If there is one thing I have learned being a foodie is that every region claims pride in their cuisine. In the States, it is a regional thing. New England Clam Chowda, New York vs. Chicago Style Pizza, Philly Cheesesteak, Hot Dogs (Chicago Style or ‘Dirty’ water NY), San Francisco Sourdough and the list goes on and on. In the UK, the British have mixed their centuries old classics with the spices and flavors of the rest of the world.
So, I have given myself a challenge. Learn more about the world by cooking my way around it. Food is the best way to feel connected. It reaches over everything. It gives life and takes it away. I want to become less naive and prejudice by connecting and learning more about different countries.
Challenge: Asia. Cook a dish from each country in Asia (Russia not included). I thought that Asia would be a great start. It has countries that I am familiar with and others I know nothing about.
I will blog what I have learned about each country through my research. I will also blog the recipes and the outcome.
Before I move forward. I would like to start with a one word description for each country. I am going to forewarn my readers that I am not as cultured as I would like to be. This exercise may be telling and I wish not to offend anyone. My American brain may be immature but I do have the best intentions.
Goal: Learn about other’s homes; learn about what transforms their hearts by way of food. Just as Memere’s pork pie, cooking with my mother and sister, and watching my family enjoy my cooking transforms me I want to learn what does the same for others.
(This was the best minimal detailed map I could find.)
Armenia: Gangsters (Top Gear Reference)
Bahrain: Tiny island
Cambodia: Lowell, Massachusetts
Georgia: A country not a state
Hong Kong: Not China
Korea (North & South): Separation
Malaysia: Michigan (the shape)
Oman: Next to Yemen
Pakistan: Muslim India
Palestine: West Bank
Saudi Arabia: Aladdin
Sri Lanka: Impoverished
Syria: World News
Taiwan: Not China
Thailand: Pad Thai
Turkey: Ottoman Empire
United Arab Emirates: Dubai
Uzbekistan: Foreign Exchange Student
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh
Yemen: Chandler Bing!!! (OH MY GOD!)
If a ? was used that means I can’t even point it out on a map. (Apparently, if it ends in a -stan I do not know anything about it.
My goal for the next two weeks is to do two countries a week and then reevaluate. I don’t want to set myself up to fail.
I hope you are encouraged to try something different. I will try and keep the unique ingredients to a limit. But, I do have access to both two Eastern Asian, a Middle Eastern grocer, and a whole food store (I love living in the UK). If I do have unique ingredients and they can be substituted I will inform you.
First up: Iran and Azerbaijan.