One of the most exciting aspects of studying abroad is the food. Despite the fact that I am in London, England, an English-speaking country, there are many cultural differences that are coming to light as I conclude my first week here. In just a short period of time, I have traveled all across the country and walked countless miles, all while learning. Food is a part of this cultural education. Because London is a global city, there is a vast variety of food. There is amazing Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indian, and Thai cuisines all throughout the city. There are, of course, pubs serving classic English dishes like steak and ale pies, fish and chips, and bangers and mash. My favorite meal thus far has been ramen from Shoryu, where I ate some of the best ramen of my life before heading to see The Phantom of the Opera in Her Majesty’s Theatre. Coming in as a close second is the British class––fish and chips. I got the classic cod with chips (fries) and lots of vinegar; it was, in one word, fantastic.
Before leaving for this study abroad opportunity, I was nervous about the food. However, meal times have become one of my favorite parts of the day. Not only do I get to try cuisines that I have limited access to in Charleston, I also get to interact with fellow students and professors. Too, restaurant settings here tend to inspire interaction with those around you, especially in pubs. Because most pubs are about socializing as opposed to just drinking alcohol (like some American bars tend to be), it is simple enough to interact with locals. When it comes to food, my advice is this: do not be afraid to try something new! I have tried dishes that I would never eat again, but I am better for it. Expanding one’s palette can only aid in one’s journey toward becoming a more global citizen.