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Extend Your Vacation Vibes: Bring Culture and Cuisine Home

By May 26, 2021July 6th, 20214 Comments

So, you just got back from vacation, and you want to keep the vibe alive! Luckily, there are some easy ways to bring home the flavors and cultures you experience while away from home. 

Consider these tips and tricks to help extend that relaxing and exciting feeling and add a few new tricks to your culinary toolbox that you’ll use over and over again.

Moon cakes in Phang Nga, thailand

Use Regional Herbs and Spices

One of the best ways to bring home the flavors of other culture’s cuisine is to bring home or find the spices used in the dishes you love.

What really gives most areas their unique food flavors are the spices they use regularly.

For example, you may create a popular dish in a region, but you can make it taste like a specialty from a particular area you visit by adjusting the spices and herbs. An outstanding example is curry dishes. Having both the right spices and kitchen equipment to create homemade curries is clutch, including things such as a Thai Moon Knife and spice grinder.

thai moon knife cutting oranges by veve culture

They have different varieties all over Asia, but the mix of spices and herbs truly sets each area’s curry apart. 

Find a Specialty Store

While you’re on vacation, you may not have access to purchase spices, especially in rural areas; however, thanks to the internet and the growing number of ethnicity and specialty stores, it’s easier than ever to find exotic spices from other countries.

Try to find out which spices are found in your favorite dishes online and search for them when you get home. You might be surprised that even your hometown has an supermarket with products from India or a store that offers authentic tortillas from Mexico, for example.

You can find a whole treasure trove of authentic cultural dishes online too if you’re unable to get the details from the locals.

beetroot hopper with dhal and sambol sri lanka eileen cotter wright

Use Local Fruits

In many areas, the local fruits provide that special feel unique to the area. This is especially true of tropical climates or far Eastern locations with heavy concentrations of fruit-centered dishes and treats.

There are plenty of markets in most towns featuring exotic fruits from around the world.

Even if they don’t make it into the main dish, you can add excitement and appeal by adding them as a side dish or dessert course after your meal.

They give total vacation vibes with little effort. If you’re hosting a gathering or event after vacation, this makes a great addition to the food selection, and your guests will love it!

banana, pineapple and watermelon dessert on banana leaves

Some fruits you can add to your repertoire include the following.

  • Dragon fruit
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Tamarind
  • Kiwano

You can also include them in a traditional fruit salad to spice it up and add some interest.

Use the Local Fish

Nothing says vacation more than fresh fish from your vacation destination. For example, many people choose to visit Alaska in the summer to see the whales, icebergs, landscape and enjoy the freshest salmon around.

For instance, if you want to try your hand at making fresh salmon, you’ll need to know a few essential things first. The first and perhaps most important thing is the salmon internal temp.

The internal temperature needs to reach 145 degrees to be safe to consume. The best way to cook salmon is in a 375-degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. Remember, the key is to get it to temperature without overcooking the fish.


Seasoning Local Proteins

One thing to mention is that there are many ways to season fish. Don’t stop at salt and pepper.

Consider jazzing up the flavors with citrus additions ranging from slices of citrus to the juices of your fruit.

You can also play with the herbs you add to the fish. Some good herbs to try adding to your fish dishes includes the following.

  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary

Some fish have a delicate flavor, so carefully season light fish. You can have fun with the flavors of oily fish such as salmon and cod.

freid fish and fries in hamburg germany

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

If your destination featured many versions of certain dishes, you shouldn’t be afraid to play with some additions and flavors. Experimenting in the kitchen may be half the fun of preparing exciting new dishes from your travels. Try allowing kids to help with this process too.

The best approach is to find out which spices and dish components are common in the areas you visit. Try to find the same vegetables and meats and play with the spice additions each time.

You can adjust the meal to suit your taste and create something that embraces that local culture while giving it your own special twist.

Don’t Forget Dessert!

What’s a vacation without a luxurious dessert. Each culture features its own unique sweet treats and specialty dishes. Even if you visit a remote village, they likely have a specialty dessert all their own, and you can try to duplicate it.

If it’s a simple dish, you can add some other flavors from the area to make it more exciting. This is where locally grown fruits can also come into play.

You can try those sweet treats and add fruit in, on, or around them to really get a feel for the area and extend those vibes well past your trip home.

Use Your Vacation For Inspiration

Continue to use your vacation experiences to inspire your cooking and dazzle others through your culinary journey. It’s a great way to hone your skills and help you create exceptional dishes that make cooking and eating your dishes fun and exciting for everyone – including yourself.

Pure Wander Contributor

Author Pure Wander Contributor

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