One of the most exciting ways to experience another culture is through their food. Trust me, it is not always the easiest thing to do, especially with being a picky eater. Opening your palette to foods that look or sound weird can be hard, but traveling and trying everything has helped me to broaden my horizons, and it can do the same for you.
While backpacking for a month in Europe, I met a girl who asked me how she should get her meat cooked at dinner. I was surprised she didn’t know the way that she preferred her meat. However, she let me know that she was a vegetarian before her trip, but didn’t want to miss out on any of the culture, so she was breaking while exploring. You may not support this decision, but I find it very intriguing. If she was willing to eat anything to get the “full experience”, so could I.
I was able to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to food. I went in to it with the attitude that I would try anything, and that is exactly what I did. No matter what it was or how scary it looked, I jumped right in to give it a go. My meals in each country fully demonstrated the cultural fare for the area. I had shepherd’s pie in Ireland, octopus in Greece, veal in Italy, seafood paella in Spain, and I even tried snails in France. Honestly, I loved it all… minus the snails.
When I look back on my trip, the food is just as much in the forefront of my mind as the actual sightseeing and adventures. I was able to get a better understanding and appreciation of the culture, letting go of my fears of things that are different and embrace everything about the destination. This is one of the most important pieces of advice that I can give: be brave and get outside your comfort zone, especially when it comes to food.