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Cultural Foods and some Recommendations

Avery Benbow, Eleanor Low, and Lizzie Eade


FOOD.

We eat it, we need it. And, surely, we all love it! Whether it be a particular texture, flavour, or family recipe that holds lifetimes of memories, food is way more than just a necessity for survival. We all know that different cuisines evolve from different cultures around the world, and in this article, we’re going to recommend our top 6 cuisines and dishes, a further exploration of what they are, why we love them, and the cultural significance they have! Please enjoy, and let us know if you try our recommendations!


Japan:

I mean, have you seen the country!? You’re in for a truly spectacular ride when you come across this elegant cuisine. Something much loved about these majestic dishes is that it requires a ‘heck ton’ (a very real unit of measurement) of hard work to make such sophisticated designs. I salute such beautiful, artsy creations. It’s no wonder museums are falling out of the public eye, our eyes have now grown hands and are using them to actively beg for more Japanese food.


Now, I’d be right in saying we’ve all heard of sushi and ramen before, right?

And it’d be even more accurate to say they’re unbeatable legends. I don’t even have to ask if you’d even had it before. Of course, you have. But, have you tried… tempura?! I’m gonna wager that you probably have. It's highly popular- and for good reason.

Tempura is typically made of fish, meat, or vegetables… popular choices being prawns, pumpkin, edamame radish, sweet potato, and other shellfish. It is then coated in a speeecial sauce, and- wait for it- deep-fried! They are crunchy, beautiful, and smell better than the bills you used to pay for them. (unless, of course, you didn’t pay for them, and instead went on a big tempura heist, kicking down the door, throwing punches left and right, smashing through that tiny window, big bulky bags slung over your shoulder while cackling hysterically- all for the worthy cause of thieving all those golden nuggets for yourself! No judgment here).


Tempura originated from a butt-kicking, all ‘round spectacular ship that docked in Tanegashima on accident. The three Portuguese sailors - Antonio, Francesco and Other Antonio - realised this great opportunity to trade with the Japanese, and thus, created the biggest, most golden, ever so crunchy food we’ve all ever tasted in our gosh-darn lives. The very first tempura model was made of green beans and labelled peixinhos da horta, and while nobody knows exactly how the Portuguese discovered the art of making it exactly, it’s been around since at least 1543. I think it’s safe to say tempura may be yee-old but doesn’t look a day over 4 centuries.


Greece:

One of the most underrated and underappreciated cultures (along with its cultural food) is Greek! When most people think about Greek foods they think of Greek Salad, Greek Yoghurt, and potentially even Tzatziki, and whilst these foods are tasty and delectable, they do not compare to my top Greek food. May I introduce you to …….. Spanakopita. I know what you are thinking, Spana-what-a-the? But trust me, Spanakopita is the best Greek meal out there that I would 10/10 recommend. A crispy yet fluffy pastry encapsulates a flavorful yet creamy filling …. Is your mouth watering yet? Spanakopita, made with spinach, feta, eggs, and phyllo, has been eaten by the Greeks since ancient times and directly translates to savoury spinach pie. Whilst this food may seem out of your comfort-food zone, take it from me that it is 100% worth a try!


America:

America. So many things can come to mind when thinking of the USA, but one pillar of the American culture starts out as a constant… FOOD. The list goes on forever: burgers, hot dogs, chocolate chip cookies, BLTs. And yes, a lot of these foods originated in places other than the US, but 98% of the people currently living in the US immigrated from another country, or are descendants of people who did, and they brought their food with them, which has over time merged with traditional Native American staples, such as corn, squash and beans, to create the American cuisine we surely all know and love today. But of course, how rude, you want the most highly esteemed food recommendation to be revealed. Well, allow your mind to be turned to the only American holiday that surpasses religion and politics, Thanksgiving. Turkey (although, a fun fact; they didn’t eat turkey at the first Thanksgiving), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, cornbread, an endless list of delectable foods which make one’s mouth water, but you need to leave some room for dessert, apple pie. There are lots of pies to choose from when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, but you can’t get better than warm apple pie with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on the top, mixed with partially melted ice cream. Eyes lose focus and glance into the distance just thinking about it. Suppose you haven’t tried apple pie (which originated in England but is a Thanksgiving staple). In that case, it’s okay, you are forgiven, but it isn’t an exaggeration to say, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried apple pie, preferably with ice cream. Don’t even worry about it if you don’t like apples! I don’t particularly like them either but it all gets lost in the beauty and magic that is the classic apple pie…


