I worry about how healthy “healthy choices” are when I don’t prepare food myself. That’s one of the reasons I want to cook more.
Garlic, onions, pepper, soy sauce, fresh herbs. I try not to get too fancy
For sure I don’t know what goes into my plate. That being said, if you saw my cooking you’d probably agree that restaurant food is better
One way to improve your “chances” is to stick to simple food. It’s fairly obvious what’s inside a sushi, a plate of hainan-style chicken, a bowl of ramen (the Japanese dish, not the dry crap they sell at dollar stores), a sandwich etc.
Yeah I think I try to complicate things too much
Ha, do you know how many calories are in a bowl of ramen? It’s all fat and carbs! Awfully delicious fat and carbs though.
If I have a kithen somewhere for +3days I cook most meals. Buy aromatics (onion, garlic, chillie, lemon grass, ginger) and meat/eggs/veg as you need it. Spices are more annoying as they are expensive so I stick to salt/pepper/one other dependent on cuisine of country I am in. Breakfast is always eggs with some form of green veg. Lunch and dinner are meat/veg stir fries or if you have an oven you can really make some nice stuff.
I do my best to get an airbnb with a kitchen. I don’t use anything that can’t spoil, besides some spices, so I don’t have ‘pantry supplies’ that would require a big investment. I’ve been traveling around asia for almost 3 months and I can’t even express how freaking sick of eating out I am. Absolutely over it. I can’t wait to get a kitchen again so I have control over my food and don’t have to eat expensive, junky restaurant food.
Great question. I move about every month and have this challenge, the key is planning. Unless in Asia or similarly cheap location I find accommodation with kitchen facilities. Then cook most of my meals by cooking big portions and reheating for a couple of days. I bring a couple of kitchen things like a thin cutting board, a knife, a container set, spices and some other things like rice, müsli, paper towel if I have left overs. Actually cook a great variety of excellent meals, just like before I starting traveling.
The biggest issue is not being allowed to bring liquid as carry-on on flights. I usually just bring a plastic bag with kitchen stuff on the plane. However not being able to bring liquid put some limitations on what I buy since I likely won’t use it up and thus don’t buy that, except if it’s fairly cheap like soy sauce. However I’ve found that I just need to plan my meals more, so if I buy something I won’t be able to bring I will make sure I make the dish twice in a big portion for it to make sense. This means a bit less variety, but more efficiency and still about 5-6 different dishes in a month and I just choose new ones the next month.
In a few days I’ll move and there’s only a few things I will throw out/leave behind, which I don’t really mind. It takes a while to optimize and sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan, but the consequences are pretty low. One example is planning a bit too much and ending up eating out more than anticipated in the end of a stay. I do safe a lot of money this way, have great meals all the time and it’s pretty efficient.
Some essentials like cooking oil are best if they are already available in the accommodation, since it’s rare to use a whole container in a month even if it’s the smallest size available.
I had to teach myself how to cook a bunch of stuff in Hong Kong since I only had a pan and a microwave, but to my own surprise I managed to cook a bunch of different of my regular meals.
In cheap countries I always find accommodation with a fridge to be able to keep fruit, yoghurt and water.
One difference from having my own kitchen is the amount of spices, while I do keep the essentials (about 10 different ones) I don’t have all those I need for all dishes. As a compromise I buy spice mixes/paste instead for a specific dish if I need it.
No doubt about it, your standard of eating is going to decrease somewhat. Moreso if you had family or friends at home who made your favorite dish. Not much solution to this I guess. Maybe get recipes over the phone, make simple stuff, or consider it a cost of travel
I’m also getting kinda sick of eating out every day - although I wouldn’t have said that 2 years ago. But I realized that cooking yourself is healthier and I also have more time so I don’t really have many excuses for being lazy.
The standard kitchen equipment that I’m usually looking for / getting is:
- (wooden) cutting board
- cooking knife
- medium size pan with a lid
- small to medium size pot
- coffee mug (strong enough to use it for grinding pepper corns), plate, cutlery
Basics for cooking:
Fresh garlic, fresh chili, onions, black peppercorns, sea salt, coconut oil, olive oil
I’m still at the very beginning of becoming independent of restaurants, I simply don’t have enough recipes for “go to” dishes yet.
