When Food Takes Over Your Senses

28 Sep

In “The Gourmet Club” Tanizaki describes the experience of eating food so succulent and “magical” that it is literally felt by all of your senses. You not only taste this food, you smell the rich aromas, feel the texture as you chew, see the assortment of colors and shapes, and even possibly hear the sizzle of the frying pan as your dish is being prepared. While these are just some general descriptions, Tanizaki tells the tale of a food so magical that it literally tickles all your senses at once.

In Tanizaki’s tale, his protagonist Count G, on his quest to find a food that will engage his senses in the way described lands upon Chinese food. He and the Gourmet Club having exhausted their passion for all Japanese food are on the prowl for some new food to enjoy. They decide that the one cuisine that still remains relatively unexplored is Chinese food, and it is in this type of food that Count G finds the magic he proceeds to describe.

One experience I have had with a “magical” food is in a small Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant called Banyan Tree. They serve an appetizer called roti cannai, which is a piece of paper-thin bread, or roti, which itself has a slight sweet tang to it. The dish comes with a special sauce, almost like a curry, a mixture of traditional Malaysian spices with a rich orange color in which you dip the roti and eat. The flavor of the slightly sweet roti dipped in the succulent sauce makes me wanting more after every bite. Although magical food supposedly does not exist, this dish is the closest thing to it.

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