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My Scholarship entry - Understanding a Culture through Food

WORLDWIDE | Saturday, 17 March 2012 | Views [320] | Scholarship Entry

Did you ever hear that line about a place being a melting pot of cultures?

My first time in London, I tasted Ireland.To this day, I remember the pub's recipes jotted on the walls.I had chicken with colcannon.I'd heard that Irish food was hard to swallow, but when I tasted those mashed potatoes with cabbage I was smitten.Culinary genius.It was like regular food your mum cooks, but with one extra ingredient she would never think of which took the meal to a whole other level.

Next stop: fish and chips.I'll tell you–those are harder to find than expected.I thought any pub serves them, but it's more likely to find them at a street corner, sold by Polish owned food carts.They're tasty as hell, though.Those lime mashed peas are a fresh take on sides–because let's face it, who's not fed up with ketchup?The fish is marvelous – golden and crunchy on the outside, white and soft on the inside–it's like a texture carnival for your mouth!

But Irish and English are just the beginning of the London recipe.Take Chinatown–ingredients are fresh (what are they, growing them on the roof?) and spices compliment the food as if the cooks are alchemists.Oh, and the variety is like a foodie's dilemma–you know you can't eat everything on the menu, but boy would you try.

And don't even get me started on Italian food!There's this one place–the best food in all the world.Don't care what you say, don't care what you've tasted, this is food that wars are fought for.Take the pork belly with potatoes and broccoli.It comes sizzling hot straight to your table and it could feed an army.There's no way a dull restaurant knife would cut it through, you'd think–but you'd be wrong, because the chef has some voodoo up his sleeve and it's so tender that you barely need a knife at all.Have some dry red wine with it and you'll want to come back over and over.

So go to London.Find your own flavors from its melting pot.I've still got Indian, Spanish, Lebanese and many more to try–so I'll see you round!

Tags: britain, food, london, travel writing scholarship 2012, uk

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