You don't need to speak the local language to point and buy some food. In high school I studied a second language to order from a menu. I had no idea that food itself was the international language. Food breaks through all cultural barriers to say,
Our eyes love the colors of new foods and our taste buds are always ready for a challenge. Anything from a pickled radish to dragon fruit from Vietnam could get the purple taste buds going.
The first day I tried Kimchi I was taken for a spin. It was more than a pickle. It was a mixture of flavors from the sea and the land, hot and spicy, salty and sour and sweet at the same time. It was everything rolled up in one with probiotics that could not be beat.
I grew up in a land of corn thousands of miles from the sea, but my kids grew up eating live octopus and fresh caught fish. It's not strange to them, but it's just the way of life.
He eats them raw or cooked. He especially likes them with noodles. Since covid time we couldn't visit many places but he asks me to take him to a restaurant that sells noodles and seafood. The problem is these restaurants are closed now.
Just eat it!
The international language for hospitality accepted is an empty plate. The problem with traveling is that jet plays tricks on the stomach. The normal times for eating are off and the tiredness decreases the normal appetite. The host is happy when you love the food.
The last time I traveled I brought my teenage son with me to complete the task of finishing off the plates. We went through Southern India and came to a farm in Tamil-nadu. We were served bowls of beans and rice and chicken. What he wanted was a hamburger. I told him that was all we were getting. The host who was my friend's mom was really upset he was not eating more. My son cannot speak Tamil, but he knew what she was saying. She pointed to the food and opened up her mouth wide and then she poked him in the stomach making him flinch.
It took a poke in the stomach, but he finally learned the international language of food. It would be nice if all the food tasted the way we liked or suited all of of desires but sometimes it doesn't . The best thing to do is smile and eat. And if you are smart like my youngest son you will look for the family dog and share some of that food so it looks like you licked your plate clean. He gat a pat on the head instead of a poke in the tummy.
When we come home I settle on something closer to my ancestral roots. All we have is eggplant from the garden and some soybean tofu, but that doesn't stop me. I transform the eggplant into a meatball tasting lasagna entre. I use the tofu to cut down on the cheese in the lasagna and make a healthy Italian-Korean fusion. Even my nona would be proud of me.
Hey kiss me!!
And have an ice cream
Have some pizza while you are it.