How to Keep Kosher While Traveling
Finding Food: There are three types of places you may find yourself:
Developed countries like: Canada, United States, and Australia. In most developed Western countries you can buy almost anything in a supermarket aside from meat and dairy products. A vegetarian and vegan self-caterer would have no problem. In most of the US and countries as far as Australia you can even find kosher dairy and bread in the local supermarkets. (This is often true even in rural areas – check out THIS post on finding kosher food in Adelaide, South Australia.)
Undeveloped Countries like: Guatemala, Tanzania, and much of India. In places like these it is easy to buy raw product anywhere: rice, flower, eggs, beans, etc. At any local bus stop there should be someone selling some fresh fruit or pure fruit juice. In the developed countries you would get off the bus and get potato chips with a hashgacha, where as in undeveloped countries you may find someone coking potatoes on the side of the road on some folded hangers.
Developing Countries like: Thailand, Brazil, and Colombia. I have found these to be the most difficult. There are less people selling raw product in its natural form and more places that mirror western establishments like a 7-11. In the US you would find numerous products with a hashgacha in a 7-11, where as in Thailand nothing in 7-11 would have a hashgacha.
Immersion Coil: My diet is 80% pure raw. I eat fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. The additional 20% percent is usually rice and eggs. I have a small pot for cooking and an immersion hot water heater purchased in India. The immersion hot water heaters are designed to boil a cup of water, though I’ve used it to boil a pot with 8 eggs and at times boil potatoes, soup, or rice soup for over twenty minutes. The immersion unit costs $1.50 and usually lasts me a year. The hot water immersion coil is my favorite and preferred option for cooking.
Other options for cooking:
Mini crock pot: Works well if you are traveling with a suitcase and can take the extra kilo. You can cook just about anything in a crock pot. If this will be your method of cooking while traveling, then perhaps get a book on crock pot cooking which will give you some excellent ideas.
Camping stoves: There are two main types, one which operates on a gas cartridge of usually a butane mix and the second type operates on liquid fuel. Liquid fuel stoves are certainly not good for cooking in your hotel room. They are messy and for outdoor use only.
I have traveled and cooked with a gas cartridge stove indoors. I will travel with this type of stove if I am planning to trek and will need to cook in the outdoors and since I have the stove with me anyway I may as well use it indoors also.
I have been able to buy a stove and gas in many developing countries for less than $10. If you are staying somewhere for a week or two, then perhaps just pick up a stove when you get there.
Keep in mind that you can not fly with gas containers and they need to be purchased in the local country .
Electric Hot plate: These tend to be heavy. I have seen some light-weight ones in third world countries. Still a bit heavy for the backpacker but fine for suitcase travel. Pay attention to the voltage and if it will work in the country you will be visiting.
A small spice kit. For a long time I used half a dozen plastic film containers and filled them with spices. Film containers are almost obsolete now. Most camping shops should sell plastic containers of all sizes which you can use for dry and liquids.
We have found that keeping to a vegetarian diet during long-term travel makes it easier to keep kosher. Here are some posts we’ve done on that subject: