When was the last time you tried food from a foreign country? Maybe it was at an international food festival, or your favourite restaurant that specialises in authentic cuisine?
In a recent survey, six out of ten adults said that they prefer more adventurous cuisine to typical and traditional British meals.
Small plates of Spanish tapas, chopsticks for your Chinese chow mien, a platter of Greek meze or a saucy Spaghetti Bolognese all the way from Italy to name a few dishes that are popular here in the UK.
What types of foreign food are the most popular in your country? Are there any which you would like to try cooking yourself?
Learning a new language goes hand in hand with learning about a new culture, their customs, and of course their cuisine. By following online recipes and getting creative in the kitchen, we can taste international flavours from anywhere that we are in the world, but if we are also hungry to learn about the culture of a country, we may have to invest in a plane ticket.
Let’s have a look in more detail at some delicious & digestible ways that you can learn about food in foreign countries.
1. Make conversation with people at food festivals
If you’re the sort of person who loves trying new foods but wants to be social at the same time, you could research some international food festivals that are going on in your local area, or different country, then make plans to visit them. Have a scroll through these suggestions over on CNN Travel.
Here are Lingora’s three ‘Ts’ to remember as you’re savouring the flavours from the stalls:
• Talk to people: If you’re curious about any of the cuisine, why not ask the person running the stand more about it?
• Taking notes: Carry a pocket-sized notepad and a pen with you and if you like the taste of a meal that you’ve tried, jot it down.
• Taking pictures: Sometimes the food looks so yummy, you simply must take a quick pic of it. This can be a good way to remember labelled-up food if you’re in a hurry. Besides, you need to show your dish off on Instagram later!
2. Have a look at some foreign menus online
If you’re seriously thinking about saving up to visit another country to practise your speaking and listening skills, why don’t you have a look online at some menus in your target language?
Here are 3 steps to follow if you want to learn new vocabulary and terms for food from the menus in foreign countries:
1. Find a restaurant online in the country you want to visit - Type in restaurants in Spain or China and hit search, or if you’re looking for a place that sells a specific type of food, make sure you include this. For example, you could type in ‘tapas restaurants in Spain’
2. Compare and translate the dishes into your first language – You could do this by using Google translate or by searching the term in Google and having a look at different sites or images
3. Create your own menu-style dictionary or poster – Why don’t you buy yourself a journal or a packet of A3 paper, and create a tasty collage or diagram of the food items that you’ve learned for yourself? You could include some images next to the food terms to trigger your memory
Fun foodie fact: Osteria Francescana
located in Modena, Italy, was named Best Restaurant in the World in 2018. The Italian word for food is ‘cibo’ which is also the name of a popular restaurant in the UK
However, Spain came away as the real winner, with the largest share of restaurants in the top 50.
Check out the rest of the list here!
3. Watch a foreign cooking channel and make your own authentic meals
We hope that you’re not too hungry after reading all this, but we’re now onto the last point!
If you think you learn better by ‘doing’ rather than seeing and you’re eager to express your inner-cook, have a look at some online cooking channels and watch some culinary instruction videos, create some step-by-step flashcards about new and exciting recipes, then zip - (run) - to the kitchen for some practice!
Here are some recommendations for cooking channels that you might be interested in:
Last slice of advice…
When travelling, surprise yourself by stepping into the unknown with food and flavours, and you may find yourself understanding more about the culture of a country!
Have you tried a delicious dish recently?
Let us know on Lingora and test out your new vocabulary.