You Can't Miss These Cuisines While Traveling Abroad
Most of the people would agree with the thought that food is an important part of the journey, especially when one is traveling abroad. The cuisine of a place defines its culture - and you can't know much about a country until and unless you taste the food. The ingredients, the use of spices, the process of cooking etc varies from place to place, region to region. If you are a foodie who’s planning for a gap year adventure or setting out for a volunteering trip abroad, then make sure to have your bucket list ready! In this article, we shall take a look at the best dishes that these countries have to offer - and in case you are visiting any of these places, you just can't afford to miss savoring their authentic flavors.
Tom Yum Goong in Thailand
Your city must be having a popular Thai restaurant serving Tom Yum Goong, but it can never be as good as the one you'll get to taste in Thailand. As they say, Tom Yum Goong is the flavor that defines Thailand! With a blend of fragrant lemongrass, chili, galangal, lime leaves, shallots, lime juice and fish sauce, this classic soup has shrimps as the main ingredient. The hearty addition of coconut milk makes this soup much richer and creamier.
Undoubtedly, the authentic Tom Yum Goong that's served in Thailand, especially at the floating market and the street side shacks in Bangkok - is absolutely heavenly. If you are in Thailand for volunteering, you'll get ample chance to interact with the locals who can suggest you the best places to try this delicious soup.
Pho in Vietnam
There are some dishes that are nearly considered to be synonymous with a country and are entwined with the national identity in such a manner that visiting the land and not tasting the dish will make you feel incomplete. So, if you are visiting Vietnam, you must not skip a bowl a Pho! This traditional noodle soup is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - and it's an absolute favorite of the locals! (And you, too, can fall in love with this dish!) It's nothing but rice noodles in a clear broth that's garnished with chopped scallions, green herbs, and additional condiments such as segments of lime, chili, and garlic.
The meat added to Pho might vary from beef to lamb or chicken, depending on your preference. In different regions of Vietnam, you'll notice that the flavor of Pho varies slights. And with the popularity of the dish, new varieties of Pho can be found - like, Fried Pho, Sweet, and Sour Pho, Rolled Pho etc.
Samosa in India
Samosa can be considered as the 'National Street Food of India'! On a serious note, as visiting the Taj Mahal is mandatory during your trip to India, similarly, trying samosas is something that you shouldn't miss. With a coating of flour, mainly stuffed with potatoes and other veggies, and occasionally with meat, samosas are usually deep-fried snacks that are considered to be a perfect combo with tea.
This crispy and spicy snack is available almost at every corner of the Indian cities, with varying flavors and some additional local touch.
Fish Ambul Thiyal in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, the little island country in Asia is popular for its cuisine that has seafood as the main ingredient for almost every item. Fish Ambul Thiyal can be termed as the signature dish of Sinhalese Cuisine, and if you are volunteering at a village in Sri Lanka, you can get lucky to learn how this dish is prepared. Another interesting this to note is that this fish curry can last for a week at room temperature!
Cooked in a clay pot, the main ingredient is a specific variety of tamarind, called 'goraka', that gives this fish curry a unique sour taste to tantalize your taste buds. Apart from goraka, other spices are also added, along with grated coconut. This dish tastes best when consumed with Kiribati, a traditional Sri Lankan dish made from rice.
Paella in Spain
After Flamenco, Bull Fighting, Tomatina and Football - if anything comes to mind when we think of Spain, then it's nothing but the delicious aroma of Paella! It actually originated from the Valencia Region, but slowly became popular, not only in Spain but all across the world. Paella is a perfect one-dish meal, consisting of rice, fried potatoes, fried eggs, meatballs, and squids (or cuttlefish), cooked in seafood broth.
It is often characterized by the use of saffron, that adds a unique yellow color and flavors to it. Get a glass of wine and enjoy paella while traveling in Spain - and surely, you’ll get to try the most authentic flavors in Valencia!
Couscous in Morocco
Couscous is not just a delicious dish but a means of exploring the rich culture and tradition through the palate. Couscous is originally a Berber dish that became widely popular in Morocco and other parts of North Africa. The most basic version of the famous dish is the '7 vegetable couscous', but it has a hefty share of meat added to it!
The 7 vegetable couscous is made from semolina grains (granules of durum wheat), with 7 varieties of vegetables and meat, cooked in a super delicious and comforting broth. The process of cooking is slow, hence long and adequate time is given for the flavors to mix well. Before serving, caramelized onions are added on top. This heavenly dish is hard to be found elsewhere, other than Morocco!
Banku and Tilapia in Ghana
This delicious Ghanaian meal will not only satisfy your taste buds but also provide you with all the nutrition that is required by the body. It's the staple food of the locals, and if you opt for a homestay during your trip to this African country, then you'll get to try the best variety of this authentic meal. Banku is made from corn flour dough and cassava dough, to which water is added depending on the thickness you want.
Corn is an important source of carbohydrate and cassava contains the B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. Tilapia fish is marinated in lemon, garlic and onion paste, tomato paste, chili powder and turmeric. It is then grilled or baked and served with banku.
Nyama Choma in Kenya
Termed as 'The Pride of Kenyan Food', Nyama Choma is nothing less than a delight for meat lovers. It's available abundantly in Kenya, but the best Nyama Choma is served at the local butcheries in Nairobi. Roasted meat, usually lamb or beef, is sprinkled with salt and grilled over wood-fire and served with chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro, sometimes avocado and chillis.
With these greasy tasty bits of protein, you can try ugali (corn meal starch) or chips (French fries). It's a meal that you'll remember for a lifetime - the type of dish that builds memories and creates lasting impressions.
Gallo Pinto in Costa Rica
The traditional dish of Costa Rica, popularly known as Gallo Pinto, is made of rice and red beans. It's more popular as a breakfast dish, as the Costa Ricans love to begin their day with a hearty meal. Flavorful rice with red beans and aromatic vegetables are topped with eggs and served with choice of meat on the side. Usually, leftover rice from the previous dinner is used in making Gallo Pinto, and its flavor is derived from the adequate amount of cilantro that's added to the rice.
You can also have this for brunch or dinner at restaurants, but if you are volunteering in Costa Rica and staying with a local family, then you'll be lucky to start your day with this delicious meal.
Ceviche in Peru
Considered to be Peru's national dish, Ceviche is quite popular in the coastal regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. Fresh fish, which is the main ingredient of ceviche, is available in abundance. Raw fish is marinated in citrus juice for hours before it's slow cooked. It usually serves as a snack that can be enjoyed well with drinks. You'll be surprised to know that ceviche is so ingrained in the Peruvian culture that there’s even a national holiday dedicated to the dish!
And if one digs the historical evidence, then one can easily track that this dish was introduced by the Spaniards in Peru, when the former colonized the later. You can try the best ceviche in the coastal areas of Peru.
If this menu card is already making you drool and tickling your salivary glands, then you must know that it's time to pack your stuff and set out for a journey to binge on some delicious food!
Bon voyage et bon appetite!