As I am doing research for Malaysian cuisine, I noticed that when people talk about Malaysian food, they seem to get a bit carried away. Their favorite Malaysian food cannot be contained to just 10, it usually gets into a list of 30-40. I can’t think of other cuisines that have such a variety of popular foods that people go nuts about.
Take this article on CNN for example. This has a list of 40 dishes that we absolutely must try when in Malaysia! The reason for the variety of food that is unique and tasty may be that Malaysia is a cultural melting pot, they took the best of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian Thai and Malay influence and continued to innovate their own cuisine. The climate and geography also allows for pretty much any ingredient to be fresh and abundant.
We will take Mee Goreng Mamak and figure out how to make it today. Mee Goreng Mamak is often served in food stalls in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It is made with Chinese thin yellow noodles, but the flavor influence is more from India. Since this is a Muslim dish, usually the dish is cooked without pork. These are spicy, savory hearty fried noodles with so much flavor it will leave you so satisfied. Here is a recipe that looks reasonable with most available ingredients.
If you would like to experience the taste of Malaysia, look for a Penang Malaysian restaurant near you. There are a number of Penang restaurants in New Jersey, and New York.
In the United States, driving a car is a must in most areas outside of New York City or major cities. Most suburban areas do not have good public transportation, so whatever our economic situation might be, we need a car to get around. Living in the US, sometimes I find myself in the car most of my day. Whether we know it or not, our car becomes an extension of our individual expression, kind of like the clothes we wear. Are you superficial and prefer a brand name more than just pure performance? Are you concerned about the environment and want to show it?
Then there is the ultimate name tag, the license plate. This article on BBC entitled “Should America ban ‘offensive’ license plates?” highlights a recent court case where the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles ruled a certain license plate offensive to a significant portion of the public. This organization then went to the US Court of Appeals, and successfully argued the First Amendment. Read on in this article to see what had happened, and why that might be.
Regardless of the outcome of this case, it is true that Americans wear their hearts on their cars, especially on their bumpers. Bumper stickers openly show the inner most thoughts of the person behind the wheel. It is very common for people to pay extra for a specially designed license plate that express their affiliation. This may seem strange and amusing to the outsider. Andrew Miziniak, the founder of the Unicultural® module of cultural training, goes on to explain the tendency for American culture to give a lot of information up front, to allow the audience to decide how much relationship to pursue. In a Transitory Relationship like the USA, this is very common, to share a lot about ourselves upfront, which may seem strange and superficial to someone that comes from a direct relationship culture, that values trust over time. Click here to find out more through the Unicultural® trainer-led videos.
Understanding cultural perspectives and being aware of the differences in value and relationship building is an important part of building global relationships today. There is something to learn even from the way Americans express themselves on the rear of their car.
Above photo of License plate map of US
Traveling around the world and tasting and seeing things you’ve never even imagined before is definitely a humbling experience. Ethiopian cuisine is one of those experiences. Living in the US, it is not very often we come across Ethiopian cuisine, and it is not the prettiest cuisine, I must add. However, the flavors and the variety is impressive, and let’s face it, eating with your hand is so much fun!
This site, foodbycountry.com goes into the history of Ethiopian cuisine, and the unique spices used in its cuisine. Ethiopian culture has been influenced very little by other countries. Ethiopia's mountainous terrain prevented its neighbors from exercising much influence over the country and its customs. Exotic spices were introduced to Ethiopian cooking by traders traveling the trade routes between Europe and the Far East.
The staple food is the Injera, a bread made from teff, a kind of grain grown in Ethiopia. Usually the diners will tear off a piece of Injera and scoop up some main course with their right-hand to deliver to their mouths. Here are some basic types of dishes to consider:
- Wat – Can consist of beef, lamb, fish, vegetables or lentils. Usually in Ethiopian cuisine, pork is not used. The main ingredient is cooked with large amount of sautéed onions and spices, made into a stew.
- Tibs – Meat along with vegetables are sautéed to make tibs
- Kitfo – raw beef mince marinated in very spicy chili powder
- Ayibe – cottage cheese that is mild and crumbly, close in texture to crumbled feta cheese.
Of course, there are many many other types of dishes to try out, especially the various salads. For example this grilled pepper and olive salad sounds delectable! So why not start by visiting an Ethiopian restaurant nearby? A highly recommended restaurant in the NJ area is the Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant in South Orange, NJ. Have a wonderful time exploring new cultures!
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.