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Can some food be TOO different?

Do you like what's sometimes described as "ethnic food"? Or do you think you like such food, but what you're eating is really so Europeanised that it bears little resemblance to the food that's really eaten in the country that's said to be the source? I can recall the joy with which "Mrs Happy Valley" cooked us 'true' Chinese food rather than the more usual British food that's normally available at her establishment, and I know full well that Chicken Tikka Massala isn't on the menu anywhere in India.

Lisa and I ate out at a Nigerian restaurant in London on Tuesday night. The value was astonishing, the staff / owner welcoming, and the cooking was superb. I can't fault any of those. But the traditional African fayre - authentic, I have no doubt, was so far from what we're used to that the best I can say is "nice to have tried" rather than "we'll be rushing back". Indeed, I come to describe the food and I'm somewhat lost for words that conjure up both the quality of the cooking and presentation, and at the same time the unusualness of the ingredients and combination - indeed, some I simply couldn't identify.
(written 2006-03-23, updated 2006-06-05)

 
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