Experience different cultures through your taste buds with these delightful recipes you can make at home. Each recipe has been tested and approved by our staff (some were even passed down from relatives!) and is sure to whisk you away to the beaches of Tahiti and Indonesia, the fjords of Norway, and to the markets of Morocco. Browse some of our favorite recipes below—we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
- Eplekake (Norwegian apple cake)
- Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese fried rice pancakes)
- Poisson Cru or E’ia Ota (Tahitian raw fish)
- Greek Moussaka
- Ajiaco Colombiano
- Indonesian Beef Rendang
- Rinderrouladen (German beef rouladen)
- Moroccan Chicken Tagine
- Pisco Sour
1. Eplekake (Norwegian apple cake)
“This recipe is based on a family favorite that was taught to me from memory. It reminds me of birthdays and holidays spent along the fjords. Hardangerfjord, Norway, is especially known for its apples, and cider and apple cake are very much part of our Norway’s Fjord Country itinerary.”
—Emily Vernizzi, WT Europe Specialist
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 apples, thinly sliced
- Brown sugar, to taste
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly stir dry mix into the butter mixture.
- Pour combined mixture into a buttered and floured 9” circular cake pan. Cover the top in apple slices—get creative with the design—then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
2. Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese fried rice pancakes)
“I backpacked through Vietnam and Cambodia and joined this cooking class to meet other travelers. Little did I know that this class took place in a very tiny house in the countryside next to a beautiful green rice paddy and was filled with the most amazing people from all over the world. I wanted to share this recipe with you from Chef Hung Nguyen and his family of Hoi An, Vietnam!”
—Katy Andrews, WT Europe Specialist
Makes 6-8 small pancakes
- 3 cups + 3 tablespoons of rice flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon scallions
- 1/2 cup shrimp
- 1/2 cup ground pork (these can also be substituted with mung beans and tofu for a veggie version)
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground saffron
- 1/4 cup bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup onion (1/2 medium onion), diced
- Cilantro (optional)
- Cooking oil
- Combine rice flour, water, eggs, scallions, salt, and ground saffron in a bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat frying pan with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Once hot, add a few pieces of pork and shrimp into the pan and stir-fry them.
- Spread a thin layer of the flour mixture into the pan and cover with a lid for 1 minute, or until the watery dough is well-done and edges of the dough are brown.
- When the dough becomes loose in the pan and is a crispy golden brown color, add a bit of the diced onions and bean sprouts, then use a spatula to fold the dough in half (this should resemble an omelette)
- Serve with sweet and sour sauce and top with cilantro if you wish! (See below for recipe if you wish to make homemade sauce)
Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- 2-3 finger-length chilies
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Using a blender or mortar and pestle, grind chilies and garlic together to form a coarse paste
- Combine chili paste with all other ingredients and mix in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
- Serve with bánh xèo and enjoy!
3. Poisson Cru or E’ia Ota (Tahitian raw fish)
“I spent seven years studying coral reefs in French Polynesia and had this dish about once a week, so it’s definitely nostalgic! Reminds me of driving around Mo’orea, looking for fresh-caught fish hanging from lines strung up between palm trees, chatting with the fishermen, cracking fresh coconuts, and eating dinner on the dock at sunset. Many of my fondest memories from my time here revolve around this dish and the people it brought together.”
—Jenny Gowan, WT Africa Specialist
- 1 pound fresh, sushi-grade fish: ahi tuna, yellowfin tuna, halibut, or snapper
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 tablespoons salt, plus more for seasoning
- 3/4 to 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, or about 6 to 8 limes, enough to cover the fish once it’s diced
- 3/4 cup whole fat coconut milk (fresh is best!)
- Pepper to taste
Optional ingredients, add to taste:
- Carrot, peeled and grated
- Cucumber, seeded and diced
- Scallions, sliced into rings
- Unsweetened fresh coconut shreds
- Dice fish into 3/4 inch pieces, then cover with cold water and 2 tablespoons of salt (add a few ice cubes if the water is not chilled). Let fish sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, juice the limes.
- Drain fish and pat dry. Submerge fish in fresh lime juice; you need enough lime juice to cover the fish. Let the fish marinate, stirring occasionally, for 15-30 minutes.
- While fish is marinating, prepare vegetables. You may use any or all of the vegetables listed above; reserve a little of each on the side for garnish.
- Marinate fish until the edges are opaque and the center of each piece is still pink. Drain the lime juice, then return the fish to the bowl.
- Stir in the fresh vegetables and coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to marinate in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
- Serve cold garnished with fresh vegetables, or over coconut rice!
Not a fan of raw fish? Don’t worry, acid from the lime juice “cooks” the fish slightly.
For help deciding which fish is best for consumption, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app, visit NOAA’s Fishwatch, or the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector.
4. Greek Moussaka with Beef or Mushrooms
“This dish is like comfort food for me. It is rich and filling, and the nutmeg and cinnamon give it a unique flavor that makes me want a second helping! This recipe was shared by one of our Trip Leaders, Kostas Vasileiou. It goes great with a light Greek salad, of course.”
