Many of us prepare the same rotation of meals week-after-week and order the same menu item from the same restaurant. When was the last time you tried an entirely new food?
At best, it can be an opportunity to find a new regular and at worst can help you to appreciate your old favorites. When living in Asia, I had the fortune and necessity to try lots of delicious and unidentifiable foods. If you ask what you are eating and are told, there is no English translation; you probably don’t want to know. The Mexican buffet in India was an obvious mistake as were the eggs scrambled with what seemed to be worms – they happened to be very tasty and the Chinese waiter assured me they were “small fish” – my fever broke after only five weeks.
Why are small fish more palatable than worms? Reframing questions and being open to new experiences leads to creativity. In Hong Kong on each trip to the market, I would buy at least one new ingredient – then Google the name to figure out how it could be used. Some of the foods I adopted can’t be easily found in the US but here are some less exotic ones that can:
Pomelo kind of like a grape fruit but not as sour, great in salads with feta/lime/peanuts
Miso Paste – for sauces.
Edamame beans in shells – steamed with a shake of salt.
Daikon radish – shredded raw or boiled for turnip cakes.
Kaffir lime leaves – For Thai food – Remove leaves before serving.
Rooibos – Caffeine free tea from South Africa.
Try a new restaurant, and new menu item, or a pick up a new ingredient in the international aisle of your local market. What is the most unusual food that you like?