Regardless of race, color, origin, nationality, ethnicity, or religion, the movement of food shows how progressive we are today.
I always see travel as a purpose to learn. I never saw it as a food trip or discovering a place where no one has ever stepped foot on. It was never about finding the best ramen in a city, or dining at a top Michelin restaurant, hoping that other bloggers haven’t done that yet. To illustrate, I never saw a bowl of ramen as a layered dish filled with pork fat. I saw it as a solace for anyone eating alone, that comfort can be found in dining solo, that ramen is warm enough for company when you can’t find one. To me, each dish symbolizes the origins of a culture and food is supposed to bring people of different backgrounds closer together.
Meeting an extremely diverse community and learning from their experiences and culture is an amazing journey For me, this is a haven for the ultimate intersection of ideas, that physical connection that I always have been looking for wherever I go. Sure, NYC is the ultimate destination for the wanderlust, but the best places I’ve been to so far, where spent in small spaces with a diverse crowd that celebrates friendship beyond cultural differences and norms. It is diving into experiences that you can’t get anywhere in the world. I am lucky that NYC has almost all of the cuisines in the world!
We live in a time right now that somehow tries to force us into those colonial times when a race is superior above others. This is to reflect that there are certain matters among us that help us bring ourselves closer, and that is food. Shouldn’t discussions of our different cuisines stir creativity and curiosity instead of bigotry or xenophobia? This is what I see: Like food, there is no race superior than others.
No cuisine is above any cuisine. There’s no such discrimination. You’d be surprised how globalization has made us celebrate dishes all over the world.
SOUTH KOREA: Soondubu Jigae
Location: BCD Tofu House NYC
Did you know that the Soondubu Jigae never originated from South Korea? They were created by Koreans who immigrated to Los Angeles, California during the 1960’s.
NEPAL: Nepali Thali
Location: Dhaulagiri Kitchen NYC
The traditional Nepali Thali brings together six flavors – spicy, salty, sweet, acidic, bitter and sour – and each platter can always be refilled. One word this teaches us: Balance.
Location: I Love Paraguay, Sunnyside Queens
Paraguayan meals are rich with meat, corn and cheese. Chipa Guazu, a cake made of grains, is generally served with a diverse set of meats such as lomo saltado and bife de chorizo.
CUBA: Cuban Sandwich
Location: Cafe Habana NYC
Cuban sandwiches never really originated from Cuba. They were created by immigrant workers in Ybor City, Tampa and Key West, the two earliest Cuban communities in Florida. Later on, they were brought into Miami by expatriates.
TAIWAN: Bubble Tea Food
Location: Taiwan Bear House, Chinatown NYC
Bubble Tea began in Taichung, Taiwan. Those round tapioca pearls that you love so much are a result of an experiment out of fruit, syrups, candied yam and tapioca.
Location: Saravanaa Bhavan NYC
Dishes like Dosa make us wonder the creativity behind it. Have you ever wondered the process behind it? Or have you ever seen one? Perhaps all you ever thought about India are Tikka Masalas and Lamb Curry. Dosa opens our eyes and widens our imagination.
Location: Maharlika NYC
There’s no such thing as strictly breakfast in the Philippines. That plate of Tocilog enjoyed any time of the day – the portmanteau of Tocino and Itlog or Egg – is evidence enough that Filipinos love to eat rice even during breakfast. Perhaps the world can learn about farmers and their superior skills in agriculture.
HONG KONG: Dumplings
Location: Nom Wah Nolita NYC
Dimsum originated from Taiwan, but it is not only served there. Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, and the Philippines all enjoy the small plates of dishes that we get to share with our family and friends, the symbolism of which is to eat in abundance. (Michelin Star Tim Ho Wan from Hong Kong is about to open its doors in East Village, NYC.)
Location: Veselka NYC
Pierogi’s never came from Ukraine. Pierogi’s are inherently Polish foods that came from the region of Red Ruthenia, which is now a territory of Ukraine. Regardless of the origin, it is both popular in Poland and Ukraine. In Ukraine, cheese and potatos often fill the dumplings, while in Poland, meat is more often stuffed in these juicy dumplings.
Location: Fatty Daddy Taco’s NYC
Everyone loves a cheesy quesadilla smothered with sour cream and hot sauce. And we have Mexican cuisine to thank for Tex-Mex food including that chili con carne.
Location: Xi’an Famous Foods
Liangpi originated from the province of Shaanxi in China, and while they are often served cold, Liangpi is also enjoyed in winter. Literally meaning “cold skin”, The New York Times called it a dish that “hits you in every possible flavor.”
Location: Shake Shack NYC
Burgers did not originate from the USA. In fact, burgers originated from Hamburg, Germany. The revolution of 1848 brought German immigrants to American soil and settled in the states, including New York City being the most common destination for ships coming from Hamburg.
Location: Chimney Cakes NYC
Chimney cakes or Kürtőskalács should change our perception of cakes. We all thought they were round and filled. Literally meaning “stovepipe”, these chimney cakes originating from Transylvania are often filled with powdered sugar and are often served in weddings in Transylvania back in the 19th century. While they are more often consumed in Hungarian-speaking regions, the conservative nobleman Peter Apor seem to think it came from Germany or Austria. Nevertheless, we can now enjoy this dessert of nobility — here in New York.
PUERTO RICO: Mofongo
Location: Smorgasburg NYC
It’s genius to mash plaintain into your bowl and top it with roast pork. But Mofongo is not Puerto Rican in origin, nor it came from Dominican Republic. Africans introduced this dish called “fufu” in the Caribbean in Spanish New World Colonies such as Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
MIDDLE EAST: Halal
Location: Halal Guys NYC
Global halal food certification has been criticized by Anti-Halal movements due to animals being stunned before killing them, but largely, many only criticize them because they were Anti-Muslim. We must learn to respect differences and learn from other cuisines.
Location: Totto Ramen NYC
Ramen is one of the most complex dish in Japan. Each region in Japan offers a different variant of ramen dish. For whatever taste it brings, it brings comfort to those who dine alone. But dining alone allows one to reflect.
Location: Raclette NYC
The cheese wheel heated and scraped tableside originated from indigenous parts of Switzerland. They are often served with potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and dried meat.
FRANCE: French Toast
Location: Cafe Luluc NYC
French toasts originated from England. The French called them Pain Perdu, meaning the “lost bread”. French toasts are a great way to make use of stale bread, instead of throwing away food.
Locaton: Prince Street Pizza NYC
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore. One of the favorite stories that tell the origin of pizza involved the Neapolitan Raffaele Esposito who created the “Pizza Margherita” with mozzarella cheese, basil and tomatoes to honor the Italian flag colors. In 1905, Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizzeria in New York City. In the 1940’s, Pizzeria Uno opened in Chicago, serving the deep dish pizzas piping hot. Today, New York City is riddled with so many pizza institutions including Patsy’s, Grimaldi’s and of course celebrity magnet, Prince Street Pizza.
GERMANY: Curry Bratwurst
Location: Berlin Bratwurst NYC
In the state of Wisconsin, the largest ancestral group are Germans. Bratwursts are originally brought into America by German immigrants. Lovingly called “brat”, you can find them in almost all cookouts.
This post will constantly be updated.