There’s no better way to connect with the world than through food. Every region in every corner of the world boasts its own unique flavors, cooking traditions, and culinary styles begging to be sampled and cherished.

But as food-lovers everywhere will attest to, it’s no easy feat to sample the diverse array of food scattered across the globe. Airfare is expensive and work beckons. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for the same old foods. There are plenty of ways to explore the best food the world has to offer without boarding a plane or even leaving home.

So whether you’ve used up all your vacation days, can’t afford to take the family abroad, or have simply grown tired of the usual fare, read on for 5 tips on how to sample the best foods the world has to offer without ponying up for a flight.

Build a “Cookbook Library”

Cookbooks offer a great peek into different cooking styles and culinary traditions. While you may have a kitchen shelf dedicated to easy recipes or quick family meals, consider expanding your collection with vintage and new cookbooks from chefs who have traveled and accumulated their knowledge.

Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is an accessible and celebrated gateway into French cuisine. “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking,” by Marcella Hazan, is the Italian equivalent of Child’s masterpiece and is more than capable of transporting your kitchen–and your taste buds–to the Mediterranean. Both Anthony Bourdain and David Chang, contemporary chefs well-known for following their stomachs across the globe, have produced cookbooks that serve as great depositories for hidden culinary gems gathered from every part of the world.

And don’t forget your local used or specialty bookstore. Chances are the cooking section will be packed with exotic, obscure, and enlightening cookbooks sure to have recipes and tips that will surprise and tantalize you.

Shop at Specialty Markets

Sometimes unfamiliarity is all it takes to trigger inspiration. Next time you go shopping, skip the mega-market, where you likely have your shopping routine down pat. Instead, consider heading out to a specialty store or global food market where you’ll be introduced to flavors and ingredients that might fall outside of your usual accoutrements.

Most mid-to-large-sized cities will have a Korean market, Kosher deli, Italian grocer, or Greek butcher, and these are perfect places to escape a culinary rut and experience the flavors of a new place. Perusing the aisles of specialty markets is sure to whet your appetite and inspire you to incorporate new ingredients into your cooking. If it helps, bring a cookbook from your growing collection and try your hand at a global dish that you may not have thought of at the bland supermarket down the road.

Expand Your (Delivery) Horizons

Fine, even laboring in the kitchen over new and exotic recipes may be too much of a commitment for many of us. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for the same old take-out, though.

You can spice up your culinary life even while ordering in. Delivery platforms such as Grubhub offer an easy and accessible window into thousands of eateries in our hometowns, and it’s possible to discover many hidden gems and new finds simply by scrolling through the options and trying something new. You can also opt for meal delivery kits, which allow you to get creative in the kitchen while experimenting with new foods. This review shows how companies like Home Chef are making our culinary lives more convenient while at the same time opening us up to new flavors, dishes, and cooking techniques.

Taste the World from Home

There will never be enough time to sample all the delicacies the world has to offer. But that’s no excuse for defaulting to the same food time and time again. Even if you can’t travel the world searching for hidden gems and Michelin-rated restaurants, you can still enjoy the culinary fruits of cultures from all over the globe. So next time you start craving a burger, pick up a cookbook, head out to a specialty market, or even take a chance on a new Grubhub find…and transport yourself to another world.



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