Who eats what
July 19, 2015 12:31 PM   Subscribe

In a bid to woo increasing numbers of tourists from India, South African Tourism had to create awareness of the different flavours of vegetarianism. Starting with how to distinguish between run of the mill vegetarians, from vegans and Jains, they ultimately found themselves launching a cookbook. Now you too can eat bunny chow and bobotie!
posted by infini (69 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Awesome, thanks!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:51 PM on July 19, 2015


Bunny chow! Yummy!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:54 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


*all the grabby hands*
posted by Kitteh at 12:56 PM on July 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


That is when our government isn't trying to destroy the tourism industry...
posted by PenDevil at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are we sure we don't mean grabby paws , Kitteh? Wink wink.

I wish I were like Samantha from Bewitched and just make food appear! Such pretty pictures....drool on my screen.
posted by discopolo at 1:32 PM on July 19, 2015


Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism’s Chief Executive Officer, says it is increasingly important to heed the needs of emerging markets. He said: ‘The increase in visitors from emerging markets has given us a good dilemma – how can we better cater for the travel needs of our visitors from these new markets? How can we literally make them feel at home in our country, and ensure that they are welcomed as family and that all their needs – including their specific dietary requirements - are catered for while they are here.’

(From the third link.) I guess it is a basic and obvious thing, but I'd never considered how the tourism industry in a country needs to adapt and change as the visitors increasingly come from emerging countries rather than the usual developed nations. I wonder if there will be a series of these cookbooks targeting Chinese, Brazilian, and other countries, or if the next set of issues will be something other than culinary?
posted by Dip Flash at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it was a matter of pragmatic economics - they noticed busloads of Indian tourists bringing their own cooks and food!!

Otoh, there might be other considerations for other cultures - be an interesting FPP.

Btw, we'd done it too, for a college trip in my junior year - taken our own cook and food and equipment on the bus with us.
posted by infini at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2015


Pretty sure they dropped a word or two in that dal recipe: you need a lot more than the two tablespoons(!) of water they call for to cook dried lentils.
posted by fifthrider at 2:42 PM on July 19, 2015


Also pretty sure guacamole made with olive oil and lemon juice is an affront to guacamole everywhere, but I'm a filthy guac purist who believes a baseline guacamole recipe should have three ingredients maximum, so don't mind me.
posted by offalark at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


No, you do need some acid to make guacamole pop. The problem there is that they're using lemon juice instead of the lime juice you're supposed to use. The One True Guac consists of:

  • Avocado

  • Lime juice

  • Garlic

  • Chiles

  • Cilantro


  • Accept no substitutes.
    posted by fifthrider at 2:51 PM on July 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


    Fifthrider, have you tried adding peas to your guac? It's delicious and adds a bit of firmness!
    posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 3:04 PM on July 19, 2015 [39 favorites]


    and thus began the flame war that would inevitably tear all of metafilter apart.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:12 PM on July 19, 2015 [22 favorites]


    Homeskillet, I've found that if it gets too firm with all the peas a half cup of Mayo rounds it out nicely
    posted by wcfields at 3:14 PM on July 19, 2015 [27 favorites]


    Personally I like to add a cup of dirt to my guacamole. Gives it real texture.
    posted by item at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


    Hahah I've been over in crone island and needed a good giggle. Guac adulteration to the rescue!
    posted by sio42 at 3:39 PM on July 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


    And don't forget the sprinkles!
    posted by trip and a half at 3:39 PM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


    I remember booking a British Airways flight by phone (this was years and years ago, like before the War of 1812) and when I requested vegetarian meals the booking agent said, "Asian?" I said, "Er, yes?" It was an answer I never regretted; it was the best airline food I've ever had.
    posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:46 PM on July 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


    Hey, we put the finest basalt sand in our Glock Amole over on Croney Island!
    posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:49 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Oh man, always pick Asian Vegetarian if they're an option. Beats the heck out of the usual "veggie lasagna all day every day" nonsense you get with default vegetarian meals. Seriously; I'm pretty sure United served me lasagna for breakfast, once.
    posted by fifthrider at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


    There's a single ingredient required to make guacamole, and that's mashed avocado. Everything else is to taste.
    posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:12 PM on July 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


