Traditional Japanese Food

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Traditional Japanese Food with Dorothy, Senior Project and AR Accountant at AAG

I’m a big fan of Japanese food. You can enjoy it at any time.

My favorite famous Japanese foods are sushi and sashimi. You can eat it with wasabi (green mustard), soy sauce, and sweet pickled ginger. It’s typical and traditional Japanese food. I eat these delicacy for lunch and dinner.

sashimi

Fresh raw fish and shrimp sashimi

Sashimi consists of very fresh raw meat, most commonly fish, sliced into thin pieces. Sashimi often is the first course in a formal Japanese meal, but it can also be the main course, presented with rice and miso soups in separate bowls.

sushi

Sushi is made of rice and fish/vegetables

Sushi consists of cooked, vinegared, white, short grained Japanese rice (shari) combined with other ingredients (neta). Neta and forms of sushi presentation are vary, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is shari. The most common neta is seafood.

Most important for safe eating, the fish must be frozen at very low temperature that can help to kill most of bacteria. Generally you have to find special store for Sashimi since they have the ability to keep fish safe enough to eat.

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Desserts from Taiwan

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Taiwanese Desserts with I Wen, AAG SEVIS Coordinator

A few of my favorite desserts from Taiwan. Just looking at them makes me hungry and homesick!

Peanut and ice cream wrap or "hua shen bing"

Peanut and ice cream wrap or "hua shen bing"

In Taiwan, most of locals are huge fans of tasty and special cuisine, it is said that there is a snack shop every three steps and a restaurant every five.

Egg Tarts from KFC

Egg Tarts from KFC

"Tang yuan"- filled with sesame paste and bathed in a rice wine soup

A gelatinous dessert "Tang yuan"- filled with sesame paste and bathed in a rice wine soup

Mango Shaved Ice

Mango Shaved Ice

Crushed ice or shaved ice is very popular in Taiwan. The principle is simple – fresh fruits, sweet syrup, condensed milk, and you have this refreshing, cold treat above. They are perfect for hot summer days.

Almond milk shaved ice and almond tofu pudding at Yu's Almond Tofu

Almond milk shaved ice and almond tofu pudding at Yu's Almond Tofu

The capital of Taiwan, Taipei, is a heaven for sugar lovers.

South Africa

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Volunteer South Africa with Chris Onuorah

In the Philippi, a township in Cape Town, there are many street vendors in which you can buy braai (meat cooked over an open flame).  Generally speaking, many South Africans I met love meat in their diet (I met vegetarians too).  On this particular day when I was passing through Philippi we stopped at one of the vendors to purchase braai meat.  In this case a whole chicken was split in half and laid on the grill.  I was there with Sandiso, a tertiary student.  When we bought the chicken, it was split between three people: me, Sandiso, and our friend Sisipho.

Chris with chicken on the grill

Chris gathered round braai meat with his friends.

braai also a social event which is casual and laid-back, where family and friends converge on a picnic spot or someone’s home (normally the garden or verandah) with their own meat, salad, or side dish in hand. The men gather round the braai or braaistand (the grill) outdoors and cook the food, while women prepare the salad, dessert, and vegetables in the kitchen.

Philippie Township, Chicken on grill

Philippie Township braai, which we call a barbeque.

The braai is the popular way of grilling food that dates back from the trekking days, when all fresh foods were cooked over wood. Today most suburban houses have a braai area and they now use briquettes or charcoal instead of wood due to the convenience.

Ecuador

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Internship Ecuador with Brittney Lewis

Here are a few meals I ate in Ecuador: fish soup with whole fish in it, cow bone soup and a typical lunch with lots of rice!

fish soup with whole fish in it

Fish soup with a whole fish in it.

Seafood is popular and plentiful throughout Ecuador, but particularly on the Pacific Coast.

cow bone soup

Cow bone soup.

Soups are Ecuador’s specialty. Most lunches and dinners are accompanied by a savory soup as the first course.

A typical lunch with lots of rice!

A typical lunch with lots of rice!

Most regions in Ecuador follow the traditional three course meal of soup, a second course which includes rice and a protein such as meat or fish, and then dessert and coffee to finish. Supper is usually lighter and sometimes consists only of coffee or herbal tea with bread.

Argentina

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Argentina with Francesca, AIDE Abroad’s Executive Director

Facturas can be found on every street corner with tempting window sight of panaderia, a bakery

Facturas can be found on almost every street corner with tempting panaderia (bakery) windows displaying a vast selection

Before I studied abroad in Argentina, I anticipated consuming lots of steak and wine, two items for which the country is world renowned. I even knew about alfajores, a traditional dulce de leche sandwich cookie confection, but thought they were a bit sweet. I never imagined I would be torn between French and Argentine pastries!

