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!
So, I’ve been doing my research. Because there are so many prefectures and so many famous foods, I’m going to be breaking this article up into two parts. One for North, East, and Central prefectures of Japan, and one for West and South prefectures of Japan. At the end of the second part, we’ll also include a printout that has a map with numbers on all the prefectures corresponding to a list down below it. That way you can print this out, take it with you, and go on a rompy food excursion in Japan.
Historically, the city states of the Malay Peninsula often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China and Siam. Closer relations with China were established in the early 15th century during the reign of Parameswara, founder of Melaka, when Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca. Impressed by the tribute, the Yongle Emperor of China is said to have presented Princess Hang Li Po* as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan of Malacca (+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims the courtiers and servants who accompanied the princess settled in Bukit Cina, intermarried with the locals and grew into a community known as the Peranakan. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese, they retained many of their ethnic and religious customs, but assimilated the language and clothing of the Malays. They developed a unique culture and distinct foods. Nyonya cuisine is one of the most highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered some of the most difficult to master but very easy to love and enjoy.
You cannot live in Malaysia or Singapore without being a foodie on some level. Makan lah! or come and eat is a common and popular expression of welcome. Uniquely in the region, both countries have multiethnic populations each of whom have added their flavours, spices and condiments to the region's foodie heaven. There is Chinese food - Kuay Teow, Chicken Rice, Char Siu and Yong Tau Foo. There is Malay food, rendangs, sambals, petai and belacan adding a certain something to the mix. South Indian food proliferates like banana leaf restorans, idli-thosai pure vegetarian fast food joints like Komala's and of course the fish curries and prawn curries of the coastal regions. The colonial influence is felt with Roti John served up in hawker centres and food courts across the peninsula and islands, ending with cooling desserts like cendol, sago pudding with gula melaka and santan or 'pancake'.