Growing up, I was the child that was never willing to try new foods. I didn’t start branching out with what I ate until my late teens and early twenties. I was a newly minted college student, and I had just begun to travel with my good friend Morgan.
When you travel, the options for food varies greatly dependent upon the region you’re in. “Safe” or “comfortable” dishes are typically not available, and if you want to stay fed and be polite, you’re going to have to stomach some things you’ve probably never tried before, and the best part is, we typically find that we appreciate these new varieties of food more often than not.
Whether experiencing fresh ceviche by the coast for the first time, or sometimes noticing an odd tentacle on a plate, travel provides an opportunity to expand not only our mind and perspectives, but also our palate, oftentimes leading us to discover loves for new cuisines from all over the globe.
Below I will dive into 3 ways how travel will help expand your child’s palate:
1.) It’s easy to try new things, when you’re in an environment when almost everything is new.
The food that you will find in these exotic locations will more often than not be substantially different than what your child would expect. Spending time in Panama is a great chance to try fresh fish, in Spain, a Paella meal might be on the agenda. The foods of every region in the world vary drastically from each other, and while there will always probably be the safety net of a pizza, just the presence of such variety can insight even the pickiest of eater, to try something new.
Additionally, the environment itself is full of entirely new experiences and events. When seeing sites like the Eiffel tower for the first time, or being surrounded by conversations only occurring in Spanish, it can be easy to keep the momentum of novelty going with what you chose to eat. When everything else is new and different, why not do the same with our food.
2.) Even the food you’re used to, is different.
This is one that many people are surprised when they experience. Burgers in Central America taste different than they do here in the States. The cattle live in an entirely different environment, and often their diets vary greatly. All of these differences lead to even our go to dishes having a slightly different taste. This change, even though it is slight, is often enough to push students to branch out and start tasting dishes they might never have thought of before.
Even stereotypical American chains are different abroad. The Big Mac that you’d get in the USA, will taste entirely different in the EU.
3.) Gelato, Street Food, and Markets
It seems that when we travel there is always an opportunity to happen upon unique treats and foods almost by accident. Random gelato stops are a unique twist on the ice cream and frozen yogurt that I typically associate with American sweets. Street vendors with Belgian waffles, Crepes, or countless other offerings give a chance to experience authentic takes on regional foods.
Markets are also a phenomenal place to try something unique. The countless vendors of La Boqueria Market will have you trying charcuterie, or squid, or any variety of local dishes.
All in all travel provides a wealth of experiences that can expand our comfort zones, provide us with wildly new and empowered perspectives, but it can also leave us with a broadened palate, ready to return home with a new found interest in exploring a variety of new foods indefinitely.