People From Different Cultures Are Sharing Their "Sick Foods," And I'm Taking Notes

·4 min read

Growing up, my mom used to give me chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and saltines whenever I felt sick. Plus, a midday Price Is Right marathon never hurt. But did you know there's an entire world out there of "sick foods" that people rely on to help them feel better?


I found this thread started by Reddit user CarolineMD35, which asked "In your country/culture, what are you supposed to eat when you're sick?" and honestly, I'm bookmarking this for the next time I come down with something.

Here are the top-voted responses:

1."As a person of Italian ancestry, I would say pastina. They're usually tiny star-shaped pasta noodles, usually cooked in broth, but they also come in other shapes. You can sometimes make it with an egg and cheese blended in."

close up spoonful of Pastina

"For a lot of us, pastina is one of our first real foods, and it is full of comforting associations. It's still my go-to when sick, and it is for my kids, too."


Getty / Alamy

2."Here in Finland, we'd have hot blackcurrant juice. It's the best medicine for a cold."


3."Scotland here! My personal favorite is something called 'tattie scones' with a little butter and a chunk of cheese, followed by hot lemonade in a mug. You take leftover mashed potato, add flour until it comes together like a dough, and roll pretty thin. Not quite tortilla thin, but pretty close to it. Then cut into triangles, griddle until brown on either side, and devour.

close up of the triangle shaped tattie scone

"Hot lemonade is…kinda exactly how it sounds. You get lemonade, microwave it until it’s hot, and drink it. It’s the best."



4."I'm Kenyan and Ugandan. We'd always have millet porridge flavored with either lemon, tamarind, or raw mangoes. If you have a cold, 'dawa' is the go-to. It's hot lemon with honey and ginger. I swear it works. It's never failed me."


5."I'm Cuban American living in Los Angeles and I'm a grown-ass woman. My mom still makes me a big pot of caldo de pollo. It's pretty much a version of chicken soup. It has chicken, fideo (which are really thin, short noodles), corn, potato, carrot, celery, lime, and lots of cilantro."

two bowl of caldo with lime on the side

6."I'm Maori and we usually make something called a 'boil-up.' It's a type of salty bone broth or stew and the ingredients depend on the area. For me, it was always pork bones (with the meat on), watercress, doughboys (flour dumplings), onions, garlic, kumara (sweet potato), and kabocha (squash).


7."Avgolemono. It's like a Greek version of chicken noodle soup! "

chicken soup with wedges of lemon
Robynleigh / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."I grew up in the US, but my mom is from South Korea. She always gave me a spicy red shredded beef soup called 'yukgaejang,' which really cleared me up."


9."In South India, we have a dish called 'rasam' which is a thin soup-like mixture of various spices like cumin, black pepper, tomatoes, coriander, and garlic. It's boiled for about three minutes."

small bowl of red soup with tomatoes on the side

"We usually make rice porridge and pour the rasam over it. It's said to clear up any congestion and aids in digestion, too."



10."I'm from Hawaii and we'd always have something called 'chicken long rice'. It’s like chicken noodle soup that has congealed into a kind of gelatinous deliciousness."


11."There is a Filipino chicken soup called 'tinola' with ginger, garlic, and onion broth that’s garnished with yellow chiles in fish sauce and lime. We always make that when we’re sick and I swear it will cure almost any ailment."

small bowl of the chicken soup

12."Matzo ball soup. They call it 'Jewish penicillin.'"


13."Kitchari. It’s dal (a split version of either lentils, peas, chickpeas, or kidney beans) and rice cooked together with just a little onion, garlic, and maybe a little masala. It settles your stomach if it’s upset because you boil it until it’s very soft so it’s easy to digest."

a bowl of lentils and rice soup dish with a pepper in the middle

14."I'm from Norway. Weirdly, Coca-Cola was a thing to fight against a fever and upset tummy. And if you are nauseated after eating something bad, take a shot of Jägermeister. It actually helps."


15."I'm Chinese-American. Whenever I was sick, we made congee with salted lean pork. We usually served with some sort of Chinese pickle."

a bowl of congee with green onion and parsley garnishes

And finally...

16."The broth of pho is legit medicinal."

a bowl of pho with chicken green and red onions and cilantro on top

"Pho is good for the body and the soul. Sometimes I just need to put my face up in a bowl of pho and it makes it all better."


Whitewish / Getty Images/iStockphoto

What do you eat when you're sick? Comment below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.