Cooking Through Cultures


In this century there has been almost nothing more controversial than that of racial issues. A consistent bridge for these issues has been the similarities that people of different cultures share. However, seeing the differences is just as important and many times some of the differences can be seen through cuisines.

To find out more about these possible differences I got a group of friends together to see what some differences could be. We decided to each make one dish that would be recognizable as a dish of our culture essentially.

So we decided to experiment with these differences we tasked each person with bringing in a different dish and decided to create it in person at a local restaurant. Each person was responsible for learning how to cook and being able to explain their dish. We had three different dishes one for the Philippines and one for Korea and the same for Vietnam. We put together the ingredients lists and individually made sure we were able to repeat those steps in person.

Eventually, we made it to the restaurant and as all our stations were very close we could see what the others were making when seeing many of the ingredients Raph had brought there was a common trend of a certain specific flavor. In fact, Raph even mentioned it later on saying, “A lot of the dishes like turon (the one he was making) are sweeter and more sour than the other ones from what I know its just like a combination of everything but they make it more sweet most of the time”.

This was very interesting to me because a lot of the dishes in Korea avoided a lot of sweetness instead they were often instead very spicy for example the dish I was making called Tteok-bokki is known for its spiciness rather than anything else where its rice cakes are covered in a spicy soup with fish cakes.

Our final dish was the one for Vietnam Emily had decided to make Pho for her dish but because we had already finished we decided to make it all together this was very important because as we made it we realized something special about Pho. The use of sugar and garlic is very often overlooked we noticed that as we had originally forgotten the broth had tasted odd but after looking back and placing the ingredients and the broth over the stove for a decent amount of time the taste was exactly as it should
have been.

The results that we got weren’t as we expected we had thought that the differences would be much larger however the results were more timid. The main differences were only that the dishes that each country was known for were just slight variations of flavors and spices compared to the other dishes for example dishes like Pho exist in Korea with a slightly different broth and very similar noodles and dishes like Turon also exist in Vietnam where many street vendors sell them with caramel or other more
flavored coatings.