Monday, November 29, 2010

It's the little things ... cardomom

There are certain things that define the Middle East for me, more than anything else.

A lot of these are food-related. I think it's because food can be so specific to a place, a city, a region or a country; and when you taste something different and unique for the first time, it will forever remind you of the place you tasted it.

For example, Germany will always taste of the astoundingly creamy icecream I had on the boat travelling down the Rhine river on a trip in my teenage years.

France is white brie and breadsticks. Jordan is mansaf, a dish where mutton (goat, really, not the mutton we know) is slow-cooked in yogurt. Egypt will always be falafel in pita bread, eaten hot from a roadside stand with My One True Love next to me and the crashing noise of Cairo traffic all around us.

Syria is shawarma and mayonnaise, and sugary sweets bought from a road cart. Lebanon is hommos and fattoush. India is palak paneer, China is "ovaries of a crad". Yes, crad - I hope they meant crab and just spelt it incorrectly, because otherwise I have no idea what a crad is.

Bahrain, so far, is minted lemonade made with real mint and real lemons, mmmm. And of course, cardomom. Cardomom is ubiquitous in the Middle East. Cardomom tea in the evenings instead of the chamomile I have in Melbourne. Cardomom biscuits as a snack. And even cardomom milk in my coffee, which makes Nescafe taste like something altogether much better.

Cardomom icecream, cardomom in curries, cardomom cardomom cardomom. Gorgeous.

What do other countries taste like for you?

1 comment:

AmateurActress said...

F.Splits, Sorry I missed our skype appointment! Unavoidable love dilemmas! I'll be lurking around skype to explain....
Love, AA.