Top 15 meals to cook in a hostel
You’ve been on the road for a while, eating out has left your wallet feeling a little sorry for itself and you’re craving a solid home-cooked dinner.
Keeping it easy, affordable and healthy (er, kind of) are always the keys to a hearty hostel meal. Your culinary wizardry may also win you some new friends – so use that almighty communal kitchen to unleash your inner chef.
Here are your favourite 15 meals to cook in a hostel:
1. The Mystery Meal
“There is one part of the fridge or cupboard dedicated to leftovers and left items. It will be full of pasta and rice, but what can go into the pasta and rice. Herrings? Pickles? Yoghurt? Your choices are only limited by the kindness of strangers.” – Jono Cusack
2. Self-fished fish
- Ragna, HI Norway
3. Cake in a mug
A quick treat, with minimal washing up required:
“1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp of chocolate spread
I mix everything in a separate bowl and fill my mug about 3/4 of the way full. Then microwave for about one minute depending on the microwave.” – Gretchelle Quiambao
A dream ingredient for communal cooking: cheap, easily shareable, and who gets sick of pasta? – Everyone
5. Vegemite Sandwiches
“This is one for all of you Australians out there. It’s so easy to pick up a travel tube of the black, salty goo we all grew up with. It lasts forever, and it’s always hilarious to watch the reactions of people who have never tried it before.” – Jono Cusack
6. French toast
“Old bread, brioche bread or just bread:
Make a mixture of beaten eggs, milk and sugar. Soak the slices of bread in the mixture and fry them on both sides until they are browned. You can use jam, chocolate, brown sugar … as topping.
Upgrade your ‘French toast’ by adding some seasonal fruit to it: baked apples with a bit of cinnamon are delicious with it, or you can use raspberries, pineapple or another fruit you like.” – Liesbet Maroye
7. Bread, cheese and local wine
A particularly popular one for hostels in France – or elsewhere in Europe where good wine is affordable, even the cheapest cheese is the food of the Gods, and freshly baked bread is sold on every corner.
8. “Hole in the wall”
Also called ‘eggy bread’ or ‘egg-in-a-hole’:
“Take a slice of bread, cut a round hole in the middle, melt butter in the frying pan, place bread in pan, crack egg in the hole of the bread, fry it up to desired firmness and eat, with a side of fruit or jam.” – David Matheny
9. Lunch on-the-go
Prepare yourself a sandwich and save yourself plenty of money whilst you’re out exploring. A loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese, some salad, and sliced meat or veggie alternative goes a long way.
10. Salmon or any fish with cous cous
- Emma Williamson
11. Easy Ramen with a twist
Don’t just settle for instant noodles (we can think of a few popular brands among travel comrades!) Pick up a selection of fresh vegetables – try broccoli, peppers, onions and carrots, and cook them along with your packet of oriental flavoured noodles. Add some rice vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli into the broth, or whatever delicious seasoning you can find on the ‘free shelf’. You can even add a scrambled egg into the mix for your protein – nutritious? Check. Tasty? Check.
12. Personal pizzas
Ask if anyone wants pizza and you’re sure to get a positive response – you could get everyone to contribute one topping, too, so you’re spoilt for choice:
Use the grill setting on the microwave, buy yourself some flat breads, tomato base, and cheese (along with anything else you and your new dinner buddies want to add – olives, peppers, salami, chicken, rocket, sweetcorn), blast it under the grill for 2-3 minutes, and you have yourself a pizza party.
13. One-pot wonders
Anything which saves washing up will always be a winner. The basic one-pot formula: one starch (pasta, potato or rice), one protein (eggs, meat, fish, beans or tofu), loads of vegetables, and seasonings (anything from garlic and chilli to pepper and cream cheese, which takes your fancy as flavour of the day, or you find on the shelf).
14. A big bowl of porridge
Porridge isn’t only filling and good for you – it’s soul food. For many travellers, this comforting bowl of sweet, creamy goodness can be the soothing antidote for a bit of homesickness, or if you’ve had a tough or overwhelming day among the awe that travel offers.
Stir together one part oats to four parts milk/ water mix, using a small cup. Add cinnamon, honey, dried or fresh fruit. Microwave.
What we don’t get is the hype about savoury oats. Anyone care to enlighten us?
15. Baked sweet potato
Minimum effort, maximum satisfaction, the sweet potato is a friend to all who travel: just stab it in the friendliest possible way to make sure it cooks evenly, and pop in the microwave for 8 minutes, and turn it halfway through. Cooking time will vary depending on size, but that sweet earthy flavour will always remain: add toppings to taste – anything from butter and mustard to mayonnaise and salad.