If you've seen my foodie photos, you'd know that I love to try new places and new foods. Food is a type of culture and one of the biggest perks of traveling. By going someone and sharing in their cuisine, you learn much more about the place you're visiting than all of the touristy sites you could possibly visit.
The type of spices used (and unused), plus the variety of vegetables, fruits, and meats that go into dishes tell a story of the landscape and environment they live in. The way it is prepared and served, in addition to the manner in which you eat, tells you about the social relations embedded in the food. Even the adaptations of non-local dishes tells you about the tastes and preferences of the society you visit. Lastly, where it is made, whether it is institutionalized in restaurants or dished up on the side of the street, tells you about the mode of life and the means of the people you are visiting. In short, food is living culture and is one of the few aspects of contemporary culture which is visceral and easily available to the visitor. To share a plate is to share a story and an experience.
In honor of this tradition, I'm going to start posting "Food Fridays" every other week to show off some of the places and foods I've experienced, along with the story behind them.