Top 10 Indian food to carry while traveling abroad
Posted On April 6, 2020
Many people travel for work or pleasure these days to different parts of the world. As much as one might like the idea of seeing new places and experiencing new lives and lifestyles, it is very likely the food in different parts of the world may not suit your palate. Therefore, as the cliche goes – ‘better be safe than sorry’ – so, many people plan on some staple Indian food to carry while traveling abroad. Precisely, when they travel anywhere.
There are many practical reasons why you should carry some amount of food as you travel, they could be useful if you suddenly face a calamity, a delay in reaching your destination, have a sudden sugar dip, are stranded due to unexpected circumstances, and others. However, when it comes to traveling outside the country, not only does the food you carry help you weather the new food options, but it also gives you a sense of home when you look at things you are familiar with.
First things first, before you start packing there are some things you must understand what food items to carry while traveling aboard and why:
1. Your eating habits
Typically your eating habits will determine how much support you will need in terms of the food you carry. For instance, if you are someone who is a hardcore vegetarian, or vegan, you might find it more difficult to find food outside of India. Especially food which suits the typical Indian palette may be hard to find.
2. Duration of the trip
Depending on how long your trip is will determine the kind of things you have to carry and how much of it you will need to carry. For instance, if it is a week or a month’s trip, there might be some value in carrying enough for that duration. However, if you are going to travel for a year or more, you might be better served to carry a sustainable amount and have stuff sent to you from time to time.
3. The location you are traveling to
In our global village today, India and Indian food has a fairly decent exposure with the locals in different countries. For instance, if you go to countries like the USA or Canada, you will have many Indian stores and restaurant options in many areas. This is because there have been many Indians that have migrated to those countries before. However, if the town or city you are going to does not have exposure to Indian cuisine you might have more trouble finding the food you prefer.
4. Your travel budget
Budget is always a consideration. It is always important to remember Indian food typically is more expensive than the local food. A good equivalent could be how Italian cuisine maybe is more expensive than Indian local cuisine in India. If you have the money, you can eat out. If you do not, you are better served to carry lots of back up.
5. Your tolerance to new cuisine
If you are a picky eater, then chances are your luggage is bound to get heavier. For instance, if you are a vegetarian, but do not mind settling for soups, bread, salads and so on for a meal, then you might not need to carry too much. However, if you like your food only a certain way, then food would need to occupy a bigger space in your luggage.
6. Access to a kitchen
What you carry will depend on your access to a kitchen. If you have access to a kitchen, there is value in carrying things that you can cook as basics and carrying accompaniments to what you cook. However, if you don’t have access to a kitchen, then carrying accompaniments will only add to the weight.
7. Your cooking skills
As much as you have the tools, it’s important to have the talent as well. Can you cook basic things like boiling rice, heating water, etc will also determine what you will carry and if you should carry a few things?
Now, this said, once all the above have been determined or answered here is a list of food to carry while traveling that can be a good option to carry along with you as you embark on the adventure:
Best Indian food to carry while traveling abroad:
Khakhra commonly considered a snack amongst Rajasthanis and Gujaratis is a great travel companion. They have a cracker-like consistency and are made of wheat like roti and then toasted on a special machine. Additionally, it comes in different flavors (such as plain, jeera, methi, masala and more) and is easy to carry without the risk of spilling over or soiling the other items in your luggage. It comes with a long shelf life of sometimes even a year.
Thepla is softer and made typically of multi-grains. Though it looks very much like a roti or a paratha, it is mixed using milk or curd. This helps the thepla survive for longer. It is popular and hails from the same region as the Khakhra and is also available in multiple flavors (such as masala, methi and curd paratha). When packed properly this too is easy to transport.
Mathri, also known as, mathi hails primarily from Rajasthan. It is a snack that can easily be interpreted as a biscuit that is flaky and originated in the Indian subcontinent. This Indian biscuit is ready to eat and convenient to carry. The most fuss you may need to do with it is to pair it with some form of pickle to enhance the taste or just have it with your favorite flavor of the tea.
It is very unlikely that anyone who has grown up in an average household in India has not heard of Maggi. These packets of instant noodles, in less than 5 minutes, with just a bowl and a mug of hot water can take you right back home to India. This is no matter where you are traveling or what the circumstance is.
5. Specific spices
If you are traveling to a new city abroad, it might take you a little while before you figure out what you get where. You might have to look, ask around, explore before you find the store that provides everything you need. But before you get to that point, it might be a good idea to carry some basic spices you commonly use, especially if you intend to cook.
Pickles, though made differently in different parts of India, are a staple in every meal. Carrying your favorite pickles can be a great comforter. You can use it as an accompaniment to the khakhras, theplas and other snacks. Alternately, just cook some plain rice and mix it with the pickle and get some yogurt or curd, and you are set for the meal. However, since this comes with oil and has the risk of spilling over, ensure that the packing for it is foolproof and effective.
There are many snacks in different parts of the country that again are great companions as short eats. Some snacks to carry while travelling includes Murukku, Ribbon Pakoda, Mixture, Chiwda and more. As long as they are not very oily or watery, all kinds of snacks that work for you can be carried and enjoyed in a faraway land.
8. Dry Sweets
If you have a sweet tooth, dry sweets are certainly something you can consider carrying. There are a host of sweets that you can carry while you travel abroad. Sweets like different forms of ladoos, Kaju Katli, Burfi and so on are some ideas. It is recommended you avoid sweets like rasgulla, rasmalai, Gulab jamoon and so on only because they run the risk of leaking. But remember sweets tend to have a shorter shelf life.
9. Dry Fruits
There could hardly be a healthier option when it comes to snacking. They make for a healthy snack to carry while traveling. Carry some dry fruits, so no matter how much sweet and snacks you might eat, dry fruits are always a healthier option. Carry enough dry fruits such as almonds, walnuts, pista, cashews, raisins, and so on, to ensure you have this healthier option till you settle down and find them or find local alternatives in the new land.
10. Powder Mixes
Many cooked powders can be mixed with cooked rice and make for a delicious meal. Particularly in the south of the Vindhyas, there are many options of powders available and some of them are very similar and called different names. Some of the options include puliogare bath, Kandhi podi, gun powder, bisibele bhath, molaga podi, vangi bhath powder, and so on. Many options are cooked uniquely in different households and these days are also available over the counter. This simple yet scrumptious South Indian food to carry while travelling abroad when packed well.
As much as this may not be considered food, it may be important to get a basic first aid kit including the common medicines that you are used to. If, god forbid, you fall sick you may need to activate your insurance and see a doctor, however, some fall back medicines that you are used to will not hurt.
Everything said and done, traveling abroad is an adventure in itself. However, it is also true that you are what you eat. If you can get access to a piece of home to give you the comfort you need when you feel vulnerable in a new and unknown place, you will not regret it. However far you travel, no matter what new things you see, despite the experiences you have, irrespective of the adventures you embark on, sometimes getting back to the familiar can make all the difference. Sometimes, just in those times, when you miss home; the food you carry can bring you back briefly to a life you knew and give you the comfort you need to put your head down and carry on.