Food Culture Shock

Everyone has heard of the term ‘culture shock’ before. Whether it be on the news, on a blog, or simply from the accounts of an acquaintance, it’s a phenomenon that has touched everyone in either a positive (or, unfortunately, negative) light. Culture shock can be defined as, “the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes”. Keeping that in mind, I’d like to narrow the definition down to something we’re all familiar with. Food. Having recently taken on a new job that sells food not all together uncommon, but certainly not dominating in my inland white western culture, I’ve had to grown accustomed to the idea that, as a waiter who’s trying her best to push some really great food, I’m going to have to put in an effort to learn more about what we’re serving.

Now bear in mind, as a person whose been to plenty of Japanese restaurants in her lifetime, I’m not totally unaccustomed to the dishes that they sell. That being said, first and foremost I had no idea there was such a large selection of tuna to choose from! Big eye, yellow, red and blue fin. Amongst many more, there’s even differences in how some fish can be cut. It may just have been because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, but when my boss tried to show me the difference between a belly cut of fish and a back cut I couldn’t tell a difference at all. (Though, maybe there was a slight one in colour…?) I’m trying my best, but after only a few weeks of being there I still have to ask sometimes just what kind of sashimi I’m serving.

That being said, I think I’m doing pretty well for myself so far. If anything, this new job has opened me up to worlds of food possibilities. I’ve taste tested quite a few new things after closing, even gone so far as to try out some sashimi for myself. And as a girl who generally solely sticks to cooked food, I’d say that this is a step in the right direction.

Have you ever experienced food culture shock? Was it positive or negative. And I want to know, what was the best meal that came out of it?

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