12 More Things I Learned from a Year (Eating) Abroad

After my first year in China, I wrote about 12 things I’ve learned from living abroad. Here are 12 (tastier) things that I learned while eating my way around the world.

Hot Pot!

1. Food always tastes better when it’s on a stick.

Always. It’s obviously a law of nature. Pineapple on a stick. Tofu on a stick. Deep fried vegetables on a stick. Doesn’t matter what it is. It will instantly taste better when you are eating it off of a stick.

2. Sometimes you just need to buy peanut butter.

I feel guilty about buying peanut butter. It is expensive. And I should be experiencing traditional Chinese dishes. But every once in a while you just need a piece of home.

3. Never underestimate the power of a rice cooker.

Seriously. These things are magical. I don’t always have access to a kitchen, but I have gotten very creative with my rice cooker. You can make SO MANY things with a rice cooker!

4. Just eat the street food

Get your vaccinations, remember to pack the anti-diarrheal meds, wash your hands, but don’t be too afraid to try the street food.

Cambodia

5. You have never had tofu until you have been to China.

So. Delicious. Tofu in any other country just isn’t the same.

6. Don’t let one bad experience hold you back.

I tried papaya once and instantly hated it, vowing to never let it pass through my lips again. And then I found myself in India where I decided to give it another try. I was instantly converted and it has become one of my favorite fruits. Bottom line: sometimes you just need to try things more than once before judging too harshly. Don’t be afraid to give second chances.

7. Chopsticks are more useful than you may realize.

I’ve certainly come a long way since first awkwardly fumbling around with chopsticks and slippery noodles. I’ve really grown to appreciate how useful they can be. Sometimes a fork just won’t cut it (pun intended =D ).

8. But sometimes you also just need to eat with your hands.

Or specifically your right hand in many countries. It just tastes better that way. (Also see # 1)

9. Never underestimate the magical powers of garlic soup.

While I was trekking in Nepal, I experienced horrible altitude sickness. My excruciating headache and nausea were so paralyzing that I started to fear I would be medically evacuated. A little Diamox and some garlic soup and I was a brand new person the next day.

10. Sometimes bananas are red and oranges are green.

Life is strange. Just go with it.

11. Food still has calories in other countries.

It is possibly to eat well, be healthy, and enjoy traveling. But if you are eating too much and not moving around enough, it is also very possible to gain weight.

 

China

12. Dumplings taste so much better when you make them yourself

Kind of like how fresh, garden tomatoes that you grow yourself are so much more flavorful than any tomato you could ever buy in a store.

Jiaozi

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