One Hundred Thousand Ideas

The Rise (Rice) of Asia

Posted in Long - More than 500 words by ymhuadao on August 29, 2010

Do you know why Asians love to eat rice?

Answer: Because we don’t grow potatoes well in Asia’s climate.

Ok. Introduction over.  What’s the purpose of this post?

The first reason I’m writing this is because I’m getting tired of some Asians commenting: “Hmm I don’t really want to travel to Europe or US because what am I going to eat?  Bread and potatoes everyday?”

The second reason I’m writing this is because I want to tell my Asian compatriots that non-Asian travellers seldom say: “My God!!! In this country there’s only rice… what am I going to eat?”

The third reason I’m writing this is because with the (economic) rise of Asia, we should change some of our (social) attitudes.  Otherwise we won’t progress much in the way we think, and there will be a group of us who remains as the ‘rice of Asia’ just like the ‘(couch) potatoes of the West’.

So – to keep things simple, we Asians know how it sucks when a westerner comes over to our country and we try to show them how to eat things the Asian way – and they look extremely uncomfortable or they don’t seem to enjoy it.  Similarly, when we are served potatoes or bread overseas,with some stew and large chunks of meat, we are not necessarily enticed and we piss the host off too.  I’m writing to provide 3 suggestions to overcome this:

1.  First, Europe and US is beyond bread and potatoes.  US is probably the best place in the world to get awesome Vietnamese and Korean food that comes with plenty of rice, and Europe has plenty of fresh vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus) that can be made into nice stews, pastries, salads, ragouts, soups.  You may get bread and potatoes, but it’s like you’ll get more than that.  If not, ask for it.  It’s not considered rude in those cultures – sometimes you get to choose your own dish unlike in Asia where everything is more or less pre-fixed.

2. Second, a lot of Asians (let’s use Chinese as an example) do not eat rice as their staple.  Please think of our dumpling and noodle eaters of the north.  Please consider Indians as Asians too -> I know they like to tell people that they are Indians, but they also find it weird how other Asians exclude them as ‘Asian’ since they are geographically here -> and you find another ‘bread’ eating population who doesn’t just eat rice.  i.e. Comfort yourself by knowing that there are a lot of Asians who don’t eat rice and you are actually quite open to some of what they eat.

3.  Third, if you claim that you don’t know what to eat, it’s rubbish.  There is the internet, and even if you don’t know how to use it in the most effective way to look for good food, you will have friends or family members who do.  If you don’t, sorry I really can’t help you lol.  But here’s a tip: 1. Start with google search for ‘awesome *turkish* food’.  2. Pick out the ‘turkish name’ for the food that’s being described in the text: e.g. midye tava.  Google it again in images: enjoy the results!  (and repeat the process).

In short, I think it’s possible to find a favourite dish in every cuisine.  Just don’t stick to your own, try something new, and who knows, you’ll develop a new hobby and become ‘epi-curious’.  While I know food is something that is totally subjective, I guarantee you that if you were born in say, the States, and there were only potatoes, you’d still be unused to the taste of rice when you first try it.

So be open.  With the rise of Asia, let’s continue to eat rice, but more than rice too!


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  1. […] Because in my other blog I talked about “The Rise (rice) of Asia”. […]

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