Five steamy dishes and drinks for a cozy winter – Binghamton University Pipe Dream

Warm up and be transported across the world from the comfort of your home with these international cultural dishes.
By – December 2, 2021
These days, the weather is frigid and icy and the night creeps in before most students have even finished their full day of classes. One of the best ways to warm up and relax during this time of year is by enjoying a steaming dish of delicious comfort food or curling up in bed with a hot mug. Across the world, people have their own versions of what constitutes the perfect cozy winter food or beverage. From Vietnam to Mexico, here are just a few examples of warm winter drinks and foods to choose from this winter.
Hot pot — China

Hot pot is an extremely popular Chinese dish that has been eaten in China for over 1,000 years. Although many varieties exist throughout the country, it generally consists of three basic components: broth, dipping ingredients and sauces. The centerpiece of the meal is a large metal pot brimming with a clear broth. A heat source keeps the pot, well, hot, and the soup inside simmering. Typically, there are two types of soup bases: a spicy soup flavored with Sichuan pepper, chilies and other ingredients and a lightly seasoned soup flavored with seafood or meat bones. Diners gather around the pot and dip an assortment of foods into the broth to be cooked. Popular hot pot dipping foods include rolls of meat, including beef, mutton, lamb, chicken and seafood like shrimp. Vegetables are also cooked, such as sliced mushrooms, bok choy and cabbage, along with tofu. Beyond being a warm, hearty meal, hot pot is particularly special because it has an integral communal aspect to it. It’s meant to be eaten in the company of others, and often the meal goes on for hours.
Borscht — Eastern Europe
Borscht is a favorite winter dish among many Slavic countries, including Ukraine, Poland and Russia. There are many varieties of borscht, but generally it is made from a meat or bone stock, cooked vegetables and beet kvass, which is a type of fermented beetroot juice. The main vegetable component is beets, from which the soup derives a vibrant red hue, as well as other vegetables like cabbage, carrots, potatoes, etc. Borscht is a sour soup, and it owes its distinctive tartness to the addition of beet kvass. This flavor can also be more easily achieved by adding vinegar or lemon juice. The dish is often garnished with a creamy dollop of sour cream.
Pho — Vietnam

Pho is a warm, nourishing Vietnamese noodle soup. There are many variations of the dish to try from. Pho bo, a beef pho, consists of a rich bone beef broth, cooked with rice noodles and thin slices of beef. The dish is garnished with herbs like basil and cilantro, along with bean sprouts and radishes. To further flavor the soup, other popular add-ons are hoisin sauce, sriracha or a fresh squeeze of lime. The beef can be substituted for chicken to be called pho ga, or the dish can be served vegetarian and be called pho chay.
Rooibos tea (South Africa)
Rooibos is a popular herbal tea in South Africa. It’s derived from the fermented leaves of the rooibos plant, whose name means “red bush.” Fittingly, the tea is an intense red color, with a delicate earthy taste. Rooibos tea is also non-caffeinated and boasts high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Mexican hot chocolate (Mexico)
Hot chocolate is a beloved winter drink in many parts of the world, but this specific version enjoyed in Mexico offers a new level of saccharine deliciousness. Hot chocolate in Mexico traces back to ancient civilizations like the Aztec and the Maya. Mexican hot chocolate is also drunk in countries like Colombia and Panama but under different names such as “bebida de cacao.” To make it, boil milk or water with Ceylon cinnamon sticks or powder, and then whisked with a wooden whisk called a molinillo with chocolate until frothy and combined. The main difference with this version of the beverage is that pure, unrefined chocolate must be used, instead of processed, sweetened forms like cocoa powder or chocolate chips. As a result, the chocolate flavor is stronger, darker and more bitter, but the intensity is balanced out by the sweetness of the sugar, creaminess of milk and the kick of spice from the cinnamon. If you want to keep with tradition, you can also pair your steaming cup of chocolatey goodness with a piece of sweet bread or a pastry.
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