Depending on where you go to college, the community of international students can have a lasting impact on your experience. You might get to celebrate Lunar New Year for the first time or perhaps learn the different meanings of “ma.”

And if you’re lucky enough, they’ll teach you different ways to enjoy food that will change your life. Here are 5 things you can learn from your international friends that’ll upgrade your relationship with food.

1. Asian markets are the place to shop.


Photo by Natalie Choy

Forget Safeway, Trader Joe’s, QFC, or whatever big-named grocery store is closest to campus. Exotic produce, quality meats and seafood, and an abundance of snacks that will help you survive finals’ week are pretty common to find at your local Asian market.

2. Rice is bae.


Photo by Sarah Silbiger

Buying the 20 lb. bag of rice from Costco won’t seem so crazy after befriending or living with an international student. Not only can rice be eaten for every meal of the day (yes, dessert included), but you’d also be amazed at what else a rice cooker can make.

3. There are so many types of ramen to choose from.


Photo by Kendra Valkema

You will never consider Nissin’s Chicken Top Ramen ever again once you’ve tried your friend’s favorite ramen that they always ate back at home. Not only are there a range of flavors, including spicy seafood, bbq chicken, and even cheese to choose from, but the type of noodle can be different, too. Your local Asian market should have a whole aisle dedicated to ramen, so thankfully you can try them all.

4. Milk tea is guaranteed to replace your regular drink at Starbucks.


Photo by Jisoo Kim

Just like the diverse choices in ramen, milk tea has a great assortment of flavors to choose from, as well as amazing toppings that can be added in. While black milk tea with tapioca is a cult classic, the amount of variety in milk teas will leave everyone with their own favorite.

5. You learn to eat without regrets.


Photo by Teodora Maftei

Everything in America is bigger, but not necessarily better. If dining with your international friend teaches you anything, it will be that you can be fully satisfied with your meal without unbuttoning you pants.

Asian food is so clean and simple that by the time you pick that last grain of rice from you dish, you won’t have that disgusting, in-need-of-a-shower feeling that you get from a greasy burger or anything fried.