When you want to be able to cook on your own where ever you are, I recommend the following essentials to you. Maybe you wonder: why should I want to cook on my own when I’m traveling countries where everything is cheap? – Believe me, when you travel longer than a few weeks you normally start to miss some very simple things. A good espresso coffee in the morning. Pancakes as you do them. A fried egg for breakfast. Porridge. Stuff like that. Maybe you are in a quite touristic area where you can get all these things. But I personally appreciate so much having breakfast at home, not seeing anyone for the first hours of the day, not having to decide what I order, but preparing a nice breakfast for myself, just the way I like it.
It can be so disappointing when you order something and then get it differently than expected. It happened to me so often with coffee in India: they use to make Nescoffee similar to chai tea which means that they prepare it with boiling hot water – the coffee gets bitter and doesn’t taste nice at all. I don’t have to mention that I’m not even a fan of Nescoffee. That’s when I started to take a small light weight travel stove with me … and my espresso maker. My husband exaggerates bringing also a small milk frother – for the perfect latte macchiato in the morning! I personally think „That’s too much“, but I can’t deny enjoying every zip of my latte…
Back to the topic: What do I recommend as a small travel kitchen?
- An electric travel stove, about 1 kg, as small as possible. It should be compact. Expect to be asked some questions at the airport about the stove. Have it ready to unpack. Make clear it is electric and has nothing to do with gas. It’s no problem to have it in your check-in luggage.
- A pot, around 1 liter. Maybe you find the combination of pot and pan. That’s very handy since you can boil hot water for your tea or fry an egg in the same pot/pan. Watch out that the handle is removable or flexible.
- A big pot, around 2,5 liter, with cover. I’m a big fan of articles of „sea to summit“. Their collection of pots, cups and plates that you can fold is the best! The pot we use is made of silicon, light weight, and you can fold it. There are similar collections of other brands. Check it out.
- We use 2 plates which are bowls when unfolded.
- We carry 1 sharp knife made of ceramic (very light weight) which you can fold. Plus 2 forks and 2 spoons (for 2 people). That’s enough.
- I take a small sieve with me for tea. I removed the handle.
What do you appreciate most about cooking? Is it the espresso coffee? What else do you enjoy most during the day? Even if you’re not traveling at the moment it’s a nice thing to think about.
There is the possibility to rent a room or an apartment with kitchen, of course. Sometimes these places are harder to find or not directly on the beach. It’s worth considering if you’d like to have a fridge. This gives you more options for cooking in a hot country. Airbnb makes it quite easy to find places with kitchen. If you prefer to be flexible, stay at the beach and cook on your own you’re on the same page as I.
Let me end this post mentioning some more advantages: To cook on your own means being more independent from your environment. You can eat what you like and when you like it. In Sri Lanka for example there is not much local food. Rice and Curry and different styles of Roti don’t satisfy me. It’s really tasty but after two weeks you’ve seen it! Being able to cook on your own gives you freedom. Usually you get fresh vegetables and fruit and other ingredients you might need easily on the market or in the supermarket. A big plus: you save a lot of money! In southeast Asian countries fresh vegetables and fruit are the cheapest thing you can buy! This is great! You can eat fresh and healthy and save money. Yes, I know eating out is not expensive there but as a long term traveler it really makes a difference. Spending less money simply means to travel longer around the globe!