So the last couple of weeks have been a gastronomically delightful one. I have tried authentic Filipino, Japanese, Thai and Malay cuisines, all within a week’s time. There are many more countries to explore, many more fears to conquer. I love understanding new flavours, new cooking methods and new ways you can turn the same old broccoli into something completely different. But as I went around experimenting, I realized that to let your taste buds go wild, understanding flavours you have never tried before is an experiment not many can appreciate. We don’t like messing with our taste buds. And that’s the biggest concern for food marketers around the world. You are ok to let go off your mom’s skin care regime, replacing it with whatever new technology that the skin guys come up with. But there’s no way you’ll ever let go off what you think as great food, what you tasted as you were growing up.
Tomorrow my nation celebrates her independence day and as I walked around Little India with half of what’s left of an old friend and his future better quarter (half of half is a quarter right?) trying to find hair oil in this country with more versions of shampoos and conditioners than I have hair left on my head, I realized that the only great insight for Food was taste of home. And home for me will always be a clumsy juggernaut of a democracy called India that rumbles around destroying all hopes of order and decorum but which always vibrates with life and a million cuisines full of spices that ensures that by the time you are ten, your taste buds have been numbed to the extent that anything mildly spicy will be bland for you.
Singapore is a great place for food. It lets you understand multiple cuisines; it showcases fusion food like no other place, (except perhaps Gujju Land which has No Onion No garlic Pudina Pizza) it lets you experiment. But after 2 weeks of experimentation, when I sat down at LN for an Andhra meal with friends, I found bliss. Food that reminds us of home is our umbilical cord as we grow up. It keeps us connected. The food courts in Singapore are a great place to observe food habits and as I looked around while sitting near the Fortune of Wealth, it struck me. We might love to experiment with food while we travel, we might have a cuisine that we love back home on our weekend nights but when we are away from home, there is nothing more pleasing than finding the familiar smells and sights and then lose ourselves in the food that we grew up with.
As much as a Foodie I can become, the heart always tugs the stomach along to the memories of childhood.