Chatted with Bibik about the weird stuff we think people in other parts of the world eat and I shared with her my experience in Tokyo.
The beauty of being in a global environment and frequently having meals with the international crowd was learning about the things people all over the world eat. We took turns bringing classmates to restaurants serving our country’s dishes to let them have a piece of what we regularly have at home e.g. us Malaysian have organized “Malaysian Nights” at different restaurants in Tokyo and let them try national dishes (with constant favorites being nasi lemak and teh tarik).
B from Mongolia hosted a dinner at a Mongolian restaurant, where dishes were heavily skewed toward meat. When a couple of my classmates visited Mongolia right after graduation, he brought them to a restaurant where the main dish was a mountain goat’s brain that’s still in its skull, served on a tray.
- G from France is always looking out for beef. Part reason why we only had dinner together earlier in the program kot, our diets are not compatible.
- H from Myanmar hosted a dinner at a Burmese restaurants, where dishes served include fried insects. A group of people in class paid thousands of yen for the experience.
- L from Vietnam has strong preference for soupy dishes, sighing at the thought of having something fried. Although he ate packed homemade lean chicken breast everyday, he mentioned that in his country, nobody eats chicken breast — they’re only worthy as dog food lol.
- M from Finland has strong preference for cold food. He even took the pain to share an article that explains the kind of cold breakfasts they have in his country to me.
- X (and probs everyone else) from China has strong preference for hot food, that she most often declined when we asked her out for sushi.
- The tastebuds of C, J, P from the Philippines are quite aligned with us Malaysians. Maybe slightly more on the dry side, with less sugar, too.
The Japanese? They were open to everything and being Japanese, they say everything is good.
Despite all of these differences, what I love most is that we’re all still willing to try each others’ dishes and tolerant of others’ needs. Whenever they’re inviting me for dinner, most of the time they’d tell me beforehand when there were vegetarian dishes for me to consider and when we do cookouts and pot luck at TIEC, they always made sure that there’s something for everyone to eat.