We're still traveling...just via our own kitchens.

By Travel + Leisure Staff
Updated May 29, 2020
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For many travelers, food is synonymous with travel. For the editors of Travel + Leisure, it's a priority to try the latest, the greatest, and the most culturally important dishes wherever we go, but we totally indulge outside of work, too. Oftentimes, we'll leave a destination already missing a dish we had while there, Googling how to recreate it before we even depart.

Because most of us are finding ourselves just steps from our own kitchens every day, many of us are cooking. Often. And as travelers and lovers of food and experiences, we've definitely searched for those recipes we miss. Whether it's those buttery scones we had in London or the mysterious umami of our favorite K-town spot in New York City, we're paying homage to some of our favorite travel experiences at home.

Here are some of the dishes from around the world that we're recreating at home.

Shakshuka: Israel

I was first introduced to shakshuka many years ago at a hostel in Brazil when some Israelis, on their post-military-service backpacking trips, made dinner for us. The perfect meal for a group on tight budgets, it required few ingredients but still provided something hearty. Now that trips to the grocery store are few and far between, this is again the perfect meal to keep up your sleeve. All you need are eggs, onions, garlic, red pepper (which keep for a fairly long time in the fridge), canned tomatoes, and tomato paste — plus some fresh parsley to really do it right. Tucking into a steaming skillet of shakshuka will also transport you from your kitchen straight to a cafe in Israel, which is an especially appreciated bonus these days. Karen Chen, Editorial Producer

To recreate: crateandbarrel.com, $32

Sambar: Southern India

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my Barese grandmother and my mom, a skilled cook who manages to make even the complex dishes from Martha Stewart and Julia Childs look effortless. I still keep that inspiration in my back pocket, but I'm trying to use this time to finally learn recipes from my South Indian in-laws. Sambar, which I'll either make in my Le Creuset dutch oven or my Instant Pot, has become one of my favorite breakfasts. Ideally, I'd be eating it with dosas (can't get the batter!) or idli (no batter or molds!), but it's still pretty comforting on its own or with rice.Sarah Bruning, Senior Editor

To recreate: williams-sonoma.com, $150

Courtesy of Getty

Guacamole: Mexico

I'm quarantined in Palm Springs, California, where we're lucky to have access to plenty of fresh avocados and an amazing Mexican grocery store nearby (Cardenas, we love you). A shopping trip there feels like a mini-vacation these days — colorful piñatas! hot churros! — and always inspires us to make guacamole. I love visiting Mexico, from San Miguel de Allende to Tulum, and I had plans to go to San José del Cabo for the first time in a few weeks...but instead, I'll be here with my molcajete and tejolete, trying to DIY a Mexican fiesta at home. Nina Ruggiero, Deputy Editor

To recreate: williams-sonoma.com, $50

Moutabbel/mutabal/متبل: Levant

I lived in Abu Dhabi for two years after college, and it was some of the best eating of my life. You can get all manner of cuisine there — South Asian, East African, Eastern European, and beyond — but the Levantine food is the star. And for me, the star of any Levantine table is moutabbel. I was first introduced to this dish at Bait el Khetyar, one of my favorite restaurants in town. Think of it as a pared down, super smoky, tahini-dominant baba ganoush. It's been in heavy rotation at my house, which has got me missing the Middle East. Pro tip: for those of us without a roaring hearth, the best way to get that good good char on the eggplant is to roast it whole right on top of your gas burner. A mesh baking rack helps keep it from rolling around. — Hannah Walhout, Associate Editor

To buy: bedbathandbeyond.com, $15

Courtesy of Getty

Scones: United Kingdom

We've been watching at lot of the Great British Bake Off in our free time, which has inspired us to bake almost every day. Scones, cinnamon rolls, cookies — you name it, we've baked it within the last month. One of our favorite kitchen tools is a Silpat silicone baking sheet liner. It makes sure none of your baked goods get stuck to the bottom of the pan, and it makes clean up a breeze. Elizabeth Rhodes, Associate Digital Editor

