What are Cultural Food Likes and Dislikes?
Fast food from America certainly has invaded many countries around the world and imported American food likes. Go to any city in any part of the world and you will see McDonalds, Starbucks, and lesser food chains.
The cultural differences between what people like or dislike all revolves around one single learned emotion-disgust. Only disgust is learned from a person's environment\culture, the others, joy, surprise, anger, sadness and fear are not, researchers have found out.
The one thing that evokes this emotion is food. What is interesting that it is hard for one to ignore the emotion depending on where they are from. For instance, Natto, is a Japanese dish of soybean eaten at breakfast usually with rice and seasoned. Most westerners find the dish and its smell utterly disgusting enough to puke. The smell is a mix of ammonia and burnt rubber. Even the taste will create the horrid face. Yet, Japanese simply LOVE the dish.
Now, take cheese. To Westerners, it is loved. Used all over the place in good amounts, we are even willing to pay a considerable sum for it. Most cheeses are liked, but there some that smell bad. Some go as far as saying it is a delicacy. To most Asians, unless they have been raised in Western countries, gag at the thought of eating cheese. To them, it is utterly gross and equal to eating cow shit.
What about the savored fermented renowned Hikari from Iceland? Icelander's grave it, made from the Greenland Shark. Once the shark is killed, it beheaded and gutted, that is expected. Then, it is buried in the sand and left there - for two-five months to ferment. Then, the shark is removed, smell and all, cut into strips and hung for a few more months. Finally, the delicacy is ready to eat. It seems only the Icelanders can survive and not gag at the pungent, urinous, fish odor, which is sooo bad, one can hardly get close to the food on the dish. Yet, there it is in restaurants.
If you visit Ecuador, you MUST have Chica! Just do not ask what it is made of. But if you must know, it is made from a blend of boiled yucca root, fermented, and Ecuadoran saliva. Yes, someone spits into this odd local drink. Disgusting!
Even Europe has disgusting cultural food, such as Sardinia's Casu Marza cheese. This bad boy is, upon viewing it and smelling it, belongs in either a serious or comic horror flick (think, Addams Family, Munsters). Why? Even ardent cheese lovers will cringe and chicken out when attempting to eat the riddled with live larvae maggots embedded in the cheese. God, I wish I could make this stuff up! This cheese is beyond disgusting or gross. The sheep cheese is allowed to decompose to the state when the cheese fly make a home in it. The fly's digestive system creates an acid that breaks down the cheese's fat. The worse is not over. Locals only eat the cheese while the worms are alive because it is unsafe to eat after they die. Enough.
Thus, one's culture is a deciding factor in what is or is not disgusting food. Anyone for some deep fried grasshoppers?