1. England – Fish & Chips
Batter fried fish and fries (Brits call them “chips”) are a staple in the UK. The dynamic duo is often eaten as a quick but delicious meal from fast-food vendors. Tarter sauce is the favorite condiment, a slight change for any ketchup fans.
Though it has a history of bland, boring food (think Oliver Twist’s porridge), the UK is now a melting pot culturally and gastronomically. In fact, Indian food is so popular that people have created a Frankenstein meal of fish & chips with curry. No wonder so many students flock to the UK to study abroad!
2. Italy – Lasagna
This country is known for many foods–pizza, gelato, pasta…As an equal opportunity pasta country, Italy offers fusilli, linguine, spaghetti, and lasagna equal spots at the dinner table. Marked by layers of cheese, occasionally meat, and that grainy-goodness pasta, lasagna is a tasty meal (leftovers not guaranteed).
With all the tasty options the country has to offer, it will take you a whole semester (if not a year) of studying abroad in Italy to work your way through the restaurants and gelaterias. Sounds fun!
3. Spain – Paella
If you hate having to choose just one meat for you meal, paella could solve your problem. This Spanish dish often includes shrimp, mussels, lobster, fish, chicken, and other meats (though you can feel free to pick and choose as you like). Throw in some rice, spices, and veggies, and you’ve got yourself an authentic paella!
The Spanish are big on snacking–they eat tapas (little plates) between meals. Getting tapas is a social activity and a great way for you to make friends and get to know the culture while studying abroad in Spain!
4. France – Crêpes
Whether you have a sweet tooth or you’re more the savory type, versatile French crepes will make your mouth water. These extra light pancakes can be eaten with all sort of fillings – Nutella, fruit, meats, cheeses…the world is your oyster!
France is known worldwide for its cuisine, culinary schools, and chefs, giving you lots of options to satisfy that growling stomach. And remember, a glass of wine with your meal is always encouraged here, especially after a long day of classes and studying. Bon appétit!
5. China – Fried Rice
When it comes to fried rice, anything goes! Though the rice part is sort of a requirement, additions include veggies, egg, meats, and most things you have on-hand. Cooked on a wok (or just a pan if you’re wok-less), fried rice is a tasty and simple dish. After all, white rice is so overrated.
Chopsticks are quite a conversation starter in Chinese culture! The tricky utensils also come with a wide range of superstitions…ask a local for the inside scoop during your time studying abroad in China.
6. Australia – Shepherd’s Pie
Also called cottage pie or meat pie, this Aussie favorite is a minced meat and vegetable casserole with a mashed potato topping. British colonists brought the dish to the country but has since been adopted as a traditional dish of Australia.
While studying in Australia, you will undoubtedly come across Vegemite, a salty spread made from yeast, which is adored by all Australians, young and old. While the taste doesn’t always appeal to non-natives, trying this staple should be on your bucket list (we don’t suggest adding it to the meat pie recipe, though).
7. Germany – Schnitzel
Pretty much a larger and more tasty chicken nugget (or beef or veal nugget), German schnitzels are a hearty meal. Pair with some bratwurst and sauerkraut, and you might just start speaking German before your study abroad classes even officially begin.
Food (and beer) play an important role in German celebrations and holidays. Probably the most well-known and student-friendly festivals are Carnival (in Feb/March) and Oktoberfest (in, well, October), so plan your travels accordingly!
8. Costa Rica – Gallo Pinto
This rice and beans dish is a breakfast food served with eggs and plantains. The name translates to “spotted rooster”, referring to the multi colored effect of cooking white rice with dark beans. Adored by locals, it’s also perfect for students studying in Costa Rica–super cheap ingredients and super easy to make!
Costa Ricans have a type of dish they call “casado”, meaning marriage, since it is a medley of all different flavors coming together. Gallo pinto often forms the base of this meal while meats, vegetables, and other foods are added on top.
9. Ireland – Soda Bread
This bread gets it “bubbly” name because the recipe calls for baking soda instead of bread (sorry if you were misled to believe that you could throw some Sprite into the recipe). Irish soda bread is pretty simple to make, so feel free to add some yummy additions to your bread (ideas include chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, etc.).
After a day of classes while studying in Ireland, enjoying some bread, butter, and maybe a Guinness or two with friends will be the perfect way to unwind!
10. Argentina – Steak
Argentina is known for its meat–it’s one of the countries biggest exports! Argentinians like their beef in all different forms – sausages, stews, breaded fillets, and of course, steak. When you combine steak with this pesto-like sauce, you get a bonafide Argentinean meal.
Like many other countries, eating is a very social activity here. Outdoor cafes are popular and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a tango street performance during your meal (a must-have experience while studying abroad in the Argentina).
