I’ve been traveling throughout Southeast Asia for the past month. While I’ve tried some really interesting things in the way of food, I have to say that it’s made me really grateful for certain foods that I never thought I’d appreciate. Examples include:
*Vegetables. Yep, that’s right. I actually miss salad. While traveling here, the general advice has been to stay away from fresh produce that can’t be peeled. While there might be a way to peel lettuce, kale, and spinach, I’m not aware of how that would work. Therefore, we’ve missed out on all but a few (cucumbers and tomatoes, for example) fresh veggies. I really miss grabbing a handful of baby carrots, munching on sugar snap peas, or snacking on broccoli and cauliflower florets.
*Raw nuts and seeds. We can’t find any here. There are some nuts, and a few seeds, but they are all roasted, salted, cooked in oil, and/or tossed in some unknown flavorings that make me just a bit nervous since I can’t read the ingredients. I really miss raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, you name it! These are such great quick and easy snacks, with so many health benefits. They can be eaten alone, or whizzed up as dips and spreads, such as cashew butter or cream. I would kill for some cashew cream right this moment!
*Beans and lentils. I have only found one restaurant that had a dish with them, and that’s because we used the Happy Cow website to find special vegetarian and vegan restaurants in that city. I found one store that had some dried beans, but we have not had access to a kitchen, so we have no way to soak or cook them. I have seen only one can of beans, and it was $3, which is triple what I’ve paid in the US. 🙁
*Organic foods, or foods grown without pesticides. I guess that this would be expected when visiting a developing area. Maybe it was wishful thinking that perhaps things would be grown more naturally in other parts of the world than the ones that I’m most familiar with.
I’ve been longingly reading through food magazines and blogs, collecting recipes and storing them electronically, and dreaming of making things like stews and smoothies. Which is kind of funny considering that I’ve never been a huge fan of cooking! I guess it’s just another example of how you don’t know how good you have it with something in life until it’s gone. I can’t wait to make kale chips when we get back to the US. Until then, I will continue my quest for some steamed vegetables free of MSG!