Warning: This post may contain images that viewers might find disturbing.
One of best things about traveling is getting to try food and drinks that you’ve never had before. Whether it be a fruit, vegetable or protein that you’ve never seen in your home country before, combination of flavors or dishes you’ve never tried- there is something for every adventurous level.
I love trying everything at least once because curiosity really did kill the cat.
Food is another path to explore another country which is so intricately intertwined into every day life in every country. Ingredients that thrive in the country’s climate tell a story of cultural influences or cross cultural influences and taste of cuisine. Dishes that are considered delicacies often can be linked to cultural or religious beliefs and sometimes, tell a story about the country’s historical or economic past.
I have been around other travelers when trying these foods and drinks who have proclaimed their disgust of their new food. Out loud. In front of the host who has explained to us what it was and offered it to try. Some may find it funny and maybe the hosts were looking for this reaction knowing it wasn’t to everyone’s taste but I think it’s actually offensive. While everyone is completely entitled to their opinion, I just think that it’s rude to be overly crass about your opinion if something is not quite to your taste.
It’s offensive because in some parts of the world, what you have just proclaimed your disgust to, is sometimes all they have or part of their everyday life. Just because it’s not familiar to you and your taste buds, doesn’t mean it’s not well accustomed to elsewhere.
It might be something that has meaning culturally and personally. There are a lot of festivals and celebrations around the world where certain dishes are associated with them for generations.
It might be something they never saw as gross or sometimes costly, time consuming to prepare or very seasonal.
Food is part of a bigger picture.
Take for example, the tarantula. Deep fried tarantula is eaten in Cambodia and is a good source of protein. During the Khmer Rouge Regime, food was scarce and tarantulas along with other insects became an essential food source for the people for survival.
The next time you are able to try local dishes that you never have before, or remember a past experience of your adventurous dish choices- I urge you remember food as part of a bigger story.
How comfortable are you with trying new food? What are your thoughts on bad reactions to foreign food?