You force yourself to wake up early, get washed up and dressed in record breaking time. You rush yourself to the airport all while biting your nails because you think you’ve forgotten something. You push through your self-doubt and needless worry and board your plane with time to spare. Once you land, that holiday vibe hits you like a cool breeze. You’re in a foreign land that is new to your senses, fresh with exciting experiences and a culture to understand. So, why is it that so many people who do make all this effort, all this trouble, to go and then only eat what they already know? What’s the point of traveling halfway across the world, only to stick to the tourist side of restaurant menus? Maybe it’s because some people allow the fear of the unknown to take over them. However, when you’ve spent your hard earned money to come so far, there’s no time for being closed minded.
Source Max Pixel
Stepping out, ever so slightly
When looking at the philosophy of trying new things, a very basic conundrum will confront you. Do you want to really explore new things, or just surround yourself with new things? There comes a point where you have to step out of your comfort zone. What could very well encourage you to do this is to think of it as one small step. Think about what type of ingredients your palate likes, and then step over the line just a little. For example, if you know you like a bit of mild spice such a nutmeg, black pepper, or cinnamon, go one level higher. This could be something like roasted red chilli without the seeds, cumin, paprika, cayenne powder etc. Look for something that has one main ingredient that you like, then allow the garnishings to bring you out of your shell.
Image by Max Pixel
Familiar but higher quality
Don’t be so hard on yourself if you do try food of the foreign nation you’re visiting, and it just doesn’t gel with you. Sometimes you can’t help it, and some foods will biologically be intolerable to your palate. However, you can attempt to fool your tongue by eating familiar foods but to a much higher standard. Look at the plethora of options for brunch in Dubai on a Saturday. There are Asian seafood restaurants, Italian bakeries, delicate French breakfasts and so on. They’re exhibit cuisines that many Westerns are familiar with, but they have their own twist on things. They are situated in a country that is open to many different styles of food, but some kind of Islamic cuisine influence goes into the creation of the menus. A great example of this is the Al Bahou restaurant that has Italian, Indian and Moroccan food that is tempered in a way to not overpower you.
It’s okay if you don’t want to push yourself too far by eating food that you cannot stomach. However, the philosophy of trying new things is to not conform to one dimension. Eating foreign foods in a watered down manner can allow your palate to adjust to their flavors and textures. Finding traditional food that has been slightly changed for holiday goers won’t be difficult in capital cities.