—Angela Beggs, WT General Manager
- 3 potatoes
- 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 zucchinis, medium
- 2 eggplants
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, for sauteing
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 pinches granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 level teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups ground beef or mushrooms
- 2 cups canned tomatoes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- Pepper, ground, to taste
- 1 pinch nutmeg, ground
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 egg yolks
- Place a deep pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and let it get hot.
- Peel the potatoes and slice them into thin rounds.
- Slice the eggplants and zucchini into thin rounds and fry in a separate pan for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a baking pan lined with paper towels. Drain excess oil.
- Meanwhile, create the filling. Place a pot over high heat and add the olive oil.
- Coarsely chop the onion and add to the pan.
- Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan along with thyme and sugar. Saute for 2-3 minutes until they caramelize nicely.
- Add the ground meat or mushrooms and break it up with a wooden spoon. Saute until golden brown.
- Add the tomato paste and saute so that it loses its bitterness.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat and add the parsley and coarsely chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Next, create the béchemal sauce.
- Place a pot over medium heat.
- Add the butter and let it melt.
- Add the flour and whisk until it soaks up all of the butter.
- Add the milk in small batches while continuously whisking so that no lumps form.
- As soon as the béchamel sauce thickens and bubbles start to form on the surface, remove from heat.
- Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup parmesan, and 3 egg yolks. Whisk thoroughly.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a 9×12 baking pan, spread a layer of potatoes, cover with a layer of eggplants, and top with a layer of zucchini. Season in between layers.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of béchamel sauce to the ground filling mixture and mix. Spread the filling over the vegetables.
- Cover with the béchamel sauce, spreading it evenly and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of grated parmesan.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- When ready, remove from the oven and allow cooling.
5. Ajiaco Colombiano
“Ajiaco is on the menu in every restaurant and every household of my husband’s hometown of Bogota, Colombia. It’s the Andean region’s comfort food—perfect for chilly mountain evenings. I learned this recipe from my mother-in-law, and it reminds me of her gathering the family around every Sunday, showering everyone with love through soup. As a vegetarian, I use vegetable broth and no chicken which works just as well.”
—Tana Hakanson, WT Area Specialist
- 3 green onions
- Large bunch cilantro, de-stemmed
- 5 large cloves garlic
- Small onion or shallot, chopped (optional)
- 7-8 cups vegetarian broth (I use “Better Than Bouillon”)
- 4 large Russet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
- 2 ears of corn (husked and chopped into 2 inch long chunks)
- 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped
- Whipping cream, whipped
- In a blender or food processor, combine green onions, large bunch cilantro, cloves garlic, and small onion or shallot until desired consistency. This is the soup base.
- Heat soup base in a little oil
- Add broth and potatoes (best to heat broth before adding)
- Add chopped corn pieces
- Cook until potatoes soft and corn cooked, mash most of the potatoes with a wooden spoon on side of pot, or a masher (to thicken it like a stew)
- Add cilantro, avocados, capers, and whipped whipping cream
Serve with the following side (all essential for best flavor):
- White long grain rice cooked (I cook it the Colombian way—fry it in a little oil, then add water and plenty of salt, boil, then cover and turn heat to the lowest possible setting until done)
“When we first moved to Jeju Island off the coast of mainland South Korea, I did not like kimchi at all. I slowly grew to love it, and now I’m making it at home long after we left the island as nostalgic comfort food. I love eating it with a hot rice dish for the cold, crunchy contrast. I often use water instead of fish sauce or shrimp paste for a vegetarian option.”
—Mackenzie O’Connell, WT Special Projects
- 1 medium head napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup iodine-free sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce or salted shrimp paste, or 3 tablespoons water
- 1 to 5 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), depending on how spicy you want it
- 8 ounces Korean radish or daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 4 medium scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem into quarters. Cut the cores from each piece. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.
- Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Add enough water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1-2 hours.
- Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times. Set aside to drain in a colander for 15-20 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, add the garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce, shrimp paste, or water and stir into a smooth spice paste. Stir in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 4 tablespoons); set aside until the cabbage is ready.
- Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and add it to the spice paste. Add the radish and scallions.
- Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. Gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and odors!
- Pack the kimchi into a 1-quart jar. Press down on the kimchi until the brine (the liquid that comes out) rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top. Seal the jar.
- Place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow. Let the jar stand at cool room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 1-5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid.
- Check the kimchi once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two.
7. Indonesian Beef Rendang
“The lemongrass and serrano pepper in this dish are perfectly complementary, and the spices bring me right back to enjoying meals on the beach and on board our traditional Indonesian schooner in Raja Ampat, with the warm breezes and stunning views of the limestone islands.”
—Sydney Dillon, WT Area Specialist
- 2 pounds beef
- 2 1/4 cups coconut cream
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 candlenuts (macadamia nuts are also a good substitute)
- 12 cloves chopped garlic
- 2 1/2 cups red chili (serrano chili pepper)
- 2 1/4 cups onions
- 1/4 cup ginger
- 1/4 cup galangal
- 3 tablespoons ground turmeric, or 1/4 cup fresh turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 10 cloves
Seasonings and Spices:
- 4 stalks lemongrass, chopped
- 3 wedges kaffir lime leaves
- 1 piece asam keping
- 2 turmeric leaves, tied up
- Cut the beef into 1-inch squares, 1/4 inch thick. Do not cut the beef too small as the meat can break into smaller pieces during cooking.
