Honestly, who knows what aliens would like. Who knows what their taste/smell/other senses prefer, or what kinds of limbs they’d use to eat it with! Maybe they don’t “eat” in a way we recognize at all.
But let’s say it’s a very Star Trek-like alien visiting, the kind that looks basically human with funny ears or extra ridges on the face, something like that. Maybe we’re in some fabulous utopian future where “exotic cuisine” means tasting the native foods of other worlds and not just, say, visiting a hawker center in Singapore. What kind of food might be a good representative of the tastes, smells, textures, and style of Earth food?
I went with pho. It’s got fragrant, hot broth, textures galore, slurpy noodles, and a certain amount of customization. Maybe aliens will go nuts for hoisin sauce and bean sprouts–it’s not for me to judge.
Since, in this case, there were no aliens, just two Earth-dwelling humans, I made it the way I like it, more or less. Broth that’s a little sweet and salty and spicy. Plenty of chewy rice noodles. Vegetables and mushrooms–bok choy, tree oyster ‘shrooms, thinly sliced white onion–plus, of course, lime juice, jalapeno slices, crisp bean sprouts, and zesty basil leaves. Sliced homemade seitan (it’s green! I made it with spinach, basil, and cilantro). Really, too much for its bowl, but still good.
An aside: I ain’t trying to culturally appropriate, just respectfully make tasty, veggie-filled food for myself. I love learning how to make new foods and have some fun sharing the results on here/Instagram/etc. Lately there’s been a lot of back-and-forth about white people claiming expertise in pho and Vietnamese people being like, huh? Maybe you heard about it. A tone-deaf video was made and posted to a major food site; a response was made by an Asian-American comedian, Jenny Yang. If you haven’t seen it, please enjoy it now.