It wasn’t long after I arrived, when my group made the 24-hour bus trip from Buenos Aires to San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, that I came to discover the medialuna. After being cramped in a bus for most of the previous day and overnight, we stopped for an early breakfast in the foothills of the Andes. Breakfast was simple: strong, steaming coffee served in metal pots, and heavenly half-moon shaped pastries known as “medialunas”. They were fresh, still warm, and light. I wondered, out loud, how many people eat.  One? It didn’t seem enough. Two? Was that too many? My Resident Director knew!  “Most people eat one,” he told me, “but “los gordos” eat two.”  Despite the warning, I soon ate two, and spent the rest of my time in Argentina sampling a wide range of medialunas and other facturas. Who knew a country so famous for its beef and wine could also compete with their divine pastries?

I have managed to find spots in the US that specialize in facturas argentinas. When lived in Miami, I frequented the Buenos Aires Bakery and Café, and here in Austin the Buenos Aires Café also offers a selection of facturas that can cure any cravings.

Factura Selection

Factura selection

Factura is the generic name given to a delicious collection of Argentinean sweet pastries. Some of these facturas are of European origin. Facturas come in different shapes and with a wide variety of fillings.

Facturas are generally eaten for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack between 17:00 and 20:00, but are not considered a dessert.

The most common factura is the medialuna, which literally translates as “half-moon”

The most common factura is the medialuna, which literally translates as “half-moon”

Indonesia

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Indonesian grilled fish with Butet, AIDE Abroad Summer Intern

My home country is a huge archipelago where ocean is the dominant space.  The length of Indonesia from East to West is almost the same length with United States. Indonesia is one of the countries listed by marine biologists, as part of the Golden Triangle of marine biology.  This triangle is the richest area in the world in marine biodiversity and is located from the Philippines down to Indonesia and across to Papua New Guinea. Needless to say, fresh tropical seafood is one of delicacies you can find in Indonesia among the broad range of traditional foods rich with spices.

Grilled fresh red snapper and grouper is my favorite meal, they are even tasty without any seasoning, when fresh. After finishing my morning jog on the beach, I would stop by to purchase some fresh seafood from the fishermen who just returned early in the morning. They offered a broad array of choices such as fish, squid, lobster, clams, prawn, and even sting rays. In the afternoon, after my diving trip, I would also find them just returning from the ocean with more fresh fish just in time for dinner in front of the sunset.

Indonesian little fisherman

Indonesian little fisherman

Get tan after snorkeling while waiting for your fresh fish to be grilled

This fresh coconut drink is a perfect match with grilled fish while you enjoy the warm white sand beach.

Just point at which one you like, head back to your seat, grab a beer, and the grilled seafood will be ready before your beer gets warm

Just point at which one you like, grab a beer, head back to your seat to enjoy the sunset, and the grilled seafood will be ready before your beer gets warm.

Chili paste and fresh vegetable is always served on the table with grilled fish

Chili paste and fresh vegetables are always served on the table with grilled fish.

Morroco

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Morocco with Natalie, AIDE Abroad Program Manager

Tajines, Marrakesh, Morocco

Tajines in Marrakesh, Morocco

Morocco is full of culture and colors that will peak your senses for days, if not weeks! After arriving, the adventure began. We wound our way through the medinas, we bathed in the warm hammams and we discovered the colorful tanneries! I was pleasantly surprised by the country’s green tea and couldn’t get enough. All too quickly, I learned women aren’t allowed to drink tea in the cafes out on the street! But that didn’t stop us. The most enticing part of Morocco is its rich curries, freshly ground spices and tajines full of stewed meats and veggies.

These photos are just a glimpse of what Morocco has to offer!

Natalie

Homemade Moroccan Meal

Homemade Moroccan Meal

Tajines in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures which result in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce

Spices, Marrakesh, Morocco

Spices in Marrakesh, Morocco

Seasonings can be traditional Moroccan spices, French, Italian or suited to the dish. Traditional spices that are used to flavor tajines include ground cinnamon, saffron, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, pepper, as well as the famous Arabian spice blend Ras el hanout.

Veggies on the Street in Fez, Morocco

Veggies on the Street in Fez, Morocco


Budapest

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Budapest with Buffy, AIDE Abroad Program Manager

Buffy and meat stew at Hungarian Palinka festival Buda Castle, Budapest

Buffy and meat stew at the Hungarian Palinka Festival - Buda Castle, Budapest

In my first months in Budapest, I had to attend the Palinka and Sausage Festival located around the famous Buda Castle.   Palinka is an exceptionally strong fruit brandy that comes in many flavors.   However, no matter what the flavor, you are sure to make a face like you just took a shot of straight tequila!  Beware not to have more than two!  Sausage and cured meats are a staple in Hungarian cuisine and by the taste of them, you can tell they’ve been curing and stuffing for decades!  The meat melts in your mouth and has just the right amount of salt and Hungarian kick!  I have to admit that I did not brave the stew as I was certain there were parts of an animal in there that I was not ready to taste  Next time!

Sausage and Palinkas (fruit brandy) of Hungarian exceptional recipes

Hungarian sausage, meats and veggies

more information about festival is here

sausages and their centuries’ old traditions and exceptional recipes

Cured meats are dried on the premises

The Palinka & Sausage Festival at Buda Castle  takes place in October and featured Hungarian Palinkas (fruit brandy) and traditional sausages

the centuries’ old gastronomic Hungarian traditions

Century old gastronomic Hungarian traditions