Foodie Travel

Found this ad from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau while thumbing through an old-ish “food” issue of the New Yorker.  The Bureau assumes that foodies (especially well-off, culturally literate foodies) travel in hopes of  finding the next “authentic culinary voyage.” They’re probably right.

It’s also a good example of the simple exoticism and apolitical stance we read about in Foodies. The ad doesn’t bother to complicate the notion of an “authentic” Taiwanese cuisine–in fact, the ad ignores the whole issue of the island’s mainland Chinese ancestry and recent political strife. Of course, its very placement and orientation is implicitly anti-democratic: not everyone has the cultural capital to enjoy the New Yorker, much less the capital capital to jet over the Pacific for a cup of tea.

Here’s the full text of the copy at the bottom. (Do you think they intended that instructions-on-the-back-of-Chinese-chopsticks malapropism and iffy syntax?):

“Built around a tradition of preparing and serving the freshest food, and with a reputation exceeding the best alternatives in Asia, Taiwan charts an authentic culinary voyage. Be astonished, challenged and charmed, but everywhere well-fed–with old favorites and new interpretations of the classics. And when it comes to tea, it’s no small testament to centuries of diligent cultivation that we’re renowned for producing some of the world’s finest leases. From planting to plate, the heart of Taiwan is celebrated in sharing with you our unique cuisine.”

Advertisements

Thinking about Italian-American Food

Parm's interior

This week, the NY Times reviewed Parm, the new lunchy offshoot of Torisi Italian Specialties (itself a very interesting and widely-adored cultural mash-up of Lower East Side immigrant food traditions: think Jewish pickles, Chinese dried scallops and durian finding their way into classic red-sauce Italian-American dishes.)

As the name implies, Parm tries to resurrect and elevate declasse Italian-American foods. (Who said a meatball parm sandwich can’t be made into a bourgeois status item?) Pete Wells (the reviewer) has some fun pointing out the malleablity of meanings surrounding this oft-overlooked cuisine.

Fried Calamari, Cantonese style (from Torisi): with fried hot peppers