Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Have you ever dreamed of watching the lanterns light up the sky in Thailand, going on a safari in Africa, or visiting the castles of Europe?
Whatever it may be, if you ever wished to get a taste of the world, you can do so from the comfort of where you are now. You may be wondering, how is that possible? I get it, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and it almost seems as if the world has indeed come to a halt. Flights have been significantly reduced, hotels are used for other purposes, and vacations are taken to stay home. In these unprecedented times, getting a taste of the world can start right from home.
It’s simple: start with your palate.
Just as different countries worldwide have various sights to offer and experiences, so does a cuisine. While food is a means of survival, it also has ties with cultures and differences. It is a way of experiencing a part of history, and it is a form of edible art.
When it comes to good food, many people associate it with healthy eating. However, I see it extending far beyond that. In many places, such as Morocco, families gather and eat from the same plate. This practice is a way for people to bond over the act of eating. It also creates emotion and brings comfort. Think about food from your childhood or one of the best meals you had. Often, that food may have a connection to a place, a person, or a point in time.
Another essential aspect to note is that food allows a person to use all five senses: gathering all the ingredients, listening to it sizzle, smelling the aroma, feasting your eyes on the sheer deliciousness, and finally tasting it.
Food is power in a way that it can heal, affect one’s mood and have an overall impact on how we feel. Knowing what food works best for you starts with being open to trying new things.
While you daydream about your next trip, why not take up a challenge to try a new cuisine? Access to recipes from any destination is a Google search away.
Depending on where you live, chances are, restaurants are offering authentic cuisine and bringing the world to your backyard. Some of our local favorites include Iraqi, Egyptian, Turkish, Moroccan, and Uyghur cuisines.
If you are restricted to ingredients, you can get creative and still get a taste of another country’s food. Last year, I reinvented the national dish of South Africa, Bobotie, and added a twist of Portuguese Piri Piri chicken to the dish to represent a fusion of countries (I have shared the recipe on my blog @ieattravelwrite.com). The dish landed among one of the winning entries for a competition held by one of my favorite restaurants.
I was born in Mauritius, lived in Malaysia for a while, and was raised in Canada. When I observe my eating patterns every day, I noticed that my habits tend to drive me away from the foods I was used to when I was a child.
Living in a diverse city like Toronto exposes me to thousands of restaurants offering world cuisines. Traveling worldwide has also allowed me to try all sorts of halal food. Wherever I travel, I always like to indulge in seafood the most as it is one of my favorites. A unique dish I came across is turtle meat in Mauritius.
To be able to travel around the world freely is what I miss the most before the virus. However, finding ways to navigate through has been a way for me to cope. Food tours have become a staple day trip activity. My family and I would pick a nearby city and get takeout from some of the restaurants there. We get one or two items from each place and share them so that everyone can enjoy them. This has become a fun and safe activity in the pandemic that promotes supporting local businesses and having new experiences.
On one of our most recent tours, we got dumplings from a Chinese restaurant, shawarma from a Middle Eastern restaurant, patties from a Jamaican restaurant, beef stew from a Somalian restaurant, and pastries from a French bakery. Rather than these stops being just a way for us to enjoy and taste the different foods, it has been a way of building excitement and bringing positivity in dark times.
While I genuinely believe that the food we eat has a significant impact on our lives and health overall, I believe that food is a luxury that we are blessed to have and that good food comes as a result of our view of it. Another example of food from around the world being used to shine a positive light is a fundraiser organized in my community.
People from different countries have a booth every year at the local masjid, where they showcase food from their culture. The food is sold, and the money made from the sales goes towards donations for the masjid. This is a way of bringing the community together while also embracing one’s differences and love for each other. Some of the pavilions include; Mauritius, Indonesia, Trinidad, Pakistan, among others.
The art of experiencing the world through good food comes from seeing food as a universal language.