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Describe a traditional meal

IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card 271 with Model Answer:

Describe a traditional meal that you prepare in your country on special occasions.

You should say:
  • what it is
  • how you prepare it
  • what ingredients are used to prepare it
and explain why you enjoy it.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Model Answer 1:
South Africa is a country enriched with a good number of beautiful landscapes and most importantly the foods of the country are adorable. Cape Malay Curry is one of the favourite food items in the country and served on different occasions.

In fact, this is a distinctive curry that mostly depends on spices for aroma and taste. Some colourful fruits and vegetables are also used with the curry to make it more attractive and sometimes it is served with yellow rice instead of plain rice. The curry is less hot than the other curries of the country. The entire curry is filled with fruity flavour and the spice aromas help to increase the tastes as well which is the key reason for the curry to be served during occasions.

The preparation process of the curry is similar to the preparation of the other curries but it is different in this sense that it requires some extra spices to increase the aromas. In the beginning of the cooking, you need to heat the oil in a cooking pot or pan. Then you are to add the sliced onions in the oil and fry them till they are softened. But you need to steer the fry so that they do not get stuck with the pan. Then add the other ingredients such as ginger, cloves, garlic together and stir them for sometimes. When the mixture will be softened, it is the time to add the remaining ingredients and add water sufficiently. Then place the chicken thighs on the cooking pot and cover the pan. Leave the pan on the stove for around half an hour. Then you need to stir the mixtures very well so that they do not get stick with the pan. Add potatoes and keep cooking for around 15 minutes more and keep the pan uncovered. You need to stop the stove when the ingredients are tendered. You can also prepare the rice before serving them.

This traditional South African food item requires more spices than ingredients. The most used ingredients are – sunflower oil, chopped onion, cloves, garlic, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, red chilli, ground white pepper, coriander, cumin seeds, chopped tomatoes, chunked potatoes, chicken thighs with bones etc. All the ingredients should be used with the right quantity and the cooking time also needs to be perfect. If you cook the chicken with the spices for over 30 minutes, there are chances that the chicken pieces will be softened more than expected and will lose the taste. Serving plays an important role here. the curry needs to be served with the hot rice.

I always enjoy the curry as this is different from the other food items of South Africa. When the curry is served with the yellow or plain rice, there comes an exceptional aroma from the curry. The tickling aromas help to imagine that I am having the best food in the world. Moreover, the curry is prepared with different spices but none of them is too hot or salty. So, the taste becomes very special. The curry has been being served for years as a traditional food item in the country and throughout the years, and only for the special aroma, the curry soared to the top of popularity. For all such reasons, I enjoy the curry very much.

Cue Card Answer 2: 
Thank you very much for this wonderful topic. I currently live in Hanoi city, which is the capital of Vietnam. However, I have spent my childhood and teenage years in a village where true reflections of traditions and culture of our country were quite prominent. Traditional meals were parts of our lives and we could not think any festival or celebration without it. Today the traditional meals are being replaced by many western and foreign food, but the appeal of the traditional meals are still intact among the true Vietnamese. For this cue card topic, I would love to talk about a traditional meal which most of the people, including me, prepare and enjoy on special occasions in Vietnam.

This traditional meal, which we often call ‘the family meal’, is actually a combination of four types of recipes and items. These items are served in combination and enjoyed throughout the country on different occasions like Tết (Lunar New Year), National Day, Midyear Festival, Kitchen guardians and so on.

The first item is the rice- probably the most important item in any traditional Vietnamese meal. The rice is boiled in water for several minutes in a pot and it becomes sticky and tasty when properly cooked. The smell is quite good and it is a good item for a balanced diet. The Second one is - a salt dish which primarily contains items which are rich in protein. The main ingredients of this item are commonly found protein items in Vietnam.  Then comes the bland dish- that contains vegetables and traditional soups and finally fruits- which is taken after the main meal, quite similar to the dessert of a western meal.  This is, in fact, a very popular meal in our country and many foreigners enjoy it when they visit our country. The custom of eating this meal is far rooted in our ancient traditions and we use chopsticks to eat this meal.

Why we enjoy this meal? Well, that’s basically we love this meal and this meal represents our traditions and history. The meal contains common items found in our country and rich in protein, vitamin and other food values that are vital to our well-being. Vietnamese people have a unique identity and this meal reflects our true tradition. This is a widely accepted menu that does not require a lot of effort or money to prepare. People from all economic class can afford this meal.

Idea generation for this Cue Card topic: 

"Describe a traditional meal that you prepare in your country on special occasions." 

Honestly speaking, food is perhaps the most fundamental needs for all human being. So, a variety of food items are prepared around the world and the traditional food items come in various flavours and tastes. This cue card is about a traditional meal prepared on occasions. The additional answering hints would help the candidates to prepare their own answers.

-    Zouni is a traditional food prepared during the New Year. Mochi is cooked with the association of vegetables. It is eaten with Osechi Ryouri. But the food ingredients vary in regions but the preparation technique is the same.

-    The Easter dinner plays a great role in the unification of families. Different meals are prepared on this day and roasted lamb leg is a remarkable one. It is prepared with beets, sweet onions, and carrots.

-    Rendang is a popular meal during the holy month of Ramadan. The meal is prepared with either beef,  chicken or duck and slowly cooked. Application coconut milk helps to increase the taste while the other spices make it delicious.

-    Poori and Alu (potato) Sabzi is a great meal for Indians during Diwali. This is a great festival and some delicious foods are made marking the occasion. I love the poori and alu sabzi most because of their delicious taste.

-    Barbecue made of either lamb, chicken or beef is a great one during celebrations of birthdays and other domestic occasions. Usually, the foods are prepared in open spaces and guests to help themselves.

-    Steak is a traditional meal while the celebration of New Year in Australia. This is extremely fun to have the steak in the middle of the night. Lamb, beef or pork is used for steak preparation and there are some other assistive meals are also available.

-    Germans love foods and there are huge variations. Potato salad is one of the delicious meal that is served during the Christmas Eve. I love to take the meal and enjoy the spicy tastes.

-    Albondigas is a traditional Spanish meal and served on different occasions. This is basically a meatball and made with meats of lamb, beef or pork. Often, the meal is served with almond sauce and without tomatoes.

Your preparation for this cue card topic will help you to talk about the following topics as well:

  • Describe a traditional mean in your country. 
  • Describe a food item famous in your country. 
  • Describe a food you can cook. 
  • Describe a meal or food you eat on a special occasion. 
  • Describe your favourite food item.

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