Our Traveling Kitchen.
I woke up with a sore throat and a sore body this morning it was clear that life on the road was taking it’s toll on me. I’m sick and in need of warm, spicy food. I need soup.
I went into the kitchen it dawned on me that I have a traveling kitchen.
No, it doesn’t have a sink or a fridge but there are certain things that I always bring with me or buy the first week I arrive on foreign soil. These items will help you save money, create great dishes and keep you healthy.
These are our traveling kitchen staples and right now I’m really glad that I have them because I’m going to make a really spicy soup to clear up my head and I don’t need to run to the store first. It’s raining out, our apartment is 71 stairs up (I counted) and a 10 minute walk from the local Conad grocery store so knowing I have everything I need makes me one happy camper right now.
Collapsible X-Bowls – We grew to love these folding bowls from Sea to Summit during our camping days and they’ve become a staple in our luggage. Did I mention you can also use them as a small cutting board and they have measurements listed inside?
Collapsible Cups – Perfect for a picnic with wine or on a train.
Fork/Knife/Spoon Set – These were another part of our camping supplies that have found their way around the world with us. These are really great and the knife works very well and doubles as a small spatula! We picked them up at REI (Utensils by Guyot Designs) where you can get the set for only $6.95 .
Tom Bihn Packing Cube Backpack – I realize this doesn’t seem like a foodie item but the reason I put it in the list is because not only is it one of our luggage staples (yes, it’s a packing cube that also happens to be a really lightweight backpack so we use it all the time) but because we use it every time we hit up a market in a new city. It carries an unbelievable amount of food so it makes carrying our local goodies a snap. Available at Tom Bihn for only $40 it’s a steal. Once you travel with it, you will never leave home without it. It has so many uses.
Corkscrew – You can open a beer with a spatula or a counter top but don’t forget a small corkscrew if you want to drink wine!
Usually I will wait until I arrive to buy these items because they are readily available and usually a lot cheaper and of better quality in most other parts of the world than you will find in the US. Even Europe is a fraction of the cost when it comes to spices.
Salt & Pepper
Oregeno and/or Basil (Dried)
Garlic – Dried or fresh garlic makes everything taste better.
Hot Pepper – Good for flavor and for adding to soup to clear up stuffy heads.
Olive Oil – Perfect for cooking veggies, starting soups, as a salad dressing or just dipping bread into.
Soup Bouillon – Another great base to travel with, add them to pasta, veggies or just to make soup.
Photo by Zach_Beauvais via Flickr.
Via by Starbucks – A few packs of Vivi Starbucks to go coffee is a no brainer. It’s small to pack and tastes great. We always travel with it because it’s good for early mornings, late nights or when the local coffee either sucks or is extremely expensive. Also, I just saw that Starbucks now has several flavors available including their special Pumpkin Latte! In addition to this we usually bring a few tea bags.
Oatmeal – Just a few packs of your favorite flavor makes for instant comfort food, cheap, filling and easy to pack too.
Raw Almonds – I bring a large resealable bag and then refill as we travel with local nuts or snacks. Why the resealable bag? Most countries don’t sell these items in resealable bags and it makes it a lot easier for transporting and snacking on travel days.
Power Bars – We bring just a couple of these for emergencies i.e. running late for a long train ride with no food or arriving on a Sunday, in certain locations, when everything is closed.
Peanut Butter – We do not bring this all the time because jars are bulky and heavy. We only bring it depending on the destination. For instance, if I’m going somewhere cold, expensive or known for their lack of vegetarian dishes then I will definitely bring a jar. When we camped in Iceland we brought a jar of Peanut Butter with us and it was great to have – we added it to oatmeal & made sandwiches with it. It is a perfect food – filling, versatile and budget friendly. It’s also very hard to find Peanut Butter around the world – yes, it’s the sad truth that most countries despise peanut butter. Actually it’s so hard to find that when we WWOOFed in Italy there were a handful of Americans in the group and we all had a hankering for one thing – peanut butter. We made our own out of the local peanuts & honey and it was amazing. Our homemade PB was so good we actually converted an Israeli, German & an Italian and they couldn’t get enough!
There are a handful of things that we usually buy on the first day we arrive as long as we are in an apartment, hostel or hotel with a mini fridge. We always prefer to stay in an apartment or a hostel because we will have access to a kitchen which really helps us save money.
Bread & Cheese – This is a staple for us, at least in Europe, and is usually the very first thing we buy. It changes depending where we travel, in Central America it would be tortillas and beans, you get the drift.
Yogurt – Local yogurt is usually very cheap, tasty and more importantly will protect your stomach from travel bugs. Always eat the local yogurt to help your stomach adjust to a new location. Travel Tip: Turkey has hands down the best yogurt I have ever tasted. Eaten plain with honey on top it is to die for. The yogurt there is so good they actually sell it by the gallon!
Hummus – I can’t find this everywhere but when I can find it I love it. It’s a complete protein, easy to eat & cheap. As a vegetarian I am always looking for hummus when I travel. Traveling tip – Iceland has the best hummus ever.
Fresh Veggies – As long as I’m in an area where I can eat fresh veggies I will always go for the basics to make my go-to around the world travel salad – tomatoes, avocados, pepper & onion.
Fresh Fruit – In certain areas of the world you have to be extremely cautious when it comes to fresh fruit and uncooked veggies. As a general rule of thumb you can eat any fruit that needs to be peeled so our first choices are usually oranges & bananas.
Beans – After learning Erica’s famous Drunken Beans recipe I am now adding it to my staple list. Cheap and easy to find around the world. Add in some rice and you have a meal!
Local Beer & Wine – We always sample the local beer and wine whenever we get the chance.
Chocolate – Somehow a chocolate item always finds it’s way into my bag because it’s important to know if you are in a good chocolate region or not…right?
So there you have it – our traveling kitchen! All the items are really portable and lightweight and our list of local staples will help you create a ton of healthy, budget friendly meals. So whether you miss a train, a plane, have no money, are homesick or just plain sick the above items will make eating on the road a lot easier!
If you need some easy recipes to make on the road (or at home) why not check out our collection of Travel Bites Recipes?
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