Travel and food reviews that refer to the writer’s love of ‘Asian’ food really get my goat. To homogenize such a variety and plethora of culinary experience in the name of ‘love’ is to insult the very object of affection. Whether Pad Thai in Bangkok, Pho Bo in Hanoi or deep fried spiders in Pnomh Penh, each of these dishes, each of these cultures deserve their particular kind of respect from the traveller whether in the field or back home recounting stories of their food and travel adventures. Inevitably, food is an integral and important factor in the experience you take away from a trip. It’s one of those key sensory triggers that, months later, in a restaurant or in the kitchen at home, can unlock memories of a place and its people long forgotten. I’ve had good, and bad, experiences connecting with cultures through food. A dodgy paneer in Varanasi once put my then girlfriend in hospital and both of us in the local newspaper – but that’s another story. To profess one’s love for ‘Asian’ food is to miss the point of appreciating the personality of a country, a region, a city, town, village, even a family or an individual. C’mon travel and food writers, remember why you do this.
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