Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Authenticity versus accessibility: that old chesnut...

Creating authentic food that meets local tastes can be a tricky balance for any ethnic cuisine when exported overseas. Sourcing ingredients from the country of origin can be environmentally and/or economically impractical, so to what degree do we expect to eat exactly the same food we would eat when visiting that country? Are we looking for authenticity or just a little taste of a different cuisine and culture?

There's no doubt that Mexican food in London has met this challenge head on and its success is proof that it has achieved this balance. Wahaca is a prime example: the restaurant promises a 'true' taste of Mexico but Thomasina would be the first to admit (as she did at the talk at the British Museum) that it's impossible to serve food that's 100% authentic. The menu has been tailored to give London a taste of 'market eating' and its success is testament to the fact that it's meeting expectations.

On the other hand, Joe Warwick feels this is why Korean food is failing to appeal to the masses. The British journalist believes that Korean restaurants still largely cater to Korean tourists and residents living in the capital because they're not 'customer friendly' enough. It's certainly an interesting thought. To read the full article, click here.

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