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Studying abroad stimulates the mind, body and soul — and one of the best ways to encourage stimulation is trying new foods. If you’re a fellow foodie who adores the culinary arts, eating foreign dishes straight from the source will be right up your alley. Plan on studying abroad soon? Here are 10 foods to enrich and influence your travels.
1. Sunday Roast – United Kingdom
Sunday roast is a popular dish for the English — and it’s sure to make you feel right at home. As the name suggests, this dish is a big meal usually eaten on Sundays and shared with company. If you wish you could eat Thanksgiving dinner at any time of the year, Sunday roast is the next best thing.
This dish usually includes Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, meat and gravy. If your study abroad program features a homestay, you might have the treat of trying a homemade roast. If not, swing by a local pub — most will have Sunday roast on the menu.
2. Gnocchi – Italy
Gnocchi are small, plump dumplings made from potatoes, wheat flour and eggs. Some recipes use semolina and cheese as well. Many regions of Italy have their own take on cooking traditional Italian dishes, so even if you try gnocchi in one place, it’s bound to taste different in another. If you have time in your itinerary, check out multiple regions and try their gnocchi — the more variety in flavor, the better!
Vino complements savory Italian dishes, so try it with meat gnocchi and savor the authentic cultural foray.
3. Tempura – Japan
Numerous Japanese restaurants serve tempura — pieces of fried seafood and vegetables — as a side dish or a meal on its own. The seafood includes prawns and shrimp, and the vegetables range from sweet potato to eggplant. Whether you try these alone or as a side is up to you, but their crisp texture provides an excellent contrast to a bowl of udon noodles. Chefs also prepare tempura in restaurants dedicated solely to this dish — but if you’re trying to save money, a cheaper dining experience is best.
4. Soup Dumplings – China
Soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao, look much like regular steamed Chinese dumplings, except they contain a unique surprise — soup! This hallmark of Shanghainese cuisine arrives at your table piping hot in steamer baskets. You can dip them in sauces consisting of ginger and vinegar or plum. This treat is so delicious, you’ll want to inhale every last dumpling — but they’ll be very hot, so take your time!
5. Lentil Soup – Greece
Lentil soup, or Fakes Soupa in Greek, is a popular Greek dish known for being nutritious and vegan-friendly. The soup has a simple ingredient list — lentils, red wine vinegar, garlic and bay leaves. Try a variety with tomatoes or celery for extra flavor! This soup is comfort food you can eat in the fall and winter months when you need warming from the inside out.
High in protein, iron and fiber, lentil soup is terrific for health-conscious individuals and food-lovers alike. Eat it with a side of dipping bread for a change in flavor.
6. Crêpes – France
Want some familiarity before trying more unfamiliar food? Savor some crêpes! Crêpes are a staple of France, and they come in so many flavors and styles. Cooks create these thin pancakes from buckwheat flour and fold in sugary chocolate and fresh fruits. If you’re not much of a dessert person, don’t worry — there are savory options. Try ham, egg and cheese or ratatouille. Crêpes offer something for everyone!
7. Chickpea Curry – India
Chickpea curry, known alternately as Chole or Chana Masala, is a vegetarian-friendly Indian dish made from white chickpeas and masala seasonings. If you adore dishes with a kick, you have to taste this signature spicy food at least once! Indian people often make it with ginger, onion, green chilies, and turmeric — the seasoning that gives it that distinct curry color.
People serve chickpea curry for occasions like weddings or birthdays, but it won’t be hard to find at any Indian restaurant you visit. Chole goes well with potatoes, roti or yogurt.
8. Tortilla Española – Spain
The Tortilla Española, also known as the Spanish omelette, is simple to make and even simpler to eat and enjoy. The only ingredients are potato, egg and onions — though some recipes add extras like tomatoes or meat. You can find this dish at most Spanish restaurants, and you can eat it either hot or cold. If the thought of eating cold eggs doesn’t sway you, try the hot variety first.
Wash down this dish with a glass of sangria to bring out the experience of an authentic Spanish meal!
9. Irish Stew – Ireland
Irish people consider Irish stew a comfort food, although its origins are dark.
Irish people made it with mutton in the past, but now you’re more likely to find Irish stew with lamb or beef instead. Other essential ingredients include potatoes, onions and occasionally carrots — depending on who you ask. Herbs like thyme, bay leaves and parsley bring out the flavor of this stew, and barley or roux make it even heartier. The barely and roux thicken the soup base and provide additional substance. You’ll never find a thin Irish stew, so make sure you’re prepared for a hearty meal.
10. Schweineschnitzel – Germany
You’ve probably heard of Austrian Wienerschnitzel before, but Schweineschnitzel is the Germans’ take on this meat. Austrians only make it with veal, whereas Germans make Schweineschnitzel with pork or chicken. They tenderize the meat into a flat shape and coat it with eggs, flour and breadcrumbs. Some varieties eliminate the breadcrumbs and use flour, whereas others call for sprinkling the breadcrumbs on top after cooking.
Germans serve Schweineschnitzel either plain out of the fryer or with a slathering of bell pepper sauce or mushroom gravy. Try it with a side of fries or Spätzle pasta!
Fill Up Your Plate!
Hungry yet? Don’t be shy about indulging in unfamiliar foods in foreign places. When you dig in, you’ll discover flavors and scents that’ll make you reluctant to return home!
Alyssa Abel is a passionate freelance writer with a focus on student life. Keep up with more study abroad insights on her blog, Syllabusy, and follow her on Twitter @alyssaabelblog.
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