Buy Curious: 5 Delicious International Foods to Buy and How to Cook Them

by Madeline Raynor

If you’re like me, you have no idea what to make for dinner every single day. I will go into the kitchen and stare blankly into the refrigerator. Uhhh, I guess I could make pasta? Or grilled cheese? I have definitely already eaten at least one of these this week. Or maybe I could just microwave some MorningStar chick’n nuggets and call it a day? I feel like there are a lot of foods in the world, but my brain can only think of a handful of them when I actually need to cook a meal.

If you’re tired of cooking the same thing every week, it’s time to think outside the box when shopping for groceries. There are so many awesome international foods you can buy at the grocery store or track down at the international or gourmet market that will give your cooking some variety. Or you can just roam the aisles looking for cooking inspiration. If you neighborhood has a Polish or Indian population, visit the local supermarkets! If you can’t find international groceries near you, look on Amazon or international food shopping sites like World Market. Check out these five foods I love that are easy to cook and insanely delicious.

1. Halloumi

Halloumi is a salty Greek cheese that is excellent for grilling. You don’t even need to use any oil: halloumi can cook in its own brine. Slice it, grill it (or pan-fry it), and put it in a pita with tomato, lettuce, and onion.

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2. Spaetzle (spätzle)

This is a type of German flour dumpling that is chewy and delicious. Serve with lots of butter or garnish with herbs.

Spatzle 02

3. Paneer

Paneer is an Indian cheese that has a consistency between tofu and cheese, and it’s a great source of protein in Indian vegetable dishes like sag paneer — paneer with creamy spinach. You can buy pre-packaged paneer and add vegetables and spices.

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Saag paneer

4. Pierogies (pirogies)

You will become obsessed with these polish dumplings. They will become your new favorite starch. They can be savory (potato, cheese, meat) as well as sweet (cherry, blueberry). You can buy them frozen or raw. Fry them or boil them. Slather with butter and garnish with fried onions. You can also dip them in gravy, applesauce, or sour cream.


5. Queso Oaxaca

For Mexican dishes, queso Oaxaca tastes similar to mozzarella and it melts great in quesadillas. You can shred it and put it in a taco or burrito, too.

Mercado de Xochimilco Quesos

Header image: Pierogies, Flickr/Jacob Haas

Flickr/Stuart Webster, Wikimedia Commons, Flickr/Jeff Warren, Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons

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