Who said a scattered population was a bad thing? Multi-culturalism is amazing because it helps us all experience customs and traditions from other places. One of the best things about such exchanges is trying new cuisines – because who doesn’t love food?
India – The largest diaspora population
According to the United Nations, India has the largest diaspora population in the whole world. In 2015, 16 million Indian people lived outside of their home country. As a result, traditional Indian food is becoming commonplace across the globe. For example, in the UK, it is actually said that chicken tikka masala was – for a while at least – the unofficial “national dish”. It is rumoured to have originated in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, thus is a product of Anglo-Indian heritage.
Greece – A growing diaspora post financial crisis
Greek food is rich, healthy and delicious. It works especially well in locations across the world where seafood is available readily. When fish and shellfish is this fresh, it really highlights unique Greek flavors. Greek populations are found all around the world – with 2% of the population having left the country due to the 2015 financial crisis. Most end up in the UK and Germany but many others can be found further afield, in Asia and Australia. In Singapore for example, the Greek restaurant scene has absolutely exploded in recent years, as can be seen from the plethora of options available on delivery sites – take Deliveroo, for example. Dishes are traditional and triumphant, bringing over the best flavors of the Med. Hummus, souvlaki, moussaka and of course, fantastic fish go to show the effects of diaspora on available cuisine.
China – A diaspora that influenced the cuisine of another nation
Chinese people have made their homes just about everywhere. In the USA, for example, you’ll find a “Chinatown” in almost every major city. But it’s not just Chinese food that has made its way onto everyone’s plates. Thai food can now be found everywhere but what’s interesting is how Chinese immigration to Thailand originally influenced the seemingly distinctive cuisine. Thailand is home to the biggest Chinese overseas community in the world – Thais claiming Chinese ancestry has hit 14%. In the past, different ethnic Chinese groups trekked across to China and with them they brought things like noodles and soy sauce, which are used in both Chinese and Thai dishes we have come to know and love.
Saving the best ’til last? Well, it depends on your tastes but it’s no secret that Italian food, like pizza and pasta, is hugely popular all over the world, in developing countries and in the west. But how did its popularity spread? In America, Italian is one of the most popular ethnic foods. Italian people form part of the diverse tapestry of the nation and have done for years. In the late 19th century, they came to America looking for a new start – but through their food they clung to their cultural identities. As new waves of immigration continued, the available authentic Italian food grew – and we have many a reason to thank them for it. They say that variety is the spice of life, and that’s never so true a statement as it is with food!