    I make my guacamole with eggs instead of avocados.
    posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:14 PM on July 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


    Also, bobotie is fantastic, but I'm highly skeptical to a vegetarian version. Although if someone wanted to, say, make me some, I'd be open to convincing.
    posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:15 PM on July 19, 2015


    garlic and chiles in guac?? no, no, no. THIS THREAD IS TERRIBLE
    posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:21 PM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


    a half cup of Mayo rounds it out nicely

    Often mayo makes things too fatty, though, so I like to add protein, usually in the form of a can of tuna and a diced egg, to even things out. A spoonful of sweet pickle relish helps as an accent.
    posted by mittens at 4:37 PM on July 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


    internet fraud detective squad, station number 9: "garlic and chiles in guac?? no, no, no. THIS THREAD IS TERRIBLE"

    Look, you can complain all you want, but garlic and chiles in guacamole is quite common in Mexico. As is tomato. But still, the only totally mandatory ingredient is mashed avocado. Second on the list of most common is cilantro. Some salt and lime is also very common. After that, it's all to taste.
    posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:46 PM on July 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


    I wish I had an opinion on bunny chow. First I would need to have some. Somebody give me bunny chow now plz.
    posted by idiopath at 5:04 PM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


    You can basically get your own bunny chow no problem. It's basically just curry in a bread bowl. Buy some curry from an Indian take-out place, or make it if you're savvy. I recommend chicken. Take a loaf of white bread and cut off the bottom quarter. Scoop out the inside of the bread. Put the curry in. There ya go!

    My preferred version of bunny chow is ubiquitous and involves filling bread with french fries, boloney, pickled mango, and some condiments. It's delicious and it makes you question your life choices, so all-in-all, not bad.

    Re: Guacamole with olive oil. I lived in South Africa for years and love the country and cuisine but by god, did I see interesting ways of massacring Tex-Mex there. I've had nachos made from fritos and creme fraiche. There was a decent Mexican joint near me that nonetheless offered an "Obama" burger with cheddar cheese and slim jims. Ye god.
    posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:22 PM on July 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


    There was a decent Mexican joint near me that nonetheless offered an "Obama" burger with cheddar cheese and slim jims. Ye god.

    I want to eat this.
    posted by Faint of Butt at 5:56 PM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


    A while back I had a coworker whose family was Jain but not strict about it. Once a year there is a festival where everyone eats according to the strict guidelines. As he explained it, the main rule is that you can't eat anything which would result in an organism being killed. So as I understand it lettuce is OK but carrots are out. I think it's more complicated than that, given that Jains aren't just vegetarian but also vegan, but a kind of stricter vegan where all root vegetables are out, so they're pretty hardcore.
    posted by A dead Quaker at 5:59 PM on July 19, 2015


    Garlic is the best but not an ingredient of guacamole. It's salt, avocado, and lime. Onions, chiles, or cilantro are optional but not required.
    posted by chaz at 6:41 PM on July 19, 2015


    Green Play-Doh makes a swell substitute for the avocados.
    posted by Thorzdad at 6:50 PM on July 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


    Avocado, lime juice, salt, garlic, green onions, and chile powder to taste. I will brook no argument.

    Thorzdad, the play-doh version hasn't made its way over to the rest of the continent quite yet. Mexican food originally comes from NYC, as you know. The NYT said so.
    posted by Ragini at 6:54 PM on July 19, 2015


    > There was a decent Mexican joint near me that nonetheless offered an "Obama" burger with cheddar cheese and slim jims.

    This is one of those things... I'm sitting here thinking, "I would eat the hell out of that." But I'm also not dependent on a single decent Mexican restaurant to get me through my occasional needs for Mexican food. I would succumb to despair if my only option within a day's drive had decided that, fuck it, what they really want to do is corner the market on hamburger jerky.
    posted by ardgedee at 7:12 PM on July 19, 2015


    pav bhaji is one of my favoritest foods in the world, so bunny chow sounds fairly awesome.

