Expanding your Palate

Aaronboyer

Upside Down Puppers
is a Pre-Contributor
#1
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So this upcoming semester I will be attending college on a campus with a buffet style meal plan. Growing up in a small town with nothing more than a mom ‘n’ pop restaurant, this is going to be one of the first times I’ll get to experience true multicultural food. My questions are: How do you expand your palate? And what multicultural foods would you recommend someone should try? My favorite food right now is Bone-out Chicken, and one of my closest HS friends whom I will be rooming with next year recommended General Tso’s.
 
#2
some recommendations of things you might enjoy that arent too offensive to typical US tastes

Mexican: pretty much anything is safe
chinese: lo mein, eggrolls, orange chicken, fried rice
japanese: tempura stuff, rices, teriyaki stuff
indian: most of it is really good but hurts really bad, i dont personally have a lot of experience with it bc its too spicy for me
 
#4
Adding onto what hailfall said generally any latin food is fine. Caribbean as well but im not too much of a genius in that to give examples.

You should also be critical and ask questions of what the buffets are serving if you’re trying to improve your palette. For example if they’re making puerto rican food but using adobo for seasoning or if they’re not using homemade or house made sofrito for stuff like rice then you’re not eating anything authentic in that category. A lot of places that make latin food normally throw in a bunch of bullshit spices like adobo and call it as such so be wary of that.
 

Magii

formerly Magikingdra
#5
Just get out there and try some stuff. I live in Houston and surprisingly we have a really diverse selection of restaurants; so speaking from experience there’s nothing you can do besides go out and try new things!
 
#7
Is there anyway to eventually like foods that you don't like over time? Have any of you had such an experience with a food?
Either time or trying it with different flavours, but some things you'll just never like, and that's ok.

Some things I hated as a kid, I'm fine with now as an adult, like artichoke. Taste buds change.
Other stuff like olives I didn't like (and still don't like by themselves), but I've found they're ok when they aren't the main flavour of a dish, like as part of a pasta sauce or something.
I don't think anything will get me to enjoy mashed potatoes, ever.
 

avocado

queen vados
is a member of the Site Staffis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
#8
Out of middle eastern cuisine, you should try out shish tawooq (can be written in many different ways), its marinated pieces of boneless chicken grilled and its amazing.

Indian cuisine can be complicated and even I don't know most of it but biryani is pretty good. Butter chicken as well.
 
#10

So this upcoming semester I will be attending college on a campus with a buffet style meal plan. Growing up in a small town with nothing more than a mom ‘n’ pop restaurant, this is going to be one of the first times I’ll get to experience true multicultural food. My questions are: How do you expand your palate? And what multicultural foods would you recommend someone should try? My favorite food right now is Bone-out Chicken, and one of my closest HS friends whom I will be rooming with next year recommended General Tso’s.
I won’t go over common US/European foods since most people eat this in the US daily. Here’s a list of the cuisines I grew up with and know a bit about thanks to coming from a multinational family.

Cuisines I highly rate:
-Japanese: generally quite healthy. This can range from noodles (ramen, udon, soba, etc) which you can do many things with (stir fry, eat with soup etc) and is generally quite cheap and easy; curry - meat is optional and I usually have it without (though it’s a lot better with the fried pork or chicken katsu). Cook it one day and it can last you the best part of the week. Sushi is really good and a great way to impress friends/partner. Very fancy.

Caribbean: I can only really speak for Jamaica but this is a super underrated cuisine and is one of my favourites. There are many tutorials online. These dishes are generally quite healthy (says Usain Bolt at least) and is always a great way to impress guests. Can be spicy. Curry goat and jerk chicken are probably the most well known dishes. Best served with rice and peas (you should probably take a look at how they prepare it because it’s way different to normal rice and normal peas) and salad/coleslaw. Plantain is really nice too.

African: Speaking mainly about Ghanaian but a little about Nigerian too. Two words: jollof rice. Learn to make this and you’re sorted. Quite spicy but very tasty. Very filling and energising so if you’ve got a tough week ahead, this is a go to. Different countries do it differently. My favourite is Nigerian, but apparently the original is Gambian. There are, of course, many more dishes, but this is a must have/staple.

Other cuisines I like but don’t know much about:
Indian
North African/Arab
Thai
Mexican

Edit: I thought this was things to cook. Ignore all the “cheap/easy to make” parts, but they’re all great cuisines anyway.
 
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#11
I personally prefer real Asian food (not Americanized versions of it, like orange or sweet and sour chicken [basically any type of Asian-esque chicken you can think of I dislike, even the "real" versions of them]), but I like trying new things. The only advice I can give you for expanding your palate is trying new things. If it looks interesting, try it. That's the only way you'll find new things you like to eat.

In any case, being Taiwanese and all, I think I'm best qualified to talk about Taiwanese cuisine. I sincerely doubt any of these will be in your college buffet, but I think you should give them a try if you can nonetheless.

So the two things I would definitely recommend are bubble tea (also called pearl milk tea among other things) and Taiwanese fried chicken. These two are staples in Taiwanese cuisine. (One is a drink, yes, but there was nothing limiting it to just food). The second may be harder to come by, but it's good for a quick snack or side dish. Bubble tea is pretty popular in America nowadays, so you could probably find a shop that serves it. It's basically black tea with milk and tapioca pearls. You might not like it if you aren't a fan of tea, but I would give it a try regardless considering the other parts of the drink.
 

Aaronboyer

Upside Down Puppers
is a Pre-Contributor
#13
I've heard of Bubble Tea before? However, I don't care for actual tea. Is it like actual tea or is it milkier (idk if that's a word)?

Also, an overwhelming majority of the responses for this thread are encouraging me to explore some sort of Asian cuisine. My follow up question is, would you find this at a Asian restaurant or is this something you would cook at home. And if at home, do you use a recipe, or how do you cook it?
 
#14
I've heard of Bubble Tea before? However, I don't care for actual tea. Is it like actual tea or is it milkier (idk if that's a word)?
It tastes more like milk, but you can definitely taste the tea part. Although, that depends on who makes it. Some people make it with a milkier taste, while others have a heavier tea taste.

Regarding exploring Asian cuisine, I recommend finding a restaurant unless you make a hobby out of cooking. Diophantine gave you some tips on how to cook some foods, and if you wish to do so I recommend looking up recipes online, changing them as you see fit to match taste.
 
#15
I've heard of Bubble Tea before? However, I don't care for actual tea. Is it like actual tea or is it milkier (idk if that's a word)?

Also, an overwhelming majority of the responses for this thread are encouraging me to explore some sort of Asian cuisine. My follow up question is, would you find this at a Asian restaurant or is this something you would cook at home. And if at home, do you use a recipe, or how do you cook it?
You can cook it yourself. Although, typically it goes like this for restaurants: Super expensive fancy world class restaurant > small/family owned restaurant > Westernised version of non-Western cuisine
 
#16
It also depends on where you’re living. Many places may have false representations of what the actual cuisine should taste like. For example, you may not be able to find authentic asian food in the Midwest, or good seafood in landlocked areas, etc. There’s really nothing better than just going out and exploring and trying different things from time to time. And if you don’t like it, then try something else. It’s pretty simple, and that’s how I’ve tried to explore new things.
 

Myzozoa

If I c u & I dont speak that means I dont fuck w u
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
#17
I really recommend checking out the whole first season of David Chang's show Ugly Delicious if you want a survey of widely available foods.
 

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