The fourth Thursday in November can be a lonely one for American expats or travelers the world over. While friends and family at home unite in loosening their trousers for Turkey Day, Americans abroad suddenly find themselves desperately homesick for the Thanksgiving classics they’d forgotten with a day-to-day diet of doner kebab, ramen, or bobotie. There’s nothing worse than traveling, looking around, and wishing you were home just for one meal.
Although harvest festivals exist in many cultures outside of the United States (Erntedankfest in Germany; Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan; and of course Canadian Thanksgiving), the classic table spread of an American Thanksgiving, a holiday celebrating the abundance of the New World harvest, is not especially adaptable to countries where cranberries, pumpkin, squash, corn on the cob, and especially turkey are in short supply. You might find enough pasta to feed 40 small children on a table in Italy any given Sunday, but a bird that would do the same? Never.
When you’re abroad on Thanksgiving, you have to make do with what’s available. No matter how hard you try, a duck will never replace a turkey, cherry preserves can’t beat cranberries, and going the day without a bite of pumpkin pie is just torture. And, no, a visit to the city’s Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte just won’t do it.
From Berlin to Bangkok, Moscow to Cape Town, these restaurants are offering classic, modern, or even Italian- and Cajun-themed menus featuring turkey (classic roast, fried, stewed, or stuffed), pumpkin pie (with bourbon if you’re lucky), and everything in between. For home cooks, finding the ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast might be a challenge, but there are catering shops and restaurants prepared to help out with to-go turkey boxes that will taste like home.
Whether you’re living abroad or traveling for the holidays, here are 15 ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that you’ll be grateful for.
Thanksgiving’s a tradition at Bangkok’s Bourbon Street, and its New Orleans-style dinner buffet is one of a kind in the city. In previous years the Cajun and Creole joint has served spicy deep-fried Butterball and turkey gumbo. This year’s two-day long buffet features both a Cajun deep-fried turkey and a roasted version (Butterball, naturally) as well as a honey-baked ham and sides like cornbread and Andouille dressing, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, and turkey and sausage jambalaya.
Midtown Grill, an American-style steakhouse in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, offers a traditional Thanksgiving buffet meal perfect for ex-pats or travelers eager to get a taste of home. Toast to juicy turkey with a glass of sparkling wine and pretend the chef at the live cooking station is actually your Aunt Jean making her famous stuffing.