSharing.com connects people, of all different backgrounds, who would most likely have never met, and provides a comfortable, safe community in which everyone can get to know each other over great food.

When asked about his favorite MealSharing.com experience, Savsani enthusiastically replied, “I’ve Meal Shared in Paris and London, but there was a “series” that really resonated with me…The team and I had a moment of inspiration: let’s go out and live it, let’s go figure out what MealSharing.com is… We were working on the road and only ate through MealSharing.com. We went across the US and Meal Shared in DC with two people, Ruby and Jamal…and got a slice of DC with home-cooked meals…[from there] we went to New York, Raleigh, and Cleveland…and traveled for a month. It was a really warm, connective feeling knowing I can go across the United States and be welcomed into a home-cooked meal.” His next idea is to backpack through Europe because he “knows it’s possible.” Many cities, including DC, can make anyone feel isolated at times, but MealSharing.com can restore your faith in the good-naturedness of your community and importance of a home-cooked meal.

The next big event for MealSharing.com is their second annual ThanksSharing! Whether you are traveling over the holidays or want a meal in your hometown, look to MealSharing.com this Thanksgiving for a great, home-cooked meal and a wonderfully fun and new experience. Feel free to bring a gift or your own dish, too! And, if you would like to host for ThanksSharing, you can sign up on MealSharing.com and also help raise money for local food banks!

In a world where most of us feel as if we don’t have the time to cook or enjoy a decent conversation anymore, MealSharing.com helps us refocus on what is important – friends and food. What could be more valuable than having fascinating conversations with people from other cultures over a home-cooked meal? So, go check out Mealsharing.com as soon as you can!