There’s no doubt that one of the joys of travel is trying new foods. When we asked Rustic alumni on Instagram what their favorite food was when traveling, we got some enthusiastic and immediate responses. It’s not surprising a number of our alumni have a sweet tooth and listed some fruity choices. But many others choose savory delicacies. Here are some of the foods chosen as “the best” by our alumni:
Açaí bowls – These smoothie bowls are made with açaí berries and often are loaded with toppings. The berries grow on açaí palm trees, which are native to the Amazon rainforest, and may be enjoyed while traveling with Rustic to Peru or Ecuador. Unlike other berries, açaí have a large pit seed and a short shelf life, so they aren’t available fresh in supermarkets in other regions of the world. The berries are described as having a unique flavor that tastes like a cross between blackberries and unsweetened chocolate.
Arroz Con Leche in the Dominican Republic – This rice pudding is one of the most popular desserts in the Dominican Republic. The pudding often includes spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg for more flavor.
The Donuts in Fiji – While we don’t know what specific donuts the alum who mentioned this ate, babakau is popular in Fiji. 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.
Mangoes in Hawaii and Thailand & Fresh Fruit in Fiji – Three alumni would make their parents proud by declaring fruit as their favorite food while traveling. There are about 500 varieties of mangoes, so a mango in one country may not taste the same as one in another. This fruit is grown in subtropical and tropical climates. In Fiji, other popular fruits include guava, pineapple, passionfruit, and jackfruit.
Fresh Star Fruit Juice – Carambola or star fruit grows in Southeast Asia. The whole fruit is edible and is sweet when ripe. Its flavor can be hard to describe since it doesn’t have a good flavor match with other common fruits in the United States.
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.
Falafel – This is a traditional Middle Eastern food that is a deep fried ball or patty made with chickpeas and/or broad beans. Moroccan versions often include spices such as cumin and paprika.
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.
Tagine in Morocco – This food is named after the earthenware dish in which it is served. This slow-cooked stew can include a variety of ingredients including meat, fruit, spices and nuts.
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.
Yuca in Costa Rica – Yuca roots are similar in size and shape to a sweet potato and are a major staple in the developing world since they’re drought resistant and do not need rich soil. They have a mild, sweet and somewhat nutty taste.
Tostones in Costa Rica – These fried plantain slices are also eaten in several other countries, including the Dominican Republic.
Alpaca – Alpaca meat is a lean red meat with a very mild sweet flavor. It was once considered a delicacy by Andean inhabitants.
Momo – These steamed dumplings are native to Nepal and Tibet and are now eaten in a number of other Asian countries. Traditionally they were made with a ground/minced meat filling, but now sometimes other fillings are used.
Rice – A couple of people mentioned rice dishes as their favorites. We can only imagine how they were made to make them so delicious!
Food in Memorable Places
A few alumni mentioned memorable meals in memorable places. This includes:
A Punjabi restaurant meal in India during a Rustic Mystery Trip
A meal cooked in Morocco with Chaima’s (our country director’s) mom
Chicken tagine from a house in Zawiya Ahansa, Morocco
Hear from our student, self-proclaimed picky eater, Lucy Brada, about her culinary experiences in Peru:
For more ideas on foods to try, you can peruse some Rustic recipes in this Rustic Recipes Cookbook or view our Global Table blogs. Also in the comments below, feel free to share what your favorite foods were while traveling.