Many of us have had our fair share of bad food experiences – where the food isn’t as good as the review, or when the price isn’t always right. Now imagine something worse, being told that the porridge you had is frog instead of chicken, that the delicious ice cream in your hand is actually vegan – the horror. We Malaysians take our food very seriously, so finding out that our favourite dishes aren’t what they appear to be may send us into shock. Cross your fingers and hope your nasi lemak isn’t a lie because we bring you a list of 3 Asian dishes that may have deceived you.
1. Vindaloo Curry
Vindaloo, the curry, is a hit in European countries and is arguably the most popular Indian dish outside of India. Its recipe can be traced back to Goan Catholic Community in western India; however, it’s true origins are further west, approximately 8,900 kilometers west, specifically Portugal. The word Vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of “vinha d’alhos”, which translates to meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic in Portuguese. The dish made its way to India in the 15th century by Portuguese explorers – its recipe tweaked to local conditions – for there was no wine-vinegar in India at the time. Franciscan priests would ferment their own palm wine, incorporating local ingredients such as tamarind, cinnamon and cardamom. The secret of the dish – chili peppers – Portugal's legacy in trade. The dish gradually met the same fate as Indian dishes in England: it became another hot curry. Luckily, in Goa many restaurants still stay true to their Portuguese roots.
Conceived around the 7th century, kimchi isn’t just a major staple in Korean cuisine – it is also considered to be one of the most healthiest food in the world. In present day, K-everything is more popular than ever in Malaysia, resulting in plenty of Korean restaurant chains. Besides the lack of an adorable elderly Korean aunty in the kitchen and misspelled menu items, most kimchi in non-authentic Korean restaurants are from *drum roll* – China! This Asian invasion on cuisine isn’t just happening in Malaysia, but in Korea as well. Just imagine, 98% of Korean kimchi is made in China!
We all know the taste of wasabi … right? While most of us are accustomed to the tear-jerking kick of the paste, courtesy of our neighbourhood sushi chain, the real deal is much different. Most wasabi in Japan isn’t cut with horseradish and green-food colouring, it tastes sweet yet medicinal-like. Despite its popular demand in legit Japanese establishments, most restaurants (even in Japan) prefer its fake counterpart, mainly because fresh wasabi loses its flavour 15 minutes after grating.
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