    I love making guacamole. I hate buying avocados. (although the assortments e.g. here are so tempting...)

    so these days I just get the tomatillo version of wholly-guacamole. it's satisfyingly close to what I (used to) make. the minis are even better, in a sense of not-going-bad. except there is no mini verde, jerks. and best avoid the spicy minis unless you know what you're doing, it is not american-grocery-store-level-spicy, it is somewhat vicious. the play-doh version only uses some off-brand imitation for licensing reasons, so also avoid.
    posted by dorian at 7:12 PM on July 19, 2015


    And you all talking about guacamole have no idea what you're doing. Where's the greek yogurt and pureed kale?
    posted by ardgedee at 7:13 PM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


    one of the biggest crimes about the slim jim burger is that South Africa has the most delicious version of beef jerky on the planet, biltong, which is so tender and tasty and can be made to the consistently of a good medium-rare steak. AND THEY USED SLIM JIMS. WHYYYY
    posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:15 PM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


    How big of an institution is Macho Man Randy Savage in South Africa?
    posted by item at 7:19 PM on July 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


    Three avocados, one onion, fistful of cilantro, one poblano pepper, lime juice to taste. No salt. Cumin optional. NO SALT!
    posted by gray17 at 7:22 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


    One tablespoon of avocado, a can of tuna, six cups of salt, three eggs, a whole pomegranate, and as many fistfulls of mayonnaise as you can fit into the bowl. Mix all ingredients evenly then allow to set on counter for no less than 72 hours. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir, then microwave on high for an additional 45 minutes. Serve with saltines that your dog has licked all the salt off of.
    posted by item at 7:40 PM on July 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


    How funny! I'd only ever heard of bunny chow, and just assumed it was "bread basket" or something like that in another language. In my head it was spelled buni chao...
    posted by schmopera at 8:08 PM on July 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


    No guacamole is complete without a fair measure of powdered moon rock. Obviously rock from our own moon is the most traditional (and tastiest), but powdered rock from a Martian or Jovian moon will suffice. Asteroids are generally too harsh for guacamole; meteorite dust is never a good choice.
    posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:10 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I can't wait to try the Charon guacamole when New Horizons gets back.

    It is coming back, right?
    posted by moonmilk at 8:15 PM on July 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


    When I read the word woo used this way I pretend it means "surprise and delight". Like, this food will make you go woo!
    posted by Joe in Australia at 10:07 PM on July 19, 2015


    Jainism is an Indian religion that follows a path of non-violence toward all living creatures. Jains do not eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs or dairy products. They do not eat root vegetables like potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots and beetroot, nor do they eat yeast. Garlic, ginger and vinegar are also not permissible for strict Jains.

    Seems like a challenge with the usual South African ingredients, but got my curiosity so I scrolled in the cookbook to page 77 and find a Jain approved receipe for cheese (paneer)?

    "Step 1. Boil the milk in a pan."
    posted by three blind mice at 11:42 PM on July 19, 2015


    Using spray shellac on your finished quacamole will prevent it from turning brown too quickly.
    posted by trip and a half at 11:42 PM on July 19, 2015


    Three blind mice, on their definitions page they seem a little confused, and claim that Jains DO drink milk. From my in-depth primary research, it seems like there are different levels of Jain vegetarianism and dairy is a point of contention, and further research indicates that paneer from milk is a thing for at least some Jains. I guess the distinction is in the role of whatever microorganisms produce regular cheese versus just cooking some up out of some milk.
    posted by col_pogo at 12:58 AM on July 20, 2015


    What happened in here?
    posted by infini at 2:01 AM on July 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I imagine some Jains are confused as well, given the prevalence of dairy in South- and West- Asia? is it something where you cheat or look the other way? honestly I don't know, I don't know any Jains, or what are the actual objective or subjective dicta. but, humans, levels and spectra? that's quite an interesting thought that it might be more about the involved microorganisms rather than the dairy itself - although paneer is mostly made directly from milk and acid (lemon, lime, vinegar, ...) - no fermentation at all. (although the milk itself certainly has plenty of microorganisms already. I've often used whey to make things like ginger-beer, farmer-cheeses, lacto-pickles, etc.)

    tofu as paneer-replacement might make some sense, esp. if, rather than retail products, making it at home in a style more similar to making paneer. also, I've semi-accidentally bought vegetarian ghee (only ever that one time), which is awful not just for the palm oil source, but turned out the manufacturing of the brand I bought kinda-sorta makes it into 100% transfat. (also it tastes slightly weird)

    What happened in here?

    only good things.

