Blue cheese and stinky tofu

Germans love raw pork with onions on bread.

One of the big differences between cultures is the food that people with a completely diverse historical, geographical and social background usually consume.

What some enjoy can be a total nightmare for others. Bushmeat, quite popular in Africa, includes monkeys, cane rats and antelopes, the latter one being a favorite among White South Africans as well.

But at the same time, fruit bats which have been linked to the deadly Ebola virus, are hunted for human consumption in the western and central parts of the Black Continent.

Chinese are clearly horrified by the mere idea of Germans eating raw pork with onions and an also uncooked egg yolk on bread for breakfast, something quite common in my hometown Berlin.

I will never forget the face that one of my Mandarin teachers pulled when I admitted that I never miss out on of those tasty sandwiches while I’m in the capital…

On the other hand, eating cats and dogs represents a cultural taboo in the West. Nowadays there’s a trend to outlaw this custom in East Asia, as pets became popular and animals are treated with more respect in general.

Taiwan and its extensive selection of delicacies, including its amazing teas, fruits and vegetables, will impress any open-minded visitor curious about trying out new dishes.

When my Taiwanese friends ask me about my favorite dish on the island, I reply that it would be much faster to tell them what I don’t eat. Hog casings soup immediately comes to my mind as one of those exceptions, as I dislike both the taste and the texture.

Although I love good tofu, I stay away from the stinky type, a fermented version that has a strong odor and very little taste. It’s usually sold at night markets or roadside stands as a snack and can easily be smelled from war away.

Nevertheless I have tried it, albeit to impress ladies that I was interested in. In those two cases it was of no avail, though at least I can say that it got a fair chance!

Many Europeans have a weakness for blue cheese, myself included. Most East Asians turn green when they only think about and might believe that only barbarians could possibly be interested in varieties like the Spanish Cabrales, made out of cow’s milk or blended with goat and/or sheep milk, which lends it a stronger, spicier, sometimes bitter flavor.

At the end, we should remember the old saying “Different folks, different strokes.” German is even more specific: “You can’t argue about taste”! In this sense, bon appetit!


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