Eating your way through culture shock is effective in many ways.
In Mumbai, a Mumbaikar saw us browsing through our guide and heard us talking about food. He approached us and said: “you know what you must try?” He named the dish, explained how to eat it and pointed us in the direction of the restaurant!
We ended up going to that place 3 or 4 times and I will be eternally grateful to this man for introducing me to a delicious local specialty that was so much fun to eat! Hello, fingers!
Eat your way through culture shock!
So how can food help us deal with culture shock?
- Food is a part of culture and a very tasty way for us to get an insight into a country’s culinary world. How does that help? Well, a full belly isn’t the wrong way to start…
- Food is a source of comfort, obviously. On a primal level, it keeps us alive. On an emotional level, a hot bowl of yummy soup can work wonders. This is true at home and abroad.
- Taste is dynamic, constantly changing and developing. Trying out new dishes and ingredients helps develop our taste and incorporate a bit of that new country into our lives. It bridges a gap.
- Showing interest in another country’s food tradition is a way of showing interest for its culture and getting to know it a little better, again bridging the distance between us and our new environment.
- Showing interest in another country’s culinary specialties is a way to communicate with people. If you’re shy, not sure what to talk about or how to approach people, why not start with food? You’ve got to eat anyway, so you might as well ask questions: what’s your favorite local dish? Where’s your favorite restaurant? What do you recommend I try? What’s the best way to eat this? Where do you recommend I eat [insert name of dish]?
- Being interested in local food is also a way to bring us out of our shell. When we’re dealing with culture shock we might feel completely overloaded and ‘shut down’. In that situation, food is a way for us to be in that new culture, to get to know it while taking care of ourselves, because eating well equals care and therefore comfort.
Food is powerful in many ways, so don’t be afraid to eat your way through culture shock!
How does food help you when you’re on the road?