    Btw, we'd done it too, for a college trip in my junior year - taken our own cook and food and equipment on the bus with us.

    I went on a HK-based bus tour in Thailand once. it was hilarious, we only ever stopped at Cantonese restaurants, the tour guide spoke decent Cantonese, and kept trying to teach us very bad Thai (e.g. female-forms only, guaranteed to get you laughed at if you're a guy)
    posted by dorian at 2:59 AM on July 20, 2015


    Just thinking of all of the incredible meals the ex and I used to eat at the Krishna Temple in Manhattan. Some of the best food I've ever eaten, period.
    posted by Splunge at 3:56 AM on July 20, 2015


    Kinda disappointed the thread has been completely derailed by Americans talking about the only food they recognise. There's a lot more here than adolescent posturing about guacamole.

    South African-Indian cuisine is terrific, and provides a lovely spin on more traditional curries. Two of my favourites are this delightful Natal red (kidney) bean curry, and mattar batata - one of those simple curries with only a few ingredients, that combine to make something truly special. It's delightfully light, too.

    One of my favourite things from my times in Africa has been the high standard of Indian cuisine. Was one of my favourite things about Kenya, if a place didn't have an Indian cook, there was a hell of a lot of Indian influence.
    posted by smoke at 4:24 AM on July 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


    Yeah, for the longest time, the world really was built on copious cups of chai, with a rolled up chapati.
    posted by infini at 4:32 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


    derailed by Americans talking about the only food they recognise

    What made me laugh happily about that is that the first link in your comment is to Madhur Jaffrey, and if I pull down my battered, taped-together copy of An Invitation to Indian Cooking, the blurb on the cover mentions the dishes are "carefully worked out for American cooks in American kitchens."

    America: Derailing discussions of Indian cooking since 1973!
    posted by mittens at 5:00 AM on July 20, 2015


    Can I substitute asafoetida with, say, caramelised onions and some garlic?
    posted by Joe in Australia at 5:13 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


    You can just skip it Joe. It adds a certain something, but should only be used sparingly at the most. I've never tasted anything else like it,though, can't think of a substitute.
    posted by smoke at 5:22 AM on July 20, 2015


    The cookbook defines ovo-vegetarians as veggies who eat eggs, and lacto-vegetarians as veggies who eat dairy. I thought it was the other way round - ovo-vegetarians don't eat eggs, and lacto-vegetarians don't eat dairy, and ovo/lacto-vegetarians don't eat either. I am a veggie who doesn't eat eggs, having listened to Jains on the subject.
    posted by Major Tom at 5:36 AM on July 20, 2015


    Asafoetida is more of a functional spice than a taste. It counteracts biliousness from too much lentils and beans.

    Reading up on it informs me that it delivers a mouthfeel that I would miss were I to stop using it. Ok.

    Here's an interesting article on it, apparently an alternative name is Devil's Dung. wanders off to smell her masaldani
    posted by infini at 6:22 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Garlic is the best but not an ingredient of guacamole. It's salt, avocado, and lime. Onions, chiles, or cilantro are optional but not required.

    I was nearly kicked out of my afterschool enrichment program for belligerence after refusing to put more than half a clove of garlic in my one-avocado batch of guacamole. I feel so vindicated.
    posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:43 AM on July 20, 2015


    Isn't asafoetida a root? It's weird seeing it in the Jain section. Although since I've got a family member who is allergic to onions and garlic, I'm reading this section very closely to try to find something that tastes good to make!
    posted by mittens at 7:03 AM on July 20, 2015


    Major Tom, the word appended to "vegetarian" indicates what one DOES eat. So: ovo-vegetarian eats eggs, ovo-lacto vegetarian eats eggs and milk, pescetarian eats fish (and is not actually a vegetarian to some people's way of thinking).

    It's not unusual for a tourism organization to prepare itself for tourists from an emerging market; however, this is the first time I've seen an organization focusing on India rather than China. (Doesn't mean others haven't been, I just haven't seen it.)

