For most of us, food has a special place in our hearts. Often foods and the smells associated with them, can take us straight back to a certain time and place. We often associate different dishes with the different people that cooked them; grandma’s chicken dish, mum’s pork casserole, and the list goes on. Life as an expat often requires that your dietary requirements are somewhat altered. You may feel as though cereal for breakfast is a thing of the past and grandma’s chicken dish probably now impossible.
However, don’t fret! More often than not you will probably find that if you search hard enough you will be able to find similar substitutes so you can recreate home recipes abroad. Better still, if your friends and family back home are feeling generous, there is always the option of sending food parcels. There are various companies offering such a service, with a list of all the most popular snacks, sauces, drinks and lots more to choose from.
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Instead of shying away from foods where you can’t read the labels, or darting in the opposite direction to local markets, try to get to grips with the different foods on offer. It might be an idea to try and create a fusion of foods, mixing home recipes with some new, more exotic ingredients. Another idea would be to search for cooking classes so you can try and integrate yourself into your new culinary culture with the help of an experienced chef.
If you’re moving somewhere which prides itself on its spicy food then here are some tips for coping!
· - Start small and build it up
- - If you eat something that is overly spicy, have a glass of milk handy. Milk will more effectively relieve the burn on your tongue than water. The reason for this is that the burn is caused by a chemical called capsaicin in the spices. A chemical in milk, casein, disengages the capsaicin and allows it to be washed away. Water doesn't contain any casein, so it is not effective and will just spread the oils around.
· - Eat things that will absorb the capsaicin like bread or rice
· - The spiciest part of the chili is its veins and seeds so try to avoid if your heat tolerance is low.
Trying new cuisine can be very exciting but it is normal to miss home comforts. Mixing and matching home staples with new ingredients can be a great way to strike a balance between the two and ease you into your supermarket struggles. Good luck!