When you immigrate to another country;
your own food gives familiarity to you in the foreign land.
Food becomes a tool for survival,
a tool for your identity.
Food is a sign of resistance,
as well as assimilation.
Ingredients hide stories of who you are and flavours reveal where you come from.
The style is localised over a period.
Britishers loved Fish and Chips. They took it to wherever they went. It is a relished dish in most of the common-wealth countries, more so, in the English speaking countries.
Wherever it is, is a sign of adoption of what Britishers brought with them. Food breaks the cultural walls. Sitting together, eating cuisine from another country is a sign of openness. If it becomes part of the local culture, it is acceptance!
Food is not just a matter of feeding your hunger, it is a matter of existence!
What is your story of food from another country?
“The first time I went to a restaurant was with my office colleagues. It was full of cultural shocks in this new country.
The server in the restaurant asked us if we would have a single check or separate. Everyone ordered for themselves. There was no discussion on the food to order, the combination of dishes, spicy level, previous experiences… I was used to having many stories around ordering food. The menu card would do round-robin, before somebody taking the lead, to realise all his choices were voted down!” I missed those stories. It was formal, jumping straight to the order.
As the bill arrived, I was shocked to see ‘gratuity’ there. Till that day, gratuity for me was the money employer would pay if one stayed for more than five years in the company.
18% gratuity (tip) was part of the total bill. My sharp brain quickly converted the amount to INR. It was more than my total bill at a restaurant back home!
I wasn’t inclined to pay it as I was still an outsider to the culture. I was yet to embrace the way of living here, now I call home!” shared a friend.
Which country are we talking about? Do you have personal experiences of the tipping culture away from home country?
Sundays used to be the most awaited day of the week. Something special would be cooked, other than the routine food. Masala Dosa or Idli Sambar was among those dishes for us. Food has the power to make you happy.
As you move abroad, depending on your food preferences and the country you move to, the amount of happiness would vary. An office colleague ordered food for me at the counter, during our first Friday lunch out.
“What did you order for me?” I asked.
“Mock fish!” he answered.
“I am vegetarian on first seven days of a week”, I replied, looking away from the plate that arrived.
“Only name has a fish. What you see is made out of Soybean”, he started laughing.
It took a while for me to believe that it was not a prank. And few more months to appreciate the concept!
Do share your exciting encounters at the food table, let the world know! 😊