Now that the fall semester is in full swing, many students are starting to research the possibility of studying abroad. Foodies always factor in the potential food adventures before making a final decision.
Add these must-try foods to your foodie bucket list:
1. China - Peking Duck
A specialty of Beijing, Peking duck is a dish that has been treasured for over 600 years. To prepare this delicacy, the skin of the duck is brushed with sugary syrup before being popped into the oven to produce a savory and mildly sweet concoction. The result is a smoky cut of meat with a flaky, crispy skin that is served with bean sauce, thinly-sliced spring onions and cucumbers, wrapped in a thin rice pancake.
2. Japan – Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki is savory pancake that contains a bold mash-up of flavors and textures. Though its ingredients vary by region, okonomiyaki can contain seafood, meat, cabbage, green onion, cheese, squid, and octopus, and is cooked in a thick batter over a piping hot stove. Okonomiyaki is then drizzled with a sweet okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and topped with seaweed flakes, bonito flakes, and sliced pickled ginger.
3. France - Pot au Feu
Literally translated to “pot on the fire”, this dish evolved from the famous 17th century pot pourri. It is a meat and vegetable stew traditionally garnished with sea salt, horseradish, cornichons, and served with mustard on the side. Pot au Feu is typically eaten in the fall or winter.
4. Germany - Sauerbraten
Sauerbraten is a sour-tasting dish made by soaking meat in a marinade of vinegar, spices, red wine, onions, and carrots for up to 5 days! The meat (usually beef, but can also be mutton, pork, horse, or venison) is then roasted in a piping hot oven and plated with gravy on the side.
5. Spain - Paella
This beloved entree is made by cooking medium grain rice in a broth of meats, seafood, beans, and vegetables (the ingredients vary by region) in a wide and shallow pan, which incorporates the flavors of the ingredients. Saffron, a particularly important spice in this dish, is used in traditional paella recipes to both enhance the flavor of the dish and give the rice its distinctive yellow color.
6. Russia - Beef Stroganoff
This delicacy was named after a 19th century count, Pavel Stroganoff (or, Stroganov) and features beef simmered in water, sour cream, and mushrooms. It is traditionally served with potatoes, although the American “take” on this dish is often served with egg noodles.
7. Australia - Meat Pie
Australians take their meat pie seriously - in fact, the Australia Food Standard mandates that at least 25% of the meat in a meat pie be “meat flesh”, which includes skeletal muscle, connective tissue, nerves, and even blood vessels of the animal. This easily accessible meat pie can be found at convenience stores, restaurants, and bakeries, and can contain a mash-up of various meats topped with a hearty dollop of tomato sauce.
8. South Africa - Bobotie (photo/Bli)
Bobotie is baked meat topped with egg custard and is served with yellow rice. Though Bobotie may sound plain, it actually co-mingles sweet, spicy, and salty flavorings with the recipe incorporating raisins, ginger, curry powder, salt, and ground beef. Bobotie also reflects South Africa’s unique history—the capital, Cape Town, was founded by the Dutch East India Company and the use of curry powder reflects its trading ties with Malaysia.
9. Peru - Ceviche (photo/cyclonebill)
Ceviche is a mix of fish, citrus juice (lime or lemon), and seasonings, like cilantro, chili peppers, and onions. It is served with corn and avocado, to enhance the dish’s brilliant flavor. What’s cool about ceviche is that the fish is not cooked by heat—it’s actually the citrus that “cooks” the raw fish. The acidity of the citrus denatures the proteins in the fish, causing the raw fish to become firm.
10. Mexico - Mole Poblano (photo/foodista)
Mole is a sauce made by grinding or blending together onions, tomatoes, multiple kinds of chili peppers, seeds, raisins, and other ingredients. Its long history and time-consuming preparation (a typical mole recipe carries upward of 15 ingredients!) makes it a prime dish for celebrations and important occasions. Yes, you can find mole in a jar. But why not try the real thing?
Esther Chen is a fourth year student studying clinical nutrition with a minor in writing at University of California, Davis. She hopes to complete a dietetic internship and become a registered dietitian.