April 17, 2012

Cornellians Eating Around the World

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Dear Blog,

While sunbathing on Libe Slope today, it suddenly occurred to me that summer break is within the grasp of my hand, and I began to feel a taste of nostalgia. To the growling of my stomach, I closed my eyes and reminisced about the food adventures that I have taken during my breaks from school. To the chiming of the clock tower, I was brought back in time:

Snapshot #1:   At the Chinatown in Thailand

Juliann Panehal ’13 (Hotel)Whenever I travel, I make sure to try a unique new food. Thailand is my favorite country that I’ve visited. With its lively crowds, vibrant colors, and boundless variety of foods, the Bangkok street markets are the perfect get-away from my home in Hawaii and from Ithaca. In the Chinatown in Bangkok, I tried fried bugs and silkworms sold in bags: Bugs are one of the foods I’ve always wanted to try. They were so crunchy and salty and tasted like anchovies! Also, the Thai Ice Tea is my all-time favorite and it was sold in a bag everywhere I went in Thailand. Other than Thailand, I’ve had so many other food adventures in Southeast Asia such as in Singapore: I absolutely love the exuberant local atmosphere and their creativity in preparing food.

At Cornell, the dining halls do serve ethnic cuisines but the a-la-carte dining places have such a limited variety, especially in Statler. When I miss Thai cuisine, I like to eat at Tamarind, which is the most authentic Thai restaurant in Ithaca: it has quite an authentic and large selection of Thai dishes.

Snapshot #2:  At a Local House in Argentina

Enrico Bonatti ’14 (A&S)I am a traveler at heart, and I’ve spent a large part of my life exploring the world. I find it fascinating that each region of the world has its own traditions of eating and its own appreciation of food that reflects its culture. When I visited a family friend’s house in Argentina, they served us the local dish of boiled sheep’s eye: like you probably are, I was quite overwhelmed by the idea and its liquid and jelly-like texture. Although I didn’t really like the taste, I found it interesting that people utilize all parts of  animals as food in these poorer regions: they are actually very healthy and high in protein. Like the fried scorpion and snakes I had in China, these “unusual” foods have unique taste and value that are appealing to the locals and adventurous tourists.

When I’m in Ithaca, I enjoy trying its multicultural cuisines. It’s wonderful that we have so many ethnic restaurants in Ithaca, such as Mia and Taste of Thai; they really represent the international community at Cornell.

Snapshot #3: On A Quiet Street in Switzerland

Nelson Chew ’14 (A&S)I value authenticity: and needless to say, for food, I find the most authenticity in local cuisine. When I visited Switzerland with my family, we dined at a famous fondue restaurant that served meals with cheese and chocolate fondue. We all know Switzerland for its Swiss Cheese and excellent chocolate: what more can you ask for when you can have both as fondue in Switzerland? The usual dipping of bananas and marshmallows into the fondue felt like paradise in my mouth. The chocolate was bitter and dark while the swiss cheese was thick and flavorful. The atmosphere of the restaurant also added an authentic touch: the owner had an alphorn (long, wooden Swiss horn) that customers played for fun before enjoying their meals. I remember this experience even after many years.

In Ithaca, I really appreciate restaurant owners for trying to bring authentic cuisine to the community although it is very difficult. Living on west campus, I just wish that the dining halls can have a larger variety, more changes to its menu, and allow more customization.

Snapshot #4:  At Home in Kazakhstan

Asemie Cipriani ’12 (A&S)The Kazakhs were originally nomads and thus are masters of preparing meat. At home in Kazakhstan, cooking meat is a form of art: an intricate process that is difficult to master. Of all meats, we savor the body parts of a horse (Beshparmak) during family gatherings; each part has its meaning and is given to different family members accordingly. The eldest member has the honor to eat the head, while the youngest members get the ears of the horse. As a kid, I was given the horse ears and thought they were quite chewy and delicious until I found out what they were. I miss the meat dishes at home: Beshparmak is so tender and juicy.

In Ithaca, the dining halls have a large variety of food and there are many selections of restaurants, but the meat dishes can never compare with the dishes at home.

Meanwhile, a raindrop smacked me in the face: Ithaca is giving me a sign and telling me to stop dreaming and go study. What can I say? I’m a foodie.

Tastefully, deliciously, hungrily,


Original Author: Yilin Zhang