In this week's post, Christopher opens himself up to a new culinary experience in London and falls in love with Indian food.
When I left for London to study abroad, I had prior knowledge that English people loved Indian Food. My dad would tell me stories about his experience in London during his early twenties and how he practically lived off of it for two years. This was 30 years ago, a time when London may not have really been recognized for its food (according to my dad). Over the past three decades there has been a cultural growth occurring in all parts of the city, in which people from all cultures are utilizing their differences and experiences to open places with varieties of cuisines. Londoners have made such a big turn that people will go as far to even say that London has become the food capital of the modern world.
This chicken masala dish is a favorite.
During the duration of my stay so far, I can truthfully say once again that my study abroad experience has forever changed my opinion on certain topics I once thought differently about. In this case, I am talking about my new favorite recipe—Chicken Masala. Throughout my childhood my parents relayed a common theme of appreciation for all types of culture, and always spent a good amount of time educating us by taking us to museums, encouraging us to try different food offerings, and experiencing what life is like for others.
Another best meal I had in London was from a halal Mexican street vendor in Shoreditch.
In almost all the cases the exposure to other cultures would have a positive result; however on nights when my mom would try to make Indian food, I would not enjoy the type of curry she would make as we have differences in preferences regarding the level of spice in the food. Therefore, when I would eat my mom's curry I would always find it to be rather bland. This unsavory memory, unfortunately, made me swear off Indian food for much of my young adult life. However, all that changed when I tried the Indian food in London and came to the realization that the idea of what I fostered in my head about Indian food was all wrong.
Delicious: a Cajun sausage roll from a street vendor in Bath.
My first personal experience with Indian food was absolutely delicious. I went out to lunch with two of my flatmates Ian and Eric, and still two weeks into the program believe its the best meal I’ve had. At the restaurant, after thoroughly reviewing the menu, my mind was salivating at the sound of spicy chicken masala. When the food actually came, it was the most delicious thing I had tasted in quite some time. Ever since this experience I’ve been eating Indian food almost every single day; either I’ll go down the street to one of the various shops, or I'll run over to Sainsbury’s and I’ll either pick up some Tandoori Chicken and try to make it myself, or grab a couple of microwavable meals. Normally I wouldn’t think about having a microwavable meal, but the food laws in the UK require all food products to be free from preservatives, which provides a simple alternative, without potentially ingesting harmful chemicals. The abundance of shops and options in the area provided me with the ability to have this mind-changing experience.
The employee experience breakfast at Berners Tavern,
located at the London Edition Hotel (my internship site).
I’m very grateful for my experience to study abroad as it continues to open my mind to new ideas, while also changing my opinion on once preconceived notions. Hope you guys enjoyed my post! Stay tuned for my next adventure!
Christopher's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.