New food & a new perspective

Thai desserts

Trying new food is always an avenue that opens my mind up to different cultures and climates. Living in the global world that we do, I have the luxury to try tropical fruits and global recipes down any random street and market. 

One such pleasure I had was trying a steamed Thai pandan-coconut cake at the farmers market. It was squishy and not at all what I understand a cake to be. However, it was delicious. In a weird way, trying the cake helped me understand why so many people view western diets as 'too sweet' and 'too greasy'. The cake had a different understanding of sugar and sweetness and a different understanding of fat and texture. 

My experience trying was reinforced by an eye-opening book by Samin Nosrat that I received as a Christmas gift titled, Salt Fat Acid Heat. This book completely changed the way I view good food and if you're looking for a life changing read, I can't recommend it enough. The book is quite simple in its break down of good food and covers the topic in those four key words, Salt Fat Acid and Heat. It looks at how these four components are the building blocks to mouth watering food and how they interrelate with each other. Perhaps what is most striking is that once I finished the book, I looked at food in a different way.

A key theme in the book was that it doesn't matter where the food is from and what food culture it draws from, the four building blocks are present in every mouthful of good food. In the case of my first experience eating the steamed Thai cake, the idea of 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' was there but used in a way that was unique to the Thai culture. The cake was squishy from the steaming and fatty from the coconut which was balanced out with the unique flavour from the pandan. 

All-in-all it was a different kind of dessert and challenged the way I think a dessert should be. While I still love western desserts with copious amounts of cream and butter and sugar, I can appreciate how the idea of good and balanced food is enhanced across different cultures with different methods of utilising Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat. 

Tagged in What messes with your head, food, Culture