If you're like me, you were raised on meat and potatoes.  Hummus was a foreign, formidable term used only by the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when your mom had control of the remote.  You never ventured into spicy food territory, and anything not filled with sugar, carbs, and tons of chemical preservatives was off limits.  

That was me — as a college student, however, things have changed.  My friends have been positive foodie influences on me, and my eyes have been opened to the wonders of authentic ethnic cuisine.  After braving plenty of new foods, I've come up with a list of the top few. Here are five ethnic foods for picky eaters.

1. Pad Thai

noodle, sauce, rice, pasta, chicken, pad thai
Bailey Bromm

This is a plate commonly served at Thai restaurants.  Noodles are simmered in a peanut sauce made with assorted veggies, a protein (my favorite is chicken), and sometimes chilies.  There's so many ways this menu item can be prepared, so don't be afraid to look around for one that's the least intimidating to you.  Baby steps are totally okay.

This dish is perfect for newly adventurous eaters because it's only a little spicy—the chilies lose some of their heat when fried—and it has a sweet, nutty flavor because of the sauce.  I've yet to meet somebody who's tried this and hasn't liked it.

2. Veggie Sushi  

shrimp, wasabi, cucumber, tuna, fish, avocado, rice, salmon, seafood, sushi
Natalie Fuller

Although this is available at many Asian-inspired restaurants, I prefer them from specifically Japanese restaurants because the flavors of the vegetables tend to be more diverse. The idea is really simple: diced veggies are wrapped up in rice and nori (edible seaweed) and served cold. This is great for picky eaters because the idea of raw fish is so intimidating, and this dish completely eliminates it from the entrée.  

This is a sure-fire vegan/vegetarian option at many places, too. Plus, veggie sushi is often served with soy sauce, and any true American can get down with vegetables coated in high concentrations of sodium, amirite?  

3. Tibetan Dumplings

gyoza, bread, dumpling, sweet, dough, pastry
Bailey Bromm

Delicately stuffed, deliciously satisfying little nuggets of pure bliss.  These are always a safe bet because they're typically only lightly seasoned and can be filled with a variety of ingredients to the picky eater's delight: veggies, meats, and grains included.  

Many eateries often offer pan-fried versions as well.  Crunchy, golden, tasty starches.  It's a picky eater's dream.

4. Arroz con Pollo

beef, pepper, sauce, rice, vegetable, pork, meat, chicken
Erin Powell

This Mexican favorite literally means "rice with chicken".  Perfectly seasoned grilled chicken is tossed with peppers, tomatoes, and, of course, rice and covered either in a thick white queso or a tomato purée. 

The cheese sauce is sweet, creamy, and dare I say orgasmic. The tomato purée has a subtle kick of sweet heat and really soaks into the chicken. Then, you have the option of scooping the mouth-watering mixture into steamy flour or corn tortillas.

Literally, the only requirement for enjoying this dish is finding cheese or tomato sauce and chicken yummy; most picky eaters do. If you're at ANY Mexican restaurant, this should be your go-to. Did I mention how spectacular the cheese sauce is?

5. Chicken Tikka Masala

chicken, curry, sauce, meat, vegetable, rice
Bailey Bromm

Okay, it may be intimidating that I've presented a hard-to-pronounce food as the number one ethnic dish for picky eaters, but I know what I'm doing. This is an Indian delicacy. The first bite will change your life.  I promise.  

A sweet and spicy (although most Indian restaurants allow you to order it without any spice) curry is heated up while delicious tikka chicken marinates inside of its heavenly orange glow.  The chicken is downright succulent.  The curry is so addictive, it's scary for my waistline.  

Bonus: this dish often comes with naan, an Indian bread that can soak up the curry.  10/10 would recommend garlic naan.  The name may be a little terrifying on paper, but your taste buds will worship you when you first grace them with the presence of chicken tikka masala.

The next time your friends want to go grab some food outside of your campus' dining hall, you can be fully prepared to order from an ethnic eatery.  Have no more fear.  If a boy like me from Indiana's Amish country can learn to appreciate foreign food, anyone can.