If I had to name my favorite cuisine, it would be a toss-up between Vietnamese and Korean. Both offer charbroiled meats, pickled or marinated vegetables, and a lively and sometimes spicy array of seasonings.
What’s not to like?
Most unfamiliar ethnic foods become instantly accessible if you take a trip to a local shop to stock up on a few specific ingredients. It wasn’t until I learned about Moroccan spices that I realized that a tagine is basically a braise seasoned with specific spices mixed in the right combination, such as turmeric, paprika, saffron and ground ginger. Mexican food isn’t all that difficult if one familiarizes themselves with chilies, cilantro, and corn tortillas.
Ok, and a nice hunk of pork shoulder as well.
Every time I go to a specialty market, whether it’s Mexican, Japanese, or Chinese, I invariably lug back bottles of vinegars, odd herbs, specialty sugars and some sort of backside-burning chili pastes home with me. The other day when I was at Tang Frères, the gigantic Asian market in Paris, I heard a voice calling out for me to make Korean bbq this weekend.
It was a little strange: unlike the usual voices I hear in my head, this one had a Korean accent. And it was insistent.