What’s The Most Interesting Tradition You’ve Discovered Abroad?

“Hey, What would you say to a Georgian cooking class? Want to come along?”

My friend Karen (not my daughter, Caryn) called the other day and mentioned a local restaurant that is offereing ethnic cooking classes and this one happens to be on the Republic of Georgia. Georgia (the country) has a rich heritage in food and wine (as opposed to traditional fried chicken and beer here in our state of Georgia!)

That got me to thinking about the traditions of food and culture we have seen and participated in around the globe. I wrote a post about New Year’s traditions that had 278 shares in the first day and another on some, uh, well, unusual traditions, foods, and cultural taboos that made lots of people smile!  (Haggis, or Durian, anyone?)

Somehow, though, in all my reading and searching, I completely missed these unusual trends in South Korea, (captured here for us courtesy of via Refinery 29 on Wanderlusters.com):

I was trying to figure out how this trend or tradition could ever work in a Muslim country?  Would men wear  a matching Burka, chador, or head scarf?   No, I don’t think that would ever go over, even if it wasn’t a religious custom. Although several of the Iranian women I have met have said the chador actually affords them a lot of freedom to wear short skirts and make-up underneath… still, I can’t see men wearing short skirts or make-up either… 🙂  Sorry guys!

Sticking with make-up, South Korea sets the pace again with a unique tradition- another one besides their fascination with cute poo.

photo image of confection in Korea called poop treats, styled to look like piles of poop colored like peeps marshmallow confections

odd quote ”

“Ever felt the overwhelming desire to clasp your hands
together & attempt to insert your index and middle finger
                        into another’s anal region?
Well, gird your loins whilst in Korea because both
children and adults alike may catch you unaware with a
swift poke and a cry of “Ddong chim!” or “poop needle.”

Ok, so moving right along… (Kind of makes me understand the Brits when they say, “Mind your back!” They must’ve been to South Korea at some point prior!)

No, this tradition comes to you from the cosmetics maker who also want to promote the region’s “therapeutic mud”.  I don’t know what kind of therapy this is, but I kind of like the idea of being a Golden girl… for a day!

In Baku, they have oil baths- literally you soak in a tub full of black oil… supposed to be wonderful for arthritic joints and aching feet!  People who have done this for years, swear by it.  Thanks, I believe I’ll just settle for a plain old hot tub with bubbles!

Special Food Celebrations

Going back to the food section of memory lane here, every expat I know has tasted something and wished s/he hadn’t… But has likewise, also fallen in love with at least one dish from their stay abroad.

My friend, Karen, loves Georgian Khachapuri- sometimes as simple as a kind of deep dish cheese pizza (no sauce, though) or more complex styles with a soft egg on top- always delicious and filling! Learning how to make this in a cooking class stateside would just be delightful!  (We’ll see if I can do it- and what region version they teach us!)

My daughter Caryn has a thing for lamb kebabs with Sumac, when she can get it.

My affinity for Turkish cuisine stems from many happy holidays spent with good friends along the Marmara. When I was in Singapore, of all places, I had a wonderful “Moroccan” salad with mint, cinnamon, raisins and pine nuts. I have no idea if any of that is actually Moroccan, but it was delicious!

There is just something about traditional foods, especially homemade foods, as we head into our cold months north of the equator, that is comforting.

Saveur Magazine Tweet for cook bool




Cooking By Hand, Paul Bertolli

So, all this writing about food is making me hungry!  How about you?

What’s your favorite tradition or food that you discovered abroad?

Can you recreate it at home or wherever you are now?  I’d love to hear about your traditions and new customs!

While I’m thinking of holidays and traditional foods, for those celebrating Diwali, we’ll finish with a clip for you!  Enjoy!

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