Are you a cheeseburger and fries kinda person? Do you rely a little too much on chicken strips, or catch yourself ordering dishes found on the kids menu? It’s not too late for you to explore beyond the confines of your comfort zone, but I warn you: you won’t be able to return.
1. Indian food
When people see Indian food, it looks like mush. In fact, I had a friend that would tease me for eating it because it looked like mush. But this mush, my friends, is the best tasting mush you’ve ever seen before. This mush is called curry, and although it looks simple, do not be deceived. There are a variety of different types of curry in various spice ranges.
Recommended for first-timer: Chicken tikka masala over rice, Saag paneer (spinach and cheese curry), samosas
2. Thai food
With Thai food, there’s literally a little something for everyone. It tends to be one of the first foods that people try when they begin to step outside of their comfort zone because you can enter a Thai restaurant and get something that isn’t completely unfamiliar. There are many noodle dishes, rice dishes, meats and curries for you to explore and try. I recommend going with a couple of people so that you can get a noodle or rice dish, a meat, and a curry with rice.
Recommended for first-timer: Pad Thai, Pad See-Ew, any curry (be BOLD) over rice
3. Vietnamese food
People love pho before they even realize that they love Vietnamese food, not realizing that pho is a Vietnamese dish. But the amazing flavor of Vietnamese cuisine is exceeds that limitation of noodle soup. Pho is a great dish to start off on, but remember, like all food, you can’t just find good pho anywhere. Ask a friend. Or Yelp.
Recommended for first-timer: Combination pho, Vermicelli with Pork and Eggroll
4. Korean food
Anytime you bring up Korean food, people say that they LOVE IT, thinking 9 times out of 10 of Korean BBQ, which YES, IS SPLENDID. Again, however, one cannot simply stop there! Dukbokki is a spicy rice cake that is served in a spicy sauce, oftentimes with cheese on top. Bibimbap is like a combination salad with all the best vegetables, but there’s also rice, and meat, as well as a sweet and spicy gochujang sauce that will leave you seeking it at the store (or maybe that was just me). And don’t even get me started on kimchi.
Recommended for first-timer: KBBQ (just kidding). Bibimbap, dukbokki
5. Ethiopian food
It took me a long time to finally get around to tasting Ethiopian food, but when I finally did, I went back again the same week. The great thing about Ethiopian food is how communal it is. You don’t enter an Ethiopian restaurant by yourself, but you enter with at least two or three other people, because the meal that you will be enjoying is best served and enjoyed family-style. It’s the best way to really try a little bit of everything, and to get the best of everything.
Recommended for first timer: the best way to try everything is to get a platter with multiple dishes served over injera, the staple flat bread, and then dipping injera into each of the dishes. Also good to get a couple meats on the side.
6. Cambodian food
I’ve never been to Cambodia, but I grew up in the town with the largest Cambodian population outside of the country itself. You’ll find that a lot of Cambodian restaurants actually partner with Thai cuisine, because there are some similarities and overlapping factors. Nevertheless, both are amazing and delicious in their own ways.
Recommended for first timer: Somlaw machu kreung (a beef soup served over rice)