Top 5 Must-Have Kitchen Essentials for Your Next Culinary Adventure


This is a collaborative post.

As someone who’s obsessed with food and loves traveling the world to try new dishes, I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to have the right tools in the kitchen. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than getting excited to whip up an authentic local specialty, only to realize your Airbnb kitchen is missing a crucial piece of equipment!

Over the years and many (mis)adventures, I’ve narrowed down my kitchen packing list to the absolute essentials – the 5 must-haves I simply won’t leave home without anymore. These versatile items have saved my bacon more times than I can count. From sturdy pots and pans to genius little gadgets, they help me create mouthwatering meals no matter where I end up.

So if you’re a fellow foodie nomad, you won’t want to miss this. Keep reading as I spill the beans on the holy grail of travel cooking equipment! With these 5 kitchen MVPs in your suitcase, you’ll be ready to eat your way around the world – no sad hotel room instant noodles required.

kitchen tap

A Quality Chef’s Knife

If you’re serious about cooking, a high-quality chef’s knife is hands-down the most important tool in your kitchen. Trust me, I’ve been cooking for over 20 years and I always tell people to invest in a really good knife first. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro – a sharp, well-balanced chef’s knife makes ALL the difference. You can use it for so many tasks, from quickly chopping veggies to precisely slicing meats.

When you’re shopping for a chef’s knife, I’d suggest going for an 8-inch size made out of high-carbon stainless steel. Those are super durable and will stay sharp. Also, be sure to hold the knife in your hand before buying it if possible. You want one that feels really comfortable and balanced, not too heavy or clunky. Look for a “full tang” knife where the blade goes all the way through the handle – those are the sturdiest.

I know a good chef’s knife can be a bit pricey, but man, it’s so worth it. It might seem like a lot upfront, but I promise, a quality knife will totally change your cooking game. And if you take good care of it, a well-made chef’s knife can easily last you a decade or more. It’s a smart investment for anyone who loves to cook!

One of my favorite places to stock up on restaurant supplies is Dean Supply for Restaurants. They have a wide selection of high-quality equipment at competitive prices, and their knowledgeable staff is always happy to offer advice and

A Large Cutting Board

When it comes to slicing and dicing in the kitchen, having a reliable cutting board is an absolute must. Trust me, you’ll want to invest in a board that’s got some heft to it and plenty of space for tackling those big cuts of meat or mountains of veggies. 

Wooden boards are tried-and-true, but I’ve found that plastic ones are great for their lightweight portability – they’re a breeze to clean and perfect for taking on the go.

Personally, I’m a big fan of cutting boards made from eco-friendly bamboo. Not only is bamboo naturally antimicrobial (which is a huge plus in my book), but it’s also super gentle on your knife blades. Plus, you can feel good about using sustainable material. 

Oh, and one more thing – I highly recommend snagging a reversible board with a handy juice groove. It’s a game-changer when you’re slicing up juicy fruits or meats and want to keep all those flavorful liquids from running off the board. Trust me on this one!

A Set of Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Whether you’re boiling pasta, simmering a sauce, or searing a steak, you’ll need a reliable set of pots and pans. Stainless steel is a great option because it’s durable, easy to clean, and distributes heat evenly. A basic set should include a saucepan, a sauté pan, and a stockpot.

Look for pots and pans with tri-ply construction – meaning they have an aluminum core sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. This provides the even heating of aluminum with the durability and easy cleaning of stainless steel. Riveted handles and tempered glass lids are other features to look for in a quality cookware set.

A Digital Thermometer

A digital thermometer is a must-have tool for any cook who wants to ensure that their food is cooked to perfection. It’s especially important when cooking meat, as undercooked meat can be dangerous to eat. Look for a thermometer with a quick response time and an easy-to-read display.

I recommend a digital instant-read thermometer with a folding probe. This style is compact for easy storage, has a quick reading time of just 2-3 seconds, and can be used for both thin and thick cuts of meat. Some models even have pre-programmed temperature settings for different types of meat.

A Set of Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls are essential for preparing ingredients, mixing batters, and marinating meats. Look for a set that includes a variety of sizes, from small bowls for whisking sauces to large bowls for tossing salads. Stainless steel or glass bowls are durable and easy to clean.

I like mixing bowls with non-slip bases to keep them stable while mixing. A set of nesting bowls is also very convenient for compact storage. If you plan to use your mixing bowls as serving pieces too, consider an attractive set made from copper, enamelware, or painted ceramic.

With these top 5 kitchen essentials in your travel kit, you’ll be ready to embark on all sorts of exciting culinary adventures. Whether you’re exploring street food in Bangkok or whipping up a gourmet meal in Tuscany or wondering to have thukpas while searching about how to reach Sikkim, having the right tools will make all the difference.

Other handy items to consider bringing along on your travels include:

  • A corkscrew and bottle opener for enjoying local wines
  • A small paring knife for delicate tasks like hulling strawberries
  • Collapsible measuring cups and spoons to save space
  • Reusable silicone food storage bags for transporting ingredients or leftovers
  • A mini spice kit with your favorite seasonings

With a little advance planning and the right gear, you can create an efficient and functional travel kitchen that will allow you to savor the flavors of your destination, wherever your journeys may take you. So pack your bags, grab your kitchen essentials, and get ready to eat your way around the world! Bon voyage and bon appétit!

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