One of the most exciting things about traveling abroad is that you can sample different cuisines without worrying about their authenticity. There’s a good chance that you can gorge yourself with your favorite dishes from that country no matter what your budget is.
However, as an American, there’s also a chance that you’ll crave for some burgers, fries, or maybe some chicken wings. No matter what your favorite fast-food chain might be – McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Zaxby’s, or In ’n’ Out – there’s a good chance that you’ll settle for the first eatery you’ll find that serves burger just to grab a bite of something familiar. There are even websites that compare prices of different fast food establishments in different countries such as this one here.
For some folks, this can be sacrilegious. You’ve already traveled thousands of miles from home and you won’t make the most of it by eating local dishes? Some would think it’s wasteful and a shame. Why would you opt for something that you can eat at home when you only have a limited time to enjoy some unique or exotic cuisine?
Not a lot of people think that they’ll miss the food they had at home when they’re traveling or relocating to an entirely different country. It’s a part of the culture shock that no one expects or talks about much for some reason. But it’s there and the craving will hit you hard in the face once you start missing the food you usually eat back home.
Sometimes it’s also a matter of being used to a higher quality of food at home. Depending on where you’re traveling to, you might be faced with food that’s quite bizarre and frankly, even a little scary.
In fact, some countries have such low regulations that a lot of their foods might even be unhealthy to foreigners who are not used to regional bacteria and microorganisms that wander those foods. Don’t assume that just because food is prepared somewhere at a restaurant that it is always done in a clean and healthy manner.
Our Attitude Towards Our Own Native Cuisine
Let’s face it, a lot of folks, especially the self-proclaimed foodies and lovers of food, tend to have a bias against their native cuisine. They seem bland and too simple compared to foreign dishes that taste so different and unique. They’re less exciting and not exactly special since you get to have it regularly.
This is why most folks think that they won’t really miss their native cuisine when it’s not available to them anymore. If you enjoy foreign dishes, it’s exciting to think that you’ll be able to eat more of it on a regular basis when you move. However, there will always be that craving for the simplest dishes of your homeland.
Why? What we eat and our preferences are deeply ingrained into our systems. This makes it very difficult to reset, no matter how in love you are in the place you’re visiting or transplanted yourself into.
Experts say that our preferences in taste come not just from our nose and actual taste buds. They’re also shaped by our experiences and memories. In fact, the food you like might be the same things your mom ate while she’s pregnant with you. According to specialists, children remember the flavors of the food they tasted while in the womb so it’s quite safe to say that your palette starts developing quite early on.
What does a person eat has close ties with a person’s identity? This is why every cuisine is so distinct and you can tell a lot about a country’s culture through its food.
When traveling or staying overseas, everything that can say a lot about your cultural identity matters. It helps you define and make sense of who you are when you’re somewhere that’s so different from where you came from. Native cuisine is one of the easiest ways to feel connected with your roots, so it really makes sense to miss your traditional dishes when you’re far away from home.
With such a connection, it will definitely be hard to just stop eating the food items that you’ve always enjoyed. You can’t just switch off your preferences in what you eat. This is also the very reason why you will always miss your native cuisine no matter what.
A Few Things You Need to Know When Eating American Food Abroad
Now that we’ve established that it’s perfectly fine to crave your native cuisine while you’re in a faraway land, there are a few things that you might want to know about eating American food abroad. Here are some examples of such:
They won’t always taste the same as the ones you get back home.
Even if you do get to find American fast-food chains in the country you’re visiting, you shouldn’t expect their food to taste the same as the ones you have back home. Despite being from the same brand, the local store will still be very different from its American counterpart.
Why? These chains reformulate their menus to appeal to the taste of their customers. Since different countries have various preferences in terms of taste, you definitely can’t expect the burger you’ll get in Delhi to taste the same as the one you’ll get in LA.
Don’t expect the same amount of servings.
One of the most notable things when it comes to eating at American fast foods in other parts of the world is that they have smaller servings than what you’re most likely used to. Fast-food chains in the US tend to have heaping servings of food so this might surprise you a bit.
If you really want authentic American cuisine, look for American restaurants and hotels.
If you can find American-owned eateries, you’ll get a better chance at getting a taste of home even while you’re thousands of miles away.