Food culture is so unique that you can portray an entire culture based on the food alone. Food can quench both your hunger and your curiosity about a country's past and its people. Read on and taste the history behind the food culture at Uniclub's destinations.
Instead of a dish, we start with a 2000 year old cooking culture. A culture that the Polynesians brought to New Zealand back in the days. Hangi is a kind of underground furnace with hot stones at the bottom. The food is dug into the oven and long-term roasts for 3-4 hours. Back then, it was quite common to cook with Hangi. Today you only do it for special events, because it takes a whole day to prepare a hangi.
You can, among other things, taste a Maori hangi feast with goods from the sea or free-range lamb along with potatoes and other greens with a hint of smoke and earth. Directly from New Zealand's own pantry.
Is there anything better than melted cheese? For the Swiss, there is almost nothing that beats freshly baked bread and a casserole filled with dipping cheese. A golden blend of traditional Swiss cheeses and cheeses from the Alps gives a luxurious and fascinating taste.
Cheese fondue dates back to the 18th century as a way for peasant families to make the most of their limited food. Here the family would scrape together remnants of cheese, bread and wine for a delicious fondue dish for the whole family. Cheese fondue was first considered a traditional Swiss dish in 1930, by a cheese union - yes you read that right, a CHEESE UNION, Schweizerische Käseunion.
When you read tortilla, you probably get the hang of a delicious Mexican food pancake where you can pack meat, guac and salsa into it. But in Spain, tortilla is actually an omelet. Tortilla de patatas or Tortilla in short. A simple dish based on eggs, potatoes, onions, salt and oil. It can be enjoyed both hot and cold and as a main course with bread and salad. Many also like to cut the tortilla into cubes, just to snack on.
A Spanish legend tells, that the tortilla was invented by a general from the Carlist Army during the Spanish Civil War, as an easy and quick way to quench the hunger of the Carlist soldiers and at the same time give them the nourishment they need with the few meals that were during the war.
Kimchi is as Korean as it can be. However, there is a small kimchi feud with the Japanese neighbors who believe that Kimchi is Japanese. But there is no doubt that the Koreans have mastered the art of kimchi and have been record-breaking it for years. Kimchi is a side dish that Koreans can eat with anything - literally. Kimchi is so popular that it is even a common pizza topping in Korea.
Kimchi is fermented vegetables, which mainly consist of Chinese cabbage and radish. This red fermentation mass gets both its color and its taste from a paste based on chili powder, garlic, ginger, red pepper and sugar. It is a true staple food with a naturally high content of lactic acid bacteria. Kimchi is over 3000 years old and fermentation was then a method that the Koreans used to preserve their food for the harsh winter, when food was scarce.
German cuisine is known for many different dishes, especially meat dishes such as schnitzel, bratwurst, schweinshaxe, etc. There is, however, one very special dish. This is a classic pretzel - a truly German symbol. It can be found everywhere in Germany and especially in Munich. It is eaten there at any time of the day, even for breakfast with weißwurst (white sausage) and sweet mustard.
The pretzel is considered a symbol of happiness, prosperity and spiritual fulfillment. Therefore, in the old days, pretzels were distributed to the poor not only as essential food, but also as a hope for better days.
Trdelník is a super popular and delicious street cake. This sweet case is a trademark of the Czech Republic, although it is found throughout Eastern Europe. Especially on the streets of Prague and other popular Czech cities, you can smell your way to the cakes. The cake is wrapped around a stick of wood or metal, fried over an open flame until golden and served hot and sprinkled well with cinnamon, sugar and nuts - the traditional trdelník. Today, there are many creative twists on this dessert.
An old legend says that the dessert was invented by a Hungarian general, who introduced it to the Czech Republic in the 18th century. Another legend says that it was a Transylvanian invention. No matter what the rumors say, the Czech Republic has full ownership of the trdelník.
In the United States, the food culture is very broad. With the country's many immigrants from all over the world, the country has been enriched with all sorts of food cultures. But if you were to dedicate something as being 'American', donuts would be a pretty good bet. Deep-fried cakes, originally from Europe with roots from the Middle East, and were introduced to the United States by a Dutch immigrant - but donuts are still as American as it could be.
Over the years, the donut has taken over the entire United States and has become a favorite among Americans, not just as a classic eatery for police officers or Springsfield's Homer. Donuts in its time became so widespread and loved that it was even served to American soldiers during World War II by so-called Donut Dollies, women walking around with dishes full of donuts.
What culture should you taste? If you have not yet read Taste of Culture vol. 1, go ahead and check it out!