Fast Food for a Taste of Culture
When you’re far away from home, sometimes all you want is your mother’s home cooking or a good McDonald’s cheeseburger. Food is part of who we are; it comforts us. Food is also ingrained in our culture. Partaking in the local foods means taking in the literature that you have traveled so far to enjoy.
Home Sweet Home?
Pretend you’re in Nanjing, China experiencing a culture so different from your own when suddenly you are faced with a dilemma: should you enjoy the local Chinese cuisine, or scurry across the street to the McDonald’s or the Pizza Hut? You might be surprised to find sushi flavored Lays potato chips, pork McNuggets and, at least in my experience, less than desirable pizza. Your little taste of home may not taste like the home you are used to at all.
Why not take this opportunity to taste things that you have never felt before? It will help make you more comfortable with your surroundings and those around you more comfortable with you.
Stay away from the bland and the ordinary. If you are in China, don’t live on bowls of rice. Don’t be afraid, and don’t judge what those around you eat. Consider for a moment what Americans consume in bologna and hot dogs. Try the steamed dumplings. Try the duck blood soup. If it hasn’t killed the locals, it won’t kill you.
Even though you should try other foods, you should do it safely. Because you may not be familiar with the foods you are eating, you will want to speak with your translator or someone who speaks English if you have food allergies. You should even learn how to ask for no peanuts, shellfish, etc. in the language you are in to ensure your safety.
E-Medicine.Com recommends avoiding raw meats, raw leafy vegetables, seafood, unpeeled fruits, and unpasteurized dairy products. Also, avoid drinking tap water. A great deal of this is because your immune system is not used to the germs and parasites that exist in other countries, not because foods in other nations is “dirty.”
Standing Your Ground
Don’t be afraid to ask. If you are a vegetarian, you can stay away from meat dishes. In China, for example, vegetarian meals are favorite and good!
In conclusion, be safe and firm, but don’t be afraid to try new things and expand your pallet.