Nov 17, '08

Does food have to be authentic to be good?

Just finished reading The Man Who Ate the World, an amusing and suprisingly honest book about restaurants in some of the world’s metropolis. For somebody who has been in all of these cities,(except Dubai) and many of the restaurants mentioned, this book is like candy. One thing that I found particularly interesting is the author’s thoughts on the authenticity of meals and products. He speaks about the “horrible” pressed pigs ears he once ate at London’s Chinese restaurant Capital or “foul flavour” of baby lamb with dry yoghurt he had in Dubai.

Reading the paragraph, I caught myself always searching for authenticity in the restaurants I go when I travel. But, after all, what is more, important pleasure or authenticity? I remember trying roe of sea cucumber in one of Kyoto kaiseki restaurants and believe me, I am not sure to want to taste again that orange jelly, even if it was served in a graceful, ceremonial kind of way. What is a delicacy for one group of people, can be strange for another. In Lithuania (where I come from) there is one speciality called vėdarai, potatoes mixture stuffed in pork intestines. The dish is authentic I guess, but I am not sure I want them for my lunch today…

Anyway, the book is great, esepcially if your passion is eating out and eating well.

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