Do you enjoy cooking on the road as much as you do at home? If the answer is a resounding YES then markets are your best friends. Whether a weekend away holed up in a house in the country or an epic adventure to a far-flung destination, food always comes into play. One of the bests ways to get to know the place you’re visiting is through food and taking part in the local food scene is not limited to restaurants and food stalls. While those should definitely be on your explore list so too should trying your hand using local ingredients.
So, you’re ready to get your hands dirty so to speak and not sure where to begin. Consider a local cooking class, where you will not only learn about local ingredients but get some hands on experience in working with them, from prep, to cooking, and of course eating. There might be some specialized techniques for certain dishes, like traditional hand pulled noodles or injera--an Ethiopian staple, a flatbread served with most dishes, or making spring rolls in Vietnam. Then you’re not just expanding your knowledge of ingredients and dishes but more importantly, techniques!
Another just as fun approach is to find the nearest market. It’s one of the first stops when I land in a new city/town. Markets tend to be the epicenter of the culture, with a bounty of fruits, vegetables and more ingredients than you can dream of, it’s a great way to test your cooking chops by working with new ingredients or spices.
In Cambodia, I couldn’t resit the new curries and ingredients. On a weekend trip to Kep, the pull of the nearby seafood market proved too strong to resist and we headed over to get fresh crabs, the ladies were quite generous and gave us more than we’d intended to buy. And after a hilarious encounter with prepping live crabs, a beautiful and delicious crab curry was made and served. With the idea of the curry from a friend who’d been meaning to try a recipe, we modified the dish with the ingredients available using a Cambodian curry paste and Sri Lankan curry powder. With elements both familiar and new, a tasty dish was quickly devoured.
Travel is the perfect opportunity to expand your culinary skills and markets provide the elements necessary to do so. Go to local markets, globally. Ask questions, even with a language barrier you’d be surprised how much can be communicated. Grab an ingredient or two and start your food adventure. Having a foundation in techniques will make navigating those waters less intimidating.
Let us know what your food adventures have been like on the road.
Looking to build your cooking foundation? Book Now and join us for our next cooking retreats that will arm you with the skills to enhance your cooking adventure.
See you in the kitchen!