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How my Travels have Inspired how I Cook at Home

One of the best things about travelling the world is the chance to learn about fascinating new cultures and traditions.

While plenty of people love to focus on language, art, or craftsmanship, for foodies like me, this usually means learning about the local cuisine...and eating plenty of it, too!

Spices in a white bowl

Travel always provides opportunities to learn about new ingredients, new dishes, and new meals.

Sometimes it feels like every new country I visit, I come away with a new favourite flavour or ‘meal of a lifetime’, and (almost) all of my favourite restaurants are scattered far and wide across the globe.

However, the best thing about foodie travelling is the chance to learn new skills and techniques, new combinations of flavours, and new recipes to try out when you get home.

Travelling the world has had a significant impact on how I cook when I am back in the comfort of my own home, and the meals I make for myself and others when I’m not travelling are almost always inspired by my previous adventures.

Here are a few of the ways that my travels have inspired the way I cook at home.

Exploring new flavours

Travelling has broadened my palate in a way I never thought possible, particularly when it comes to flavour combinations.

Learning about new cooking techniques in the places I visit around the world inevitably results in putting two flavours together that seem to have nothing in common, yet somehow work wonders.

When I went climbing in the Italian Alps, I discovered the joy of cutting through the sweetness of Dulce de leche with a squeeze of lime juice, for example, or seeing how sweet mango salsa worked perfectly with blazing hot habaneros when I took a cruise from Tampa to Veracruz. 

I come home from every adventure with a new idea of how to combine flavours in unusual and delicious ways, and I love it!

Seeking out strange ingredients

Part of the joy of learning about new cuisines is discovering the weird and wonderful ingredients worth moving heaven and earth to locate when you are back in your home town.

From chapulines (grasshoppers) in Mexico to durian fruit in Thailand, foodie travelling introduces you to ingredients you would never have imagined using and forces you to go to great lengths to find them at home!

Durian fruit

I’ve ordered pejibaye from Costa Rica off the internet and tracked down tomatillos verdes in the farmers’ markets way across town.

Of course, there are a few ingredients I’ve never been able to track down, but that’s never stopped me from trying!

Using the right equipment

Every culture uses specific equipment and utensils to make their own delicacies, and it can be eye-opening to discover new, practical bits of kit that you can use to do all sorts of things in your own kitchen.

Before travelling to Mexico, for example, I’d never needed a tortilla press or a comal, but now my homemade quesadillas have levelled up!

Travelling is all about broadening the mind and learning new things. As a committed foodie, this means exploring new tastes and flavours and bringing a little slice of my adventures back into my kitchen when I return home.

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Jan