Cuisine Is Culture

Apr 14, 2011 in , , ,

This week's theme for Niexter is world culture, so I decided to write about food by country! :)

The world “cuisine” has quite a few letters in common with “culture,” doesn’t it? That’s because a country’s cuisine is a part of its culture. Different dishes were originally made to sustain the lifestyles of the people, and over the course of time, they evolved to become the plethora of savory delights we have today.

With all that happened to Japan with the earthquakes, tsunami and on-going nuclear disaster, most people have forgotten that 2011 is Visit Japan Year. A lot of people go there for their food, but you don’t necessarily have to make the seven-hour-long flight since we have quite a few Japanese restaurants here. One of the more popular food is temaki, which is a cone made of a sheet of seaweed filled with things like soft-shelled crab and avocado, though the possibilities and combinations of fillings are endless. Another crowd favorite is tempura, which is deep-fried seafood or vegetables deep-fried in batter.

Vietnamese food, I would say, is relatively healthy is they have a lot of vegetables in their dishes. First up on the list is bò bía, which is their version of popiah and is dipped in a spicy peanut sauce before being eaten. They also have their share of curries! Cà ri gà with ingredients such as chicken, carrots, and sweet potatoes is one of their most popular curries.

Thai food has a lot of flavor and is known for being spicy. If you don’t want to start out eating something too unfamiliar, you should try out Pad Thai. The noodles are about the same as the ones we eat in char kuey teow, and it actually looks the same. The main difference is that it has a sweet and spicy sauce. Of course, when we think of Thai food, we can’t forget tom yam. We have it here too, so if you haven’t tried it yet, you really should give it a shot. It is spicy and sour, and usually cooked with prawns.

As you can see, food comes from all over the world. Italy, France, India, the Middle East and countless other countries all have dishes that are indigenous to their area. These dishes have spread further than anyone could have ever imagined. Here in Malaysia, we have a very diverse cuisine, and it is very easy to find food from various countries. Just take a walk along Bukit Bintang and you’ll see a number of delicious examples. There are even Malaysian restaurants in New York City!