A Glimpse into the World of Food

Learning Different Cultures Through Food

Indian rice made by Usha Alagesan!

Food is a unifier for communities worldwide, and its impact is symbolic of our shared humanity. Food has the universal ability to preserve and transmit cultures. Over the past few years, traditional foods have turned into different forms of Americanized foods. Bucks County is home to many world food restaurants, and many community members may not be aware of the authenticity of the foods at their favorite places.

When trying to label where a food comes from, many misconceptions come up. Something people may think is that foreign authentic food comes from their own culture. Who would think Chinese fortune cookies are American food? The terms “authentic” and “real” often create negative stereotypes about certain foods. Perhaps, we could reconsider how they use these terms. Mr. Tatar, Pennridge High School teacher, has often been asked about his favorite authentic restaurants in the Pennridge area. People who ask him questions typically come with good intentions. They simply just want to learn more about real cruising and experience a sort of food that is not available at chain Americanized fast-food restaurants. People approach Tatar with this question due to his love for food. He has traveled to multiple countries and has tried many real authentic dishes around the world. “Food is awesome. One of the main things I enjoy in the world; food is a way to learn about culture and people,” he says.

He is right about the fact that food is a way to learn about other cultures, however, the first problem with authenticity is that it is a projection of one’s own experiences. There is nothing in particular to measure. This can be a good or a bad thing. For example, one may show up to their local Chipotle and have a bad experience and then develop a negative stereotype of all Mexican food. Even though Chipotle doesn’t offer “real” Mexican food, many people have the concept that they do. This perception is the same for many other Americanized restaurants.

To fix this problem, talking about the traditional ingredients in each recipe and the cooking methods could improve how you judge a food’s ethnicity. Usha Alagesan, a CRNP at Doylestown Hospital, is an expert on Indian Food. She cooks almost every night for her family and believes that “People can learn about other people’s cultures, way of living, and can create intercultural relationships with others by talking about and sharing their foods.” Different cultures use very similar ingredients when cooking but the actual food differs. Usha uses her traditional cooking methods to talk and bond with others, “You can see how different cultures do different things with similar ingredients and bond over that.”

As previously mentioned, there are many restaurants around the Pennridge Community that offer foods from around the world. One of the favorites is 86 West located in the heart of Doylestown. Japanese sushi is often described as being amazing. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available at 86 west offering you to sit at one of the two bars. Another favorite located about 25 minutes from Pennridge High School is known as Moku Bowls. Moku Bowls offers a wide variety of Hawaiian foods. They offer bowls, smoothies, salads, and more. They currently have a 4.5-star rating on google and their website offers many pictures of the type of food they offer. Some of the authentic restaurants located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania include Empanada Mama, Jade Island, Havana, Slate Bleu, Newport Inn, Blue Mediterranean Grill, Yanni’s, Indian Garden, and more. All of these restaurants offer a look into different cultures which are very important to many people. Branching out to different restaurants and trying new ethnic foods is highly suggested by Mr. Tater, “I would 100% recommend everyone to do it, you can gain relationships through food.”