Let’s go Somewhere new…

16 Sep

Often times I’ll contemplate with friends on where we should head out to lunch. Pizza? Burgers? Our usual Thai place? I protest these choices always. Originally from Chicago, I’ve always wanted to take advantage of my city’s vast food cultures and try everything. My friends on the other hand are much less appreciative of their options and tend to shy away from anything too adventurous. My most relevant to class example would be when we ventured out to an authentic comfort food-style Japanese hole in the wall. “No Sushi” a sign loudly exclaims from the store front window. My friends are disappointed–they love getting grocery store bought sushi. We all sit down and I’m immediately drawn to the simple, yet tasty sounding dishes. I order Oyakodon (a bowl of rice with egg and chicken on top). Granted, this may not sound like a strange or adventurous dish, but it’s definitely authentic and I wanted a taste of authentic home Japan, not fine dining. My friends order chicken teriyaki, a dish they’ve certainly had before. We all enjoy our meals and head out.

Kanagaki Robun dismisses the Western-o-phile as a cultural elitist whose tastes have been altered by powerful Western influences. Cwiertka’s writing on Western Food and Imperial Japan in the Meiji era supports Robun’s exaggerated prose , but qualifies it by saying, “the introduction of Western food into the lives of Japanese elite meant much more than simply a change of menu” (p.20). While the Meiji era foodie was not appreciated until much later, I hope my constant prodding to get my friends to try new foods eventually opens them up to foreign experiences that they can appreciate and enjoy.

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