Naomi Reich / Management Consultant
What really amazes me is what a role food plays as part of culture and how you can connect to totally foreign people and strangers over “their” food.
I really liked Anthony Bourdain and his way of thinking, how an open mind (not only for food for sure!) in that way lets you experience people and culture in a different way. For me now, sightseeing research when I go somewhere goes real quick, I spend much more time looking into specialties of the area and where to best get them. Plus, all the sensory pleasures (markets, kitchens, smells, tastes) and discoveries – in SEA even more so with street vendors walking by, food stalls street side. And I really love to share those discoveries with friends, whether they come visit (back home or when I’m abroad) or travel the same places I have been.
I think food also was a special connector for me to my Japanese side. While I didn’t grow up in Japan, didn’t grow up speaking the language and was as socially foreign/outsider as any European person, food and food memories – especially related to my uncle – always held a super strong 懐かしい(Nostalgic) moment, kind of the bittersweet nostalgia, especially since from Germany it was always so far out of reach. And for Japanese cooking in different styles, the strong regional and local identification with specialties, the bento rituals etc. makes an extra strong point of how food tells you about a culture I think.
And for me, it was a culture I kind of had to discover and “secure” for myself because it was kind of far away and unreachable even though it is literally a part of me.