Rules for eating in foreign countries

coffee and cake at The Plate, Yeonhui

coffee and cake at The Plate, Yeonhui

Eating at home is an easy thing but what do you do abroad?
It’s all about thrills but soon you’re juggling
budget and belly, boldness and balance
and even while you gorge yourself on gorgeousness
and noodles and gimbap and bibimbap
you’ve gotta keep those mitochondria buzzing
in your dear old worn-out home-grown gut
and preferably without a lot of fussing.

Here are my travel rules for eating.

  1. Breakfast as familiar and normal as possible
  2. Main meal (whenever) as surprising and foreign as possible
  3. Snack (whenever) as cheap and healthy as possible.

Rules are made to be broken and these dainty
cherry, chocolate and green tea cakes
were my main meal yesterday.

Travel notes and photo CC BY 2.0 Rachel McAlpine while at Seoul Art Space—Yeonhui. Please feel free to share.

15 thoughts on “Rules for eating in foreign countries

  1. Excellent to have a few rules when out and about. My own rule when I am in my home country is not to stop to eat (if I am just shopping etc), but to look forward to a lovely cup of home made tea when I get home. In a foreign country I would be looking for a vegan option somewhere. Not always easy but doable.

    1. I’m glad it’s doable.

  2. Excellent rules! My husband and I follow pretty much the same ones (most of the time) when we travel too.

  3. Mr. Wapojif says:

    And don’t chew with your mouth open. That’s very rude anywhere, surely?

    1. Thanks for the tip. I am sure to be making many faux pas.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I have to focus on maintaining my vegetable intake. I think most Americans see veggies as sides, not mains.

    1. True. This is hard enough even when eating out on your home turf!

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I finally bought a freezer on the bottom refrigerator so I have all my fruits and veggies at eye level. That way I eat them up!

  5. puppy1952 says:

    Very good rules! Breakfast is usually easy – a choice of many things and there is always fruit and yogurt. Main meal must be what the locals eat. Part of the joys of travel is experiencing different food.

  6. hilarymb says:

    Hi Rachel – oh how true that is … I love my fruits and veggies – and they are necessities of my life. It must be quite challenging for you … but it seems you’re going in the right direction … take care and enjoy all the new foods one by one as time goes on for you. The water is always different – and that makes for trials too … cheers Hilary

    1. I’m as safe in Seoul as anywhere, no problems thanks!

  7. Love your rules.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:


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