To recreate: williams-sonoma.com, $27

Tomatillo Salsa: Mexico

Growing up, my best friend was from Guadalajara, Mexico. I first fell in love with Mexican culture (and food) at her house, practicing my Spanish and enjoying her mom’s tomatillo salsa. My friend and her family eventually moved back to Guadalajara, and when I was in college, I decided to move in with them for a few months and do a semester in Mexico. I’m not exaggerating when I say we ate tomatillo salsa every day that semester. We had it on eggs, rice and beans, cooked veggies, fish, quesadillas — you name it. I didn’t get sick of it then, and I’m still not sick of it now. The tomatillos in Brooklyn may not taste quite the same as they do in Mexico, but I make the salsa as often as I can. All you need are tomatillos, chiles, cilantro, onion, lime, salt, and a food processor or blender (I use my NutriBullet). Samantha Lauriello, Associate Social Editor

To recreate: bedbathandbeyond.com, $76

Carmelized Onions: K-Town and beyond

I've been missing Asian flavors lately, whether Hainanese chicken rice (shout out Singapore's hawker centres!) or the deep richness of Korean food (miss you, Woorijip). So at my house, it's all about adding umami when recreating a roasted rice cake dish from Momofuku. Carmelized onions are key, and a sturdy dutch oven, like an iconic Le Creuset model, makes quick work of cooking 'em down in big batches. Paul Brady, Articles Editor

To recreate: lecreuset.com, $124

Courtesy of Getty

Hummus: Middle East

While hummus and meze aren't solely Turkish, of course, they remind me greatly of my time there. My travel throughout Turkey is limited to Istanbul, Izmir, and Cappadocia, but since leaving on my last trip a few years ago, I've missed the culture around food greatly. Mezze has always been one of my family's favorite ways of eating — small dishes like tabouleh and samboo sak enjoyed with tea or wine or Raki. I've been making my own hummus in ways both traditional and non-traditional (my latest had beetroot), and while I have a ways to go before I do the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean staple justice, for now it's bringing me back and allowing us to look forward at the same time. — Kendall Cornish, Associate Digital Editor

To recreate: williams-sonoma.com, $40 (originally $90)

Courtesy of Getty

Pasta: Italy

My husband and I just moved into our first home, and as a housewarming gift, his mother sent us this pasta machine (gotta love Italians!). Making our own pasta not only sends us on an imaginary vacation to Italy, but it also helps us feel connected to his family — especially his fiery Nonna. Erin Agostinelli, Editorial Operations Manager

To recreate: williams-sonoma.com, $80

Cappuccino: Italy

Being at home has changed my routine in many ways, including how I drink my morning coffee. I miss being able to sit at my favorite neighborhood Italian coffee shop and read or chat with friends, and of course order a delicious cappuccino. Luckily, I have a coffee maker that makes espresso and a milk frother at home. I’m far from barista level, but I’ve enjoyed making my mornings a little brighter with at-home cappuccinos. Madeline Diamond, Associate Digital Editor

To recreate: williams-sonoma.com, $100

Courtesy of Getty

Crepes: France

On more than one occasion during this quarantine, I’ve found myself daydreaming of Paris — particularly, sitting at a restaurant when a tuxedo-wearing waiter waltzes over with a flaming pan, bottle of orange liqueur, and copious amounts of butter and sugar to whip up a plate of crepes Suzette. While I might not be able to witness this dramatic tableside performance for a while, I’ve made it a Sunday morning tradition to cook crepes at home. My go-to move is topping the popular French food with a classic mix of butter and sugar, but depending on my mood, I might dress it up with jam or Nutella, sprinkle on a bit of sugar and roll it up in a churro-like fashion, or even opt for a savory version, capping it with Grueyere, spinach, and a sunny-side-up egg. Because if I can’t be in Paris, I’ll bring Paris to me. Alisha Prakash, Senior Digital Editor

To recreate: williams-sonoma.com, $25

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