- Mary Rogelstad
- November 19, 2021
Sometimes eating like the locals means lots of rice and beans, but that doesn’t mean students don’t have memorable tasting adventures during their Rustic travels. Here are some of the best programs for food-loving students who want to try something different:
Thailand is often listed in the top ten best countries for food. The Amazing Thailand program begins with a Thai cooking class where students learn to make several dishes from scratch.
Alumni have highlighted some of the best foods they have eaten in the nation. This includes:
- Mangoes – There are about 500 varieties of mangoes, so a mango in one country may not taste the same as one in another. Several students have listed Thai mangoes as their favorite.
- Fresh Star Fruit Juice – Carambola or star fruit grows in Southeast Asia. The whole fruit is edible and is sweet when ripe.
- Pad Thai – This stir-fried rice noodle dish is common in Thailand. It often includes ingredients such as chicken or tofu, peanuts, eggs and vegetables.
- Pad See Ew – Stir fry noodles that are fried with soy sauce are a staple in Thailand and are often mixed with meat, eggs or tofu.
Tingyuan Chen who traveled with the Amazing Thailand program in 2014 loves cooking and said the food during her program was a highlight.
“During the trip to Thailand, I had so much fun by tasting exotic cuisine and experiencing local Thai culture,” Chen said. “For me, the trip was all about being independent and open-minded.”
During this Moroccan program, most food is served family style except for a few spots where students select items off a menu. Since Morocco was a major stop on the African spice route, much of the food is quite flavorful.
Student favorites include:
- Tagine – This slow-cooked stew is named after the earthenware dish in which it is served. It can include a variety of ingredients including meat, fruit, spices and nuts.
- Couscous – This North African dish can be served on the side or topped with other foods to make it part of the main meal. It consists of small balls of crushed durum wheat semolina and is a staple in Morocco.
In addition to these favorites, students may enjoy hearty lentil soup and pastilla, which is a crispy crepe stuffed with chicken and spices and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Almost all Moroccan meals are served with bread, and when finished students may be able to wash down their feast with a steaming cup of sweet Moroccan mint tea.
Sun, Sand and International Service
All three Rustic programs in Fiji have wonderful food, but we’re highlighting Sun, Sand and International Service because it gives students the most time to try food made by the Eco-Lodge’s own resident chef.
During this program, students eat a combination of local Fijian dishes, along with more Western-style foods. Lunches and dinners may include traditional Fijian “lovo” feasts of chicken, cassava, which is nutty-flavored, starchy root vegetable or tuber, and another edible root called dalo.
Lovo feasts involve cooking food in large quantities to bring together communities. To make the food, meats and vegetables are wrapped in foil and banana leaves and placed on hot rocks lining a shallow pit dug into the ground.
In addition to this meal, a couple student favorites are:
- Babakau – It is sometimes considered a pancake and sometimes a donut, but regardless, babakau is generally made from a fried combination of flour, yeast, and lots of sugar.
- Fresh Fruit – Popular fruits include mango, guava, pineapple, passionfruit, and jackfruit.
- Smoothies – Putting that fruit to good use, Fiji locals make some world-class smoothies.
If you want to get ready for a taste adventure, prepare some international dishes before traveling. Our Global Table series has some great options to try and Rustic’s Youtube channel features the two videos below that showcase a couple of wonderful recipes. Enjoy!