11. India – Lassi
This sweet yogurt drink comes in a variety of different flavors – plain, mango, strawberry…why not try ‘em all? Warning – you need a blender to make this recipe as directed. We think a really good shake will still result in a pretty yummy lassi.
There are many different cultures within India, each with separate food customs but all with a general appreciation and focus on food. The cuisines use lots and lots of spices and flavorings to make curries and other sauces. Vegetarianism is also very popular, so fear not all you veggie loving study abroad student.
12. South Africa – Braaibroodjies
“Braai” (barbeque) is a favorite style of cooking among the locals. Braaibroodjie takes this phenomenon one step further by making a–wait for it–sandwich on the braai! Essentially, this dish is a grilled cheese but the “braai”, plus the additions of meat, chutney, and veggies, put the recipe above your plain old grilled cheese.
Because of colonization, South African cuisine has an interesting blend of Dutch and African influences. The country has wonderful and varied fruits and vegetables which are unique to the area.
13. Mexico – Tacos
Your first lesson studying in Mexico – authentic tacos are not like those at Taco Bell. With a base of flour or corn tortillas, tacos have various fillings including meats, vegetables, salsa, and cheese. No need to deal with inconvenient knives and forks with these babies–eating with your hands is a-ok!
Traditional food is still deeply intertwined in many parts of Mexican culture. Food and culture are so related that Mexican cuisine was named by UNESCO to be an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”!
14. Japan – Chicken Katsu
Though we often think of sushi as the go-to Japanese dish, chicken katsu is very popular and way easier to make yourself! This breaded chicken is delicious served with teriyaki sauce, rice, and veggies.
You’re going to become a chopstick pro during your time studying in Japan. But a word of advice – avoid a chopstick faux pas by making sure not to use those utensils to point at things or wave them around.
15. Brazil – Pao de Queijo
These cheesy bites of Brazilian heaven are often eaten as a snack or for breakfast. They are traditionally made using corn flour which gives the buns a uniquely chewy and moist center. Even though Brazilians often buy a ready made mix to cook pao de queijo, we challenge you to make ‘em from scratch!
In Brazil, breakfast and dinner fall on the lighter side, while lunch is the prime time to chow down. So why not schedule massive lunch potlucks with your other buddies studying in Brazil? You’ll provide the pao de queijo!
16. Israel – Shakshouka
Perfect for both breakfast and lunch, Shakshuka is a poached egg in a sauce of onions, peppers, tomatoes, and various spices. It is often served with pita bread, which is used as a vehicle taking all the extra sauce straight to your mouth.
Israel is home to people from around the world, and the cuisine reflects this. You can find dishes with north African, eastern European, & Mediterranean influences, lending a splash of diversity to Israeli food and to your time studying in Israel.
17. Greece – Gyros
Though the dish’s pronunciation is debated, its deliciousness is not! A gyro is a wrap containing meat (chicken, lamb, or beef), various vegetables, and sauces. The cooking process is quite a spectacle – a huge slab of meat is cooked on a rotating rod, and the outermost cooked layer of the meat is shaved off and served.
The Greek even have their own word, Paraia, for the sublime act of dining and socializing, a definite sign that food is a pretty valued part of Greek culture and that eating will be an integral part of studying abroad in Greece.
18. Czech Republic – Bramborák
Fried potato pancakes. Need I say more? Grate up some potatoes (and optionally other vegetables), add flour and spices to bind it together, and fry. It’s that simple! Though the Czechs generally eat it as a side dish, we won’t judge anyone who eats a full meal of only Bramborák while studying in the Czech Republic.
Meat is a large part of the Czech diet, but not only the parts of meat that you’re used to…animal brains, livers, and tongues are common menu items. Adventurous diners – eat your hearts out…literally.
19. Chile – Alfajores
After all of this savory food, you might be hankering for something sweet. That’s where Chilean alfajores come in. These shortbread cookies are often filled with dulce de leche, creating a sugary sandwich to sweeten your semester in Chile.
Food plays a major role in Chilean culture, particularly seafood. In fact, there are four mealtimes in Chile – breakfast, lunch, afternoon once (tea and snacks), and dinner. And don’t let the country’s name fool you–though spice is used in Chilean dishes, it is not used to the extent to warrant such a spicy name.
20. Empanadas – Ecuador
These little pockets of joy are a staple in many South American countries, including Ecuador. They can be bought everywhere from street vendors, to marketplaces, to fancier restaurants and can be either baked or fried.
Home cooked meals are important in the culture, so if you live in a homestay while studying in Ecuador, your stomach will be treated well. Many other typical dishes of Ecuador involve lots of time and work and are quite difficult recipes. Mastering Ecuadorian cuisine is definitely an accomplishment!