So, what I’m looking for are recipes for healthy dishes that are easy to make with only a few basics and can and give enough variety to not become too boring when eating them on a daily basis.
Also, I don’t want to use too many spices, the main ingredients (rice, potato, veggies, fish, meat) should take care of the taste.
I’m not sure if it’s ok to ask this question here or if I should start a new thread for this - but I would be very interested to read what you guys are cooking!
for easy, tasty, and healthy, soups are great. I make a great lentil veg soup and black bean and sweet potato. of course, i can’t eat either of those any more, but they’re still tasty.
now I basically cook a shit ton of chicken and then I can just add some sauce and veg and I’m good to go. I also make giant egg casseroles that fit my macros, feed me for days, and are very easy. i can give you recipes for any if you’re interested @markh.
Soups! Good idea
I really like the thai rice soup for breakfast, but haven’t tried cooking it myself.
Lentil or black bean soup with veggies sounds tasty and easy enough - would be great to get your recipes @wanderingdev, please PM!
+1 for eating out all the time. I spend enough time alone as it is. Cooking alone would make it real sad. At least at the restaurant, there’s chances to talk to people.
Have you thought about moving into a shared house? There’s plenty in countries like Japan, Korea and China (especially Taiwan). There’s also the digital nomad coliving spaces. I think @levelsio has a website that list those.
I LOVE cooking, so I do cook in a ton if I’m staying somewhere longer than a week or two. I find that 2 - 3 months actually works okay for buying and using kitchen staples as long as you commit to the same flavor profile. E.g. If you buy spices for Italian and Mexican meals, don’t also buy spices to cook Asian cuisine on that trip - just stick to those flavor profiles for that couple month stretch.
I’ve been here in Arizona for three months now and managed to use two bags of flour, two smaller bags of sugar, and several spices.
It also helps if you buy bulk spices at places like Whole Foods. You can buy a lot less than a jar-full and not feel wasteful. And if you do want to make something that uses an unusual ingredient, find a few recipes that use it so that you can try to use it up.
I actually just started a second blog on food around the world and plan on tackling this topic in depth because it’s something I wondered about before traveling.
I totally disagree! Your standard of eating can go up since you’ll be in areas where you have access to different ingredients and recipes and options.
Depends where I am and what kind of cuisine I’m cooking, but my go-tos for short stays are garlic or onion powder, black pepper, and cumin. I also frequently buy fresh basil and other herbs at farmer’s markets when I can get them. You can also buy really tasty oils (truffle oil, for instance) and use them over the course of a month or two without wasting any/much.
Just tossing out some fast, super-protein-packed go-to’s…
a bag of hearty greens mixed with white beans and oil-packed tuna/sardines/salmon (especially sardines “in something” like piquillo peppers or whatever) can actually make for a super healthy meal.
tuna and white beans on their own isn’t precisely delicious but if you have some Italian dressing, it’ll do.
if you can heat up stuff: a can black beans, shredded cheese, then top with half a jar of salsa and, if you have it, half an avocado.
I have a bag of Kosher salt in my backpack but one can get their hands on salt, pepper and hot sauce a lot of places … any of the above can be doctored as condiments are available.
I know enough about myself to know that co-living won’t work for me. Can’t concentrate when other people are around. I’ll just want to party all the time. Being by myself, I can control my time. I find that living with people, it becomes like a frat house. Once the Party Voltron assembles, it’s really difficult to say no.
I’m a trained chef, so happy to cook for everybody if we’re ever in the same place! In some cities, it makes sense to eat out because food is cheap, tasty and plentiful. But in other cities, you can save a lot of money if you cook for yourself. I usually cook breakfast and dinner, and grab lunch out. Master a few basic go-to dishes like noodles, rice, omelettes, baked chicken, broiled salmon, etc…and you can change it up, based on whatever local ingredients are available. That way, you don’t have to buy a lot of different proteins or spices (salt & pepper are all you really need and you can get that anywhere). Always buy fresh, local breads and cheeses - they’re the best. And finally, don’t be afraid to eat local produce - it’s actually very rare to get sick from fresh fruits and veggies. In terms of equipment, you should be able to get by with one saucepan, a medium size pot, a good chef’s knife (CAN NOT CARRY ON A PLANE - MUST CHECK), a veg peeler, tongs, spatula and one place setting (plate, bowl, mug, utensils). Anything else is useless.