China:

Ah, Chinese food. Where to begin. Like many countries of the world, Chinese cuisine breaks off into numerous subgroups based on location, culture, etc., and some that come to mind immediately might include fried dishes, rice, noodles, bing, spring rolls, pork, chicken, wonton, the listing will stop now because generally, this article is being cruel in all the good foods it’s talking about. If you want to take a quick break from reading and go raid the fridge I understand…. You’re back, great! So Chinese food, what to recommend. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but dumplings. DUMPLINGS! There are so many different variations to try and love, because not only are there all the different ingredients in the dough and the dumplings themselves but there are different recipes possessed by different families, meaning that there is no limit to the range of deliciousness you can experience.


Mexico:

Picture this: you take a bite into fresh warm dough encapsulated in a crispy coat of sugar and cinnamon. This delicacy is then dipped into a salted caramel sauce, (traditionally known as dulce de luche) and finally your taste buds are tickled as it all melts in your mouth. This is a classic bite of a Mexican churro. Churros, whilst originating in Spain, are a classic Mexican dessert that is the perfect treat to wash down your nachos or quesadillas! Only containing a few simple ingredients, (flour, water, cinnamon, sugar) this cultural confection is one of my all-time favourites!



India:

Namaste, dear readers. Mah name’s Badger. I may be a cat, but I’m the resident Indian-food addict of this household.

Anyhoo, I’m tired.

But in a I’ve-just-eaten-my-entire-body-weight-in-food type of tired. I’m feeling Satisfied. Accomplished. Fulfilled. Immobile.

But why, you may ask?! Because in addition to my usual laziness, I just discovered a new body-anchoring food my household residents like to call…. Goan fish curry!

Uh, what on earth’ is a… a “Goan”, Badger?

My my, you’re a little inquisitive today, aren’t you? This dish’s origins hail from the simply marvelous city of Goa, India. The food there is spicy, tangy, creamy, freakin’ seafood-y…! The Goa cuisine is considered incomplete without the popular staple of fish, just like I’m considered incomplete without my girlfriend, Delilah. She loves Goan fish curry too, especially when I regurgitate it for her in a loud, hacking fashion.

It’s so attractive, she tells me.

Huuuagh, I reply, mid-hurl.

But I digress. The Konkani ethnic group of India forged this dish over many thousands of centuries, with the Portuguese swingin’ in at the last 451 years to give this food their final touches. Over time it has been blessed and improved by other cultures like Buddhists and Muslims and others- like, seriously, the level of ✨diversity✨ in this dish is like nothing ever seen before! Typically, my humans add stuff like lemons, chillies, coconut milk, herbs, onion, garlic, quinoa (or good ol’ fashioned white rice if you like that or whatever), and a hearty inclusion of fresh salmon that could keep me going for about as long as it took me to stumble on over here and plant myself in front of this laptop. One minute I’d be catching sneaking whiffs of mouth-watering deliciousness, and faint pitter-patterings from the kitchen, and then whammo! Just like that, a glorious, lavish beauty has been born. Even I could heave myself skyward, and make the journey from bed to food-bowl to gobble up this platter- and then I’d be coming back for seconds, thirds, forths, and relentless other numbers (yeeeh, i totally know how to count). You totes need this in your household - recipes are, like, ONE Google search away, my dudes! Get on to it, stay fishy, and peace out. *mic drop, dabs for the sake of it. Runs away*



Whatever cuisine or food tickles your tastebuds, enjoying food is a thing which can nourish our bodies, souls, and relationships as we come together over a beautiful meal - no matter what part of the world it came from. Deliciousness knows no bounds, and we hope that this article has given you more ways to experience it!


Choose your favourite cuisine out of the ones we have listed and see what everyone else thinks: https://forms.gle/oU1pwgPgKS3oMkhP7



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