If there’s one thing that’s true about the world we live in, it’s that food is loved everywhere. But how it’s enjoyed in one place can be completely different to another. Each country has their own traditions and rituals when it comes to eating and some national dishes are unique to say the least – let’s have a look at some of the most interesting food facts from around the world.
Devour Fudge in America
Believed to date back to 1886, fudge is undeniably delicious. The origin of this rich and creamy confectionary is hotly debated, but many believe it was created when a group of American bakers “fudged” a batch of caramels – hence the name. The tiny island of Mackinac in northern Michigan considers itself the fudge capital of the world, with more than a dozen fudge shops on its 4.35-square miles. While it’s very much an American obsession, fudge is now loved in the UK, too.
Eat Rotten Cheese in Sardinia
It’s probably unlikely you’ll do this if you visit Sardinia, as it’s now been banned for health reasons – but you can still find “maggot cheese” for sale on the black market. The Sardinian cheese is basically Pecorino that’s riddled with the larvae of cheese fly. Fermentation occurs as the larvae digest the cheese fats and the texture becomes very soft. The larvae can jump if they’re disturbed, so diners have to shield their eyes as they eat. Delicious.
Eat with your Hands in India
If you travel to India, you won’t find knives and forks at the table. Instead, you’re expected to wash your hands thoroughly ahead of eating a meal, before tucking in with your right hand. Whatever you do, don’t use your left, as this is considered disrespectful and unhygienic. You also shouldn’t let the food touch your palms and don’t put fingers in your mouth – instead push it in with your thumb.
Make Noise in Japan
When you receive your meal in Japan, it’s polite to say “itadakimasu“, which means “I graciously receive”. If eating noodle soup or ramen, it’s customary to slurp as loud as you can. While that might be considered rude in the UK, in Japan it serves as a display of enjoying the taste and enhancing the flavours of your meal.
Indulge at Lunch in Russia
Russians prefer to eat a heavy meal at lunch and keep their dinner light – it usually consists of bread, meat and vegetables. They’ll then have tea after dinner. Vodka accompanies most of the dishes of national cuisine in Russia, but if you’re drinking it, you must make sure you enjoy it plain, without any mixers or ice. Otherwise it’s considered ruining the purity of the alcohol.
Leave your Food in China
While in the UK we encourage our children to leave empty plates, it’s a different story in China. Instead, you should make sure there’s some food remaining in front of you, as an empty pate is a sign that you’re hungry and want more food.