With travel restrictions in place, many dream vacations have been put on hold. If you miss traveling and experiencing the world, why not let your kitchen take your senses on a world tour? Food is part of people’s cultural identity. Every flavor and texture tells you about the people and their lives.
You can bring the flavors of different countries in your pantry. Whip up a dish that can transport you to other places, even from the comforts and safety of your own home. From the Philippines’ sweet bagoong to Spain’s anchovies, here are some things that you should have in your kitchen:
The Philippines’s Sweet Bagoong
There are many different and flavorful Filipino dishes that you can enjoy with a bottle of sweet bagoong. You can even enjoy it on its own. A bottle of delicious bagoong is a staple in most Filipino homes. They cook it with their food or eat it with green mangoes. These sweet and tasty paste also goes well with vegetables. They are the perfect seasoning for Filipino vegetable dishes such as pinakbet. The bagoong is made from either fermented fish or shrimp paste with salt. The fermented notes of a bagoong are quite distinct and flavorful, so they are usually used to bring flavor to food.
Sriracha sauce is like ketchup for adults, spicier, and with a kick. This fiery and spicy sauce originally came from the seaside city of Racha in Thailand. There are srirachas made and sold anywhere in the world. Sriracha is a paste made from chili peppers, garlic, distilled vinegar, sugar, and salt. Although different brands can give you different flavors, sriracha usually tastes tangy, sweet, and with a hint of garlic and spice. The original Thai version has a thinner consistency, whereas the U.S. versions are generally thicker.
Japanese Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is the top ingredient in Japanese dishes. Most of their food seasoning comes from this dark liquid made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and fermented rice drink. If you frequent Japanese restaurants, then you must be familiar with a particular Japanese soy sauce brand. Lovers of Japanese foods use soy sauce on ramen, rice crackers, rice rolls, tofus, and sashimi, among many other Japanese dishes.
Anchovies are your classic Spanish tapa or appetizer. Anchovies can be salted and smoked, and the best ones usually come in a jar and not a tin can. The best thing about anchovies in a bottle is that you can use half of them on your pasta and still keep the remaining anchovies fresh without giving your fridge a weird, fishy smell. You can snack on anchovies on their own, or you can put them on your Caesar salad, pasta, and pizzas.
Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano is the real deal. This is the equivalent of the USA’s parmesan cheese. Unlike the U.S. version, Italy’s parmesan is regulated by laws that govern and oversee the production, diet of the cattle that produce the milk, and the length of aging years, among others, so that you only get the best quality parmesan cheese. They are usually aged at least two years. You can find those that have been aged three years with the label stravecchio, while those aged at least four years with stravecchiones. Italy’s parmesan cheese is not called “King of Cheeses” for nothing. Cheeses produced in Bologna, Mantua, Parma, or Modena are the only ones allowed to be called Parmagiano-Reggiano. You can grate this flavorful cheese over pasta, soup, risotto, and salad. You can even eat it on its own.
Coffee lovers should never be without a bag of Peruvian coffee beans. Peruvian coffee, grown and produced in low-altitude farmlands, has a medium body and rich notes of flowers, gentle fruit, and nuts. Medium-bodied coffee falls midway of syrupy and watery consistencies. Those produced in higher altitudes have vibrant aromas and intense notes of sweetness, with high acidity. The latter is your superior-grade beans that will give your senses a jolt with a single sip. Start your day right with a cup of this aromatic and flavorful coffee and enjoy the unique citrusy, chocolatey, and nutty notes of Peru with every sip.
Italy’s Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is prevalent in Italy, France, and Spain. This vinegar started as red wine that was left to age and ferment. They are matured in wooden casks, giving it a fragrant aroma and rich taste. They are the perfect partner for your potato salads, vegetable salads, soups, and deviled eggs. Red wine vinegar is rich with probiotics and polyphenols, which are beneficial for your health. Aside from being used as a condiment, some drink them straight for their health benefits.
Stock your kitchen with these amazing and tasty pantry essentials. Treat your taste buds and enjoy the best of different worlds with every bite or sip.