“Ethnic”? To Us, It’s Just Food

For better or worse, food has become a central part of how we talk about multiculturalism in the GTA. “Oh, we have such a diversity of cuisines here!” people say. And it’s true; we really do.

But to those of us for whom ‘ethnic’ food is just food, sometimes the talk of ‘exotic’, ‘spicy’ and ‘ooh, isn’t that different?’ doesn’t always capture the simple relationship between culture and what we eat.

So this week on The Ethnic Aisle, we’ll be talking about the gustatory, the gastronomic and the downright delicious.

First up, Timothy Lem-Smith, who has both Anglo and Chinese roots, writes about what it all means when he gets given a fork at his favourite place on Spadina.

Nav Alang writes about fusion sandwiches that are both real and tasty, but also slightly awkward metaphors for cultural mixture.

Simon Yau on snacks, nostalgia and his favourite Japanese yogurt drink.

Denise Balkissoon also talks nostalgia: her attachment to avocados is causing global warming.

Spicy coconut milk khao swe links Mishal Cazmi to Burma, though she’s yet to travel there.

Kelli Korducki is insensitive to your gluten sensitivity, gringo.

Is authentic cuisine about history or assumptions? Chantal Braganza digs in. Then, she talks about your mom.

Anupa Mistry sometimes feels guilty eating beef on the sly – but is the cause her parents or those cows she saw in India?

And At Pardon My Hindi, Neha Thanki talks to Toronto’s smoked meat master Zane Caplansky about the time he ran a chai stall in Uttar Pradesh.


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