I believe the best way to explore a culture is through your taste buds. You can read all the travel guides you want, study the geography all you want and memorize all the different colors of the flags that you could remember, but there is nothing more satisfying, pleasing and remarkable for you (and your taste buds) to remember a cultural experience by dining in a local authentic restaurant in its native land or having a home cooked meal prepared by a native.
Being an amateur cook myself, I’m always looking for different opportunities to learn about international cuisines. Every year, the IUSB Japanese club hosts a “sushi demonstration” event in the University Grille to promote the Japanese culture on campus. This year, in addition to the sushi demonstration, they also incorporated a “mochi demonstration” that allows students to taste not only the traditional Japanese cuisine, but also learn how to prepare the delicacy. Organizing the event requires an abundance of hard work and dedication because Prof. Green, the Japanese club adviser and Japanese language professor at IUSB, emphasizes food quality and selects only the best ingredients to serve the campus-wide attendees.
Sushi is a common Japanese dish constituted of a mixture of cooked, chilled rice and rice vinegar topped with a choice of sliced raw fish, cooked eel or eggs. It can also be formed into a roll by placing the rice and thin strips of vegetables on top of a sheet of seaweed, rolled and cut into small pieces for serving. Mochi, on the other hand, is a dessert made of cooked sweet glutinous rice stuffed or served with azuki red bean paste coated with a flavored flour or powder.
Many people frown upon foreign cuisines because of the way it looks or the strange pronunciation of the name of a certain ingredient. Personally, I believe in not judging a meal by its name or looks. Have the courage to step out of your comfort zone and challenge your palates today! Allow your taste buds to guide you as you take baby steps to diversify your understanding of a foreign culture by eating your way through your adventure.