A traveller’s diet

Eating is definitely one of the greatest things about travelling. Although, I have to admit, that I am a little picky when it comes to food. I can try new things – no problem – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I like them (and that I want to eat them again). When we were travelling in India for about 2 months, I ate pretty much only dal with roti/naan bread. Like every day. And I continued the tradition when we went to Nepal after India. Dal bhat every single day. (Dal = lentils, bhat = boiled rice)Ā But hey, they say, that nepalese don’t feel complete if they haven’t eaten dal bhat during the day.

Having my daily dose of dal and bhat in Nepal

I usually find couple of things that I like and eat them a lot. At some point I was eating chicken with ginger all the time when I was in Thailand. Then I found out that I like tom yum soup. So that was my next move. After that Markus made me try pad krapow (chicken with bird’s eye chili & thai basil leaves) – so then it became my new favourite.

Chow mein & deep fried momos / deep fried momos & steamed momos in Nepal

I suggest is that you try everything at least once. If you don’t like it, then don’t eat it anymore. If you like it, lucky you – you’ve found a new favourite! And I think that not everyone needs to like everything. We do have our own favourite foods back home too.

Markus eating thali in India / Breakfast in Malaysia

Some people don’t like to try new foods or eat local food when abroad because they are afraid of getting a food poisoning or parasites. I’m afraid of those too, but that’s why I usually eat only fresh local food and avoid those buffets and restaurants serving shrimp coctails. This, of course, depends a little where you are travelling!

When we were travelling in India and Nepal we also pretty much skipped the meat due to hygiene reasons. For example in Nepal the power was out for most of the day so meats probably weren’t stored in a very cold fridges. Of course after getting used to the local bacteria you’ll be OK with eating all kind of stuff but I rather avoid getting any suspicious stomach aches.

Trying bullfrog in Malaysia – it was pretty good actually

Curry Mee in Penang, Malaysia

Sometimes I do end up eating foreign food when abroad. I mean, for example, we ate a lot of indian food when we were in Penang, Malaysia. But that was mostly because there was so many great indian restaurants in Little India of Penang. Some travellers say that you should only eat the local food – thai food in Thailand, chinese food in China, finnish food in Finland – but personally I think that is just stupid. For example we don’t have any ramen restaurants in Finland (or at least I’ve not heard of them), so when I was in Berlin, I went straight to eat ramen. My friend recommended this great restaurant and I was not disappointed! I don’t think that because I was in Germany, I should only eat sauerkraut and sausages.

Noodle stuff in Penang

Hummus in Jordan – absolutely delicious

No need to know arabian to understand this sign!

This some might consider weird or stupid, but I always need to try the “local” McDonalds when I’m travelling. I know, the fast food tastes the same all around the world but still – I just need to go there and check it out. The menus are usually a little different and serve burgers suitable for locals taste – in India they had McMaharaja, Jordan had McArab.

Great korean restaurant in Pokhara, Nepal

Few tips for getting the best culinary experience when travelling:

1. Eat street food – it’s usually fresh, because customers are coming and going. If there’s a line, it’s probably good.

2. Peel your own fruits! Especially in a little lower hygiene countries such as India some vendors sprinkle tap water over their fruits to make them look more fresh which creates a potential risk of getting a nasty bacteria. This rule also applies to all kind of salads. Be careful with those, in some places they might be washed with tap water (I guess this happened to me when I couldn’t resist a feta salad when in India.. and next night I woke up with a terrible food poisoning and had to visit a local hospital)

3. Try, try and try! Don’t be afraid to try. Try everyting at least once. Or even consider trying. Or try some if everything is too much. Ask recommendations from the locals.

4. It’s OK to eat western food too. Especially if you are travelling longer, at some point you probably will get bored with all the local foods. Have a pasta or pizza for a change!

Are you trying all the foods or are you more picky? What are your best food tips for travelling?

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7 thoughts on “A traveller’s diet

  1. Sam says:

    I loved reading this post! I thought I was quite adventurous when it came to food – but then I saw that you tried bullfrog and suddenly my overseas eating adventures pale in comparison. I spent a year living in Thailand, which really got me out of my comfort zone food-wise (and life wise). I agree with your point about eating street food – so much fresher than that of a dingy restaurant. The only time I got sick in Thailand from food (and this was violently ill) was at the fancy mall in Bangkok, at a Mexican chain store. Outrageous!

    • Anne says:

      I’m glad you liked it Sam! :)

      Haha, you should definitely try bullfrog! I would say it tastes just like chicken!

      I have to say that it’s usually the not-local foods that can make you sick. That’s why I try avoiding them. Sometimes I can’t resist, even though I know eating a sandwich (that has been standing at the counter for who knows how long) with plenty of mayo is not probably a good idea.. And then I will suffer the consequences!

  2. The Global Recipe Project at crowdedearthkitchen.com is seeking authentic recipes from Malaysia. I hope you will consider participating! :)

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