Don’t eat a lot of chicken noodle soup unless you’re sick? For the duration of a cold, it can have an important place in your life – especially since it always feels good that the person who made the soup or brought it to you cared enough to go out of their way.
But what if (gasp) you don’t like chicken noodle soup, or you’re tired of it? Let’s look abroad for some alternatives and have some ideas stockpiled for when you detect the first signs of a cold.
Below are seven international comfort food options that are commonly given to the sick. For good measure, to help you feel even more cultured, we’ve included how to say “Bless you” in the language of the non-English speaking countries where some of the dishes originated. Enjoy!
Pasta in bianco in Italy:
“Mangiare in bianco” means “eat white,” and it refers to eating bland food prepared with minimal sauce or condiments. When sick, Italians tend to eat “in bianco” dishes – such as a simple pasta with small amounts of butter, olive oil and parmesan – to aid digestion.
Italian translation of “Bless you”: You can say “salute,” which means “health.”
Tea and toast in Ireland:
A bland way of getting nourishment into a sick body. Flat 7 Up – heated up first to cut the carbonation – is also common.
Borscht in Russia and Ukraine (and elsewhere in Central Europe):
Made from beets, borscht is rich in Vitamin C and nutrients like dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium. So it’s hearty and filling but also healthful.
Russian translation of “Bless you”: You can say “bood’ zdorov” to a male and “bood’ zdrorova” to a female. They both mean “be healthy.”
Vegemite on toast in Australia:
Vegemite is a salty brown spread made with yeast extract and vegetable and spice additives. It’s an acquired taste that many non-Aussies find tough to acclimate to, but it’s ubiquitous in the country. Spreading it on toast is a popular breakfast option, but it’s also a go-to for people who need to treat a cold.
Okayu in Japan:
It’s a plain rice porridge that’s easily digestible and mild tasting. In other words: it’s the Japanese equivalent of eating Saltines when sick.
Japanese translation of “Bless you”: Radio silence. Sneezing usually goes unacknowledged in Japan.
Congee in China:
Congee is a rice porridge that can be cooked with meat or fish, and it’s often eaten for breakfast in China. It’s also a popular go-to for someone with the common cold.
Chinese translation of “Bless you”: You can say “yì bǎi suì,” which means, “May you live for 100 years.” However, as with Japanese, if you want to be truly authentic you can just ignore the sneezer.
Sinigang Na Baboy in the Philippines:
A popular Filipino comfort food, this sour soup is made with pork ribs, vegetables and tamarind.
Tagalog translation of “Bless you”: If you’re feeling playful, you can say “Naligo ako ah!,” which means, “Hey, I took a bath!” It’s refers to the notion that people sneeze because they’re near someone who smells bad.
Are there other international comfort foods that our readers should know about?