    There is a lot of talk in the tourism industry about being "China-ready" in various Western markets, part of which involves having the right food on the table at hotels and other tourist venues. Here's an example from Switzerland. Hotel chains are doing the same; international chain Starwood, for example, is implementing “In-room tea kettles, slippers, translated restaurant menus and welcome brochures, on-site translation services and comfort food such as congee (rice porridge) and noodles” at many of its US hotels.

    But, as the article in that Switzerland link points out, a lot of this is being put out there by people who may be focusing on the wrong things or not be fully culturally aware. As ETN notes:
    "Many of these organizations are providing menus, information briefs, and even websites in Chinese, a selection of Chinese teas, teapots, and slippers in hotel rooms, Mandarin-speaking staff, and food items such as congee and noodles. But is this enough?"
    Spoiler alert: the answer is no.

    After years of being flooded with "China-ready" information, it's fascinating to read an article that focuses on readying the tourism industry for a different culture!
    posted by rednikki at 7:59 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


    mittens: Asafoetida is a resin. If you're trying to buy some in an Indian market, ask for "hing."
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:42 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


    asafoetida: there is truly no substitute for hing (samskrta root-word: "kill" - lol) - and many dishes absolutely require it, to truly shine. even your favorite sev / hot-mix? would be so dull and boring without it.

    uncooked, it is truly nasty stuff. I keep it triple-ziploc-bagged under the kitchen sink, and it still reeks of hell.
    posted by dorian at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2015


    pronounced heeng rather than rhyming with thing
    posted by infini at 8:57 AM on July 20, 2015


    Where's the greek yogurt and pureed kale?

    You might be surprised by how many mefites think greek yogurt is not a real thing that exists in the world.
    posted by poffin boffin at 9:10 AM on July 20, 2015


    I have an actual hing nugget that someone gave me about 20 years ago. Usually I'll cook with the powdered stuff cut with corn starch or whatever makes it powdery, but every once in a while I'll take the dark crystal out of its plastic bag, tupperware, and metal tin to scrape off a little bit, and after all these years it still fills the kitchen with a delicious ominous cloud of stink.
    posted by moonmilk at 9:40 AM on July 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I confess that I am a very great coward. I have gone so far as to look for Asafoetida/Hing/Devil's Dung on Ebay but never bought any. It has a Reputation.

    It is actually the dried sap or resin scraped from cuts in the stem or root of a plant called giant fennel - it's not actually fennel, but it does look a bit like it. The plant family, Ferula, is fascinating: Prometheus was thought to have brought fire from the Gods concealed in a hollow stem; Bacchus' symbol was a stem surmounted by a pine cone; the long-lost sexy-time spice laserpicium came from a species of Ferula called silphium.

    Incidentally, there's probably a common theme here: think of the shape of a stem with a pine cone on top ... a stem with fire in it ... Bacchus waving his rod in drunken revels ... a spice famous for its aphrodisiac qualities ... but I can't imagine what it might be.

    Anyway, asafoetida was apparently thought to be a cheap substitute for silphium, so there you go.
    posted by Joe in Australia at 1:53 PM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Its better than belacan.
    posted by infini at 2:11 PM on July 20, 2015


    South African-Indian cuisine is terrific, and provides a lovely spin on more traditional curries.

    I lived and travelled in the Subcontinent for many years and it was hugely eye-opening to me. Especially vegetarian cuisine. However, some of the best Indian food I ever ate in a restaurant setting (home cooking is another beast altogether), was in South Africa. I was really surprised how consistently good it was. And different. I spent most of my time in Capetown and I fell in love with a lot of the Cape Malay cuisine I tried.

    As for hing.... One of the worst meals I ever had was Spaghetti in hing sauce (for lack of a better term) at a Krishna Temple in Toronto. There must have been easily have a container of hing in there. It was incredible. A little hing really goes a long way.
    posted by Ashwagandha at 5:29 PM on July 20, 2015


    Yeah, I always say that the best Indian food I've had, including in brand name (Bukhara) restaurants has been at Khana Khazana in Kigali, Rwanda. Must be something in the African waters?
    posted by infini at 11:49 PM on July 20, 2015


    a spice famous for its aphrodisiac qualities

    huh, the intersection of aprhodisiac and abortifacient in silphium is very interesting.
    posted by poffin boffin at 9:49 AM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


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