A safe generalisation: every place and culture in the world has food (some more than others). People need to eat. Some similarities exist between most food cultures, like having a main carbohydrate source such as bread or rice, or having set mealtimes in the day.

There are particular quirks however, which stand out in the food of one group versus others. I’m talking about so-called “typical” foods, which are perfectly normal to the people who eat them regularly, but which can be a bit strange and wonderful, or off-putting to those who didn’t grow up with them.

An example of this is root beer. To me, this tastes like delicious, but I grew up with it in the US, drinking it as a soda during long summers and sometimes with ice cream as a float (and the bubbles in the resulting foam wouldn’t break, which was curious).

Root beer is made with imitation sassafras as well as other herbal ingredients (since regular sassafras contains carcinogenic compounds). To my European friends, who grew up with this flavour which is used in medicine and toothpaste in Europe instead of fizzy drinks, it tastes awful (and somewhat of wintergreen). Apparently this is also true of Quark in DS9.

As I’ve explored the world, and the culinary world, I’ve noticed some typical foods that I enjoy and I think are worth sharing. So I’m relaunching my blog with a focus on food.

Expect a bit on travel, lots about the food that I think is cool and why, and some on how to make or where to find my strange and exotic discoveries in cities like London (I live there now) and NYC (lived there four years ago).

When looking for root beer, you can find it in most Asian supermarkets in London (due to root beer being popular in Malaysia), and you can find multiple varieties at Cybercandy, which also has more obscure American sodas like Dublin Dr. Pepper (from Dublin, TX and made with cane sugar). Cybercandy has bricks-and-mortar shops in Angel and Covent Garden.

If I’m going to a film at Leicester Square (probably at the excellent Prince Charles Cinema to a double bill of something like Aliens and Predator, instead of the poorly maintained, overpriced Odeon cinemas there), I tend to pop into Nippon & Korea Centre on Wardour Street just north of the entrance to Leicester Square from Piccadilly, and get my A&W root beer there.