A spoonful of culture

May 23, 2014 by Philippe Brown

What we choose to eat, how we prepare it, serve it and even how we eat it are all factors inherent to our individual cultures. What is considered a delicacy in one part of the world by one group may be considered an abomination by others.Take bird’s nest soup in China as an example: a bird’s nest hardly evokes ideas of edibility, but the Chinese use delicate Swiftlet nests, predominantly made from the Swifts’ saliva, to produce a revered delicacy. When building its nest the small bird spools out a string of saliva with a glue-like, stringy consistency, which in turn gives the dish a unique gelatinous texture, somewhat peculiarly known as the “Caviar of the East”. 

Another dish you may not be familiar with is Akutaq. The indigenous people of Alaska have their own version of ice cream made from reindeer fat, seal oil, freshly fallen snow and fresh berries. Using only what is available closeby, Akutaq literally means “mix them together” - the perfect example of being resourceful even in one of the world’s most remote areas. 

One thing to bear in mind when you travel is that the people you meet from all walks of life and from all manner of different cultures love to share their favourite dishes with visitors. When guests are willing to try native food there is often a sense of pride at sharing contrasting cultures. This can be a huge part of the travel experience, a way to engage and connect with different people and experience an alternative and often unusual way of life, and of course a great way to push the boundaries of your own adventure. 

If you are looking for an alternative food-fuelled adventure, or if you wish to look through the lens of a local just contact our London office on +44 203 3580110 or email us.