I'm lucky to live in a city where so many different global cuisines are available to suit my mood, my palate for that day or my desire to learn more about a country. Food and cuisine is intrinsically tied to a country's cultural and family traditions, and can give you an idea of a country's history, geography and even economy!
One of my favourite restaurants to eat is a tiny yet cozy restaurant specializing in Tibetan food. We had the salted Tibetan tea which was unlike any other tea that I had ever had: it was milky with a salted butter taste, smooth yet not thick even with the butter in it, the colour of sand. And did I say it's salty! The server was warning us that most people take one sip and hate it due to the salty flavour, but we loved it and ordered another cup!
We are so conditioned to expect sugar and milk in our tea and coffees that any other flavour can seem gross!
My husband and I discussed why the tea could be so different here? Then looking at the giant mural facing us, showing a settlement and a trading post, high up in the mountains and a spindly rope bridge joining two distant hillsides together (and an icy drop into oblivion below), we had our answer: you needed the scalding heat and buttery-ness of the tea, to keep warm in moutaneous Tibet. And you needed the salt to prevent low blood pressure and dizziness which can happen in a high altitude.
So just by drinking tea, we got an insight into Tibetan culture that's influenced by its geography! Here's to learning something new everyday about another part of the world, even if you can't get on a plane.
What is your favourite cuisine and why? Please tell us in the comment below.
Mine would be Indian due to the chilis. Did you know that Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, introduced chilis to India?