International students adjust to American cuisine

Some students describe American food as fattening and tasteless.

Adjusting to American food wasn’t on Jayeon Lilly Yoo’s list of concerns when she came to Temple University.

“It was not that hard, but the lack of spicy food is hard to adjust to,” said Yoo, a freshman English major from South Korea. “I miss that. The greasy food is also different when compared with my culture.” 

For international students, getting accustomed to the United States’ food culture can sometimes be an interesting part of the study abroad experience. Some notice differences in eating and cooking habits between countries, as well as differences in how food is prepared and what meals consist of. 

“The food in Philadelphia lacks flavor,” said Dipanshi Agarwal, a freshman film major from New Delhi. “It can be tasteless at times. At home, we have so many flavors, especially spices.”

Tarek Yahya, a freshman biology major from Tripoli, Lebanon, said the food culture is extremely different between the U.S. and Lebanon. 

“Our sandwiches are hummus and vegetables on pita bread, whereas American sandwiches are very fattening,” he said. 

American school lunches are also known for being unhealthy compared to meals in other countries, according to Business Insider. Yahya said he struggles to find healthy breakfast options on Main Campus. 

“In Lebanon, we eat lots of vegetables and healthy options for breakfast,” Yahya said. “In America, it is all sweet.”

Vy Le, a freshman graphic and interactive design major from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, said she sometimes feels guilty eating American foods because of how unhealthy they are. 

“You can’t really eat it regularly because it is too heavy,” she said. 

Still, many students, including Le, find the adjustment to American foods surprisingly easy despite the differences between countries’ cuisines. 

“We have a lot of American food options in my home country,” she said. “Before I moved, I had already familiarized myself with American food culture.”

With the wide variety of international food trucks on campus, students can always find something new to try. Le’s favorite food truck is Burger Tank. 

“I can add so many different things on my burger, and there is always a variety,” she said. “I love the spicy and saucy burgers that they have.”

Similarly, Yoo and Yahya have a shared appreciation for the famous Philly cheesesteak, despite its greasiness.

“One of my favorite American food choices is the cheesesteak,” Yoo said. “I like going to Richie’s for them.”

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