If you have ever traveled or even just learned about another culture, you probably already know that there is one thing all cultures and communities have in common: a love for food. However, each culture has a unique set of ingredients, dishes, and culinary traditions to celebrate, and we as travelers, get to explore a whole world of tasty opportunities.
Here at USAC, we love food, and we understand that cuisine is a key piece of every culture. We know what it’s like to find your new favorite dish abroad, to fall in love with your host mom’s cooking, to master a new dish in your cuisine course, and to miss your favorite local treats when you return home.
While we can’t travel to new lands and taste new cuisines (and some old favorites), we’re definitely thinking about it… and we know you are too. That’s why we wanted to bring international cooking to you at home with the USAC cookbook. “The Global Kitchen,” is an eye-catching and delicious collaboration with our Resident Directors and program staff. It features entrée, side dish, and dessert recipes from around the world and includes personal stories from our on-site teams. Each recipe represents a significant dish in the host culture of its corresponding program location and celebrates one of everyone’s favorite aspects of study abroad: connecting with others through food.
Flip through our cookbook virtually and then share your recreation of these recipes with us on social media @studyabroadusac and #CookingWithUSAC.
Here are a couple of these recipes in action being cooked by our Resident Directors! Bon Appétit!
By: Renato Carvalho, Resident Director
Brigadeiro is known as Brazil’s — and USAC students’ — favorite sweet! The name brigadeiro means “brigadier” in English. According to popular beliefs, the Brigadeiro was created in honor of Brazilian Brigadier Eduardo Gomes in the ‘40s. Gomes was a good-looking fellow, and because of that, he had many female fans that ended up creating this candy that now carries his title. In spite of Eduardo Gomes’ good looks, he will be forever remembered in every Brazilian birthday party since brigadeiros of all kinds are always served at birthday parties across the country.
Gongbao Jiding (Kung Pau Chicken)
By: Wentao Song, Resident Director
Gongbao Jiding is one of the most popular Sichuan dishes that our students love and also learn to make in Sichuan Cuisine class.
Ding Baozhen, a Guizhou native, served under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Emperor Xianfeng as the governor of Shandong province, then transferred to Sichuan.
When he was in Sichuan, one day he brought home a group of friends, but his cook hadn’t prepared anything for guests and only had some chicken breast and some peanuts in the kitchen. The cook decided to combine ingredients from the famous spicy chicken from Guizhou (which was the Governor’s hometown) and Beijing chicken sauce, which is a famous dish in Shandong Cuisine (one of the four major cuisines in China).
Ding Baozhen and his guests really enjoyed the improvised meal, and it became a regular item on the menu. The people honored Ding Baozhen by naming the dish after his courtesy name, Gongbao.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
By: Jum Tippawan, Resident Director
Khao Soy was brought to Chiang Mai about 70 years ago by a Chinese Muslim family that migrated fromYunnan, a province in China. They made a living by selling Khao Soy noodles to the locals. However, the original recipe, which was mainly egg noodles with clear broth and beef or chicken, was later modified by Mr. Pun, a Chiang Mai man who worked for them and took over the business when they moved away. Mr. Pun added coconut milk and more spice to make Khao Soy tastier and to suit Thais’ palate. Since then Khao Soy has been a popular dish and identified as a Chiang Mai’s specialty, highly recommended to Chiang Mai visitors to try.
Although the steps of making Khao Soy are not so simple, it is worth a try because you will find Khao Soy not only a mouth-watering dish that is pleasant to the eye but also a perfect combination of rich flavors, various interesting textures, and a wonderful aroma that will just blow your mind. This is why it is a must to share this dish to the world! I am convinced because almost all of USAC students in my cooking class rated Khao Soy the best dish they ever had, and some loved Khao Soy so much that they bought the ingredients to cook it for their friends and families in the U.S.
Check out our YouTube channel for more cooking videos and an inside look into studying abroad!