- Blend together all the necessary ingredients, set the blender aside.
- Remove the green section and the outer sheath of the lemongrass. Use only the white portion. Finely chop or grind them so that the lemongrass releases the flavor.
- Heat vegetable oil in a wok. Saute the blended spice paste over low heat until aromatic.
- Add the coconut cream, turmeric leaves, kaffir lime leaves, asam keping, and lemongrass into the wok.
- Add the beef and cook over medium heat. Bring the coconut milk to a boil.
- Once it is boiled, continue to simmer over low heat. Add water from time to time when the stew is about to dry.
- Cook until the beef absorbs the flavor of the spices thoroughly and the color turns to dark brown. It will take about three hours.
- Served with rice or bread.
8. Rinderrouladen (German beef rouladen)
“It might not look the prettiest, but this dish is the tastiest. I love that my mom learned this recipe from her mother and drives two hours to get the ‘right’ meat for the dish. It reminds me that even if things don’t look pretty they can still be wonderful.”
—Brendt Uebel, WT Area Specialist
- 2 1/2 pounds lean high-quality beef round steak, cut into 8 equal rectangular sections and pounded flat
- 8 tablespoons yellow mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup dill pickle, finely chopped (may use dill relish)
- 1/4 cup oil, for frying
- 3 1/2 cups hot water, to cover (or hot beef broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced (for garnish)
- Wooden toothpick (or may use cooking twine or white thread for securing rouladen)
- Spread 1 tablespoon mustard evenly on one side of each pounded steak.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over mustard.
- Evenly sprinkle chopped bacon, onion, and pickles over the mustard side of each steak.
- Roll up firmly jelly-roll fashion (with filling to inside, starting at narrow end), and secure each rouladen shut (so the filling stays in) with wooden toothpicks, cooking twine, or white sewing thread.
- In a large dutch oven, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat. When hot, carefully add the rouladen rolls. Fry until nicely browned, turning once (about 7 minutes per side).
- Add enough hot water or broth to almost cover the rouladen. Add bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours on low heat, checking once halfway through to give a stir and see that meat is covered with sufficient liquid (you may add a little hot water at this point, if necessary).
- With a large slotted spoon, carefully remove the rouladen from the hot broth to an oven-proof dish; cover with foil and keep warm in the oven while making the gravy.
To make gravy:
- Add the flour to 1 cup of water in a large measuring cup, whisking briskly with a fork to blend.
- Pour the flour mixture all at once into the hot broth, using a wire whisk to blend. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and stir them into the gravy.
- Increase heat to medium-high, and bring gravy mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk and boil for two to three minutes, until gravy thickens. Reduce heat to low, and remove the bay leaf. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Using a large slotted spoon, carefully place the rouladen into the hot gravy; cover, and warm through for a few minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve. (Note: Remove toothpicks and twine or thread before serving).
9. Moroccan Chicken Tagine
“When I make this traditional North African stew, the aromatic fragrances take me back to when I explored the winding streets of the colorful spice souks in Marrakesh, where vibrant spices are heaped in large cone shapes that delight the senses. The dish is slow-cooked in the pyramid-shaped tagine for a delightful burst of sweet and savory taste of an exotic land. Each chef has their own version of the tagine—from tangy lamb, lemony chicken to vegetarian root vegetables.”
—Barbara Wright, WT Africa Specialist
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 3-4 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick coins
- 1/2 cup Greek cracked green olives, pitted and halved
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside. Zest the lemon.
- Combine 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest with 1 minced garlic clove; set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a tagine, or a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pan over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke.
- Brown the chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and brown the other side, about 4 minutes more.
- Transfer the chicken to a large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard. Pour off and discard fat from the pan.
- Use the same pan and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have browned at the edges but still retain their shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add a few tablespoons of water now and then if the pan gets too dark).
- Add the remaining minced garlic and fresh ginger and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.
- Add the spices and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the broth, remaining lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits.
- Add the chicken back in, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the carrots, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes more.
- Stir in the olives, reserved lemon zest-garlic mixture, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
- Serve with couscous.
10. Pisco Sour
“This signature cocktail from Peru brings me right back to hiking the Inca Trail and enjoying a well-deserved toast at journey’s end at the Sanctuary Lodge, just steps from the entrance to Machu Picchu. Luckily for our group, the lodge hosted a pisco tasting and pisco sour cocktail class the day we arrived, so I learned to make this refreshing drink for my family and friends.”
—Kirstina Motamedi, WT Digital Content Manager
- 1 large egg white
- 2 ounces pisco
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- Angostura bitters
- In a cocktail shaker, add egg white, pisco, lime juice, and simple syrup.
- Shake vigorously until frothy, about 1 minute.
- Fill with ice; shake until the outside is frosty, about 30 seconds.
- Strain into a glass. Top with 2-3 drops of Angostura bitters.
I love this…. a WT Illustrated cookbook would be wonderful…MORE PLEASE!