Whenever people list the great cuisines of the world, they start off with French and Chinese. The third is usually the cuisine of the country they belong to. I have , for instance, seen a Brazilian cookbook which stated confidently that ” The three greatest cuisines of the world are French, Chinese and Brazilian.” Sorry, but I don’t think that Brazilian is it.
So, what is the third great world cuisine ?
If the parameters for choosing a cuisine are taste, variety and uniqueness the field is very limited. In Europe, there are Italian and Spanish ; the others are either bland or limited in range, because of the harsh climate which precludes many vegetables. In Africa and the Middle East, the contenders would be Moroccan and Tunisian. I don’t know that much about Latin America but I guess the front runners would be Brazil and Peru. In Asia, there is only one choice, India. Much as I love Thai food and Vietnamese and Malaysian and Indonesian, they are very strongly influenced by the two mother cuisines of Asia, Chinese and Indian.
Of all these, my choice would be Indian. Indian cuisine is unparalled in it’s variety, particularly in it’s use of spices and vegetables and it is certainly unique. Those who have eaten Indian food only in restaurants may disagree because , in general, Indian restaurant food is too salty and overspiced and uses too much oil.It is completely different from home cooked Indian food which uses vegetables in a staggering variety of ways. I think that the appeal of Indian cuisine is reflected in the way it has influenced many of the other cuisines of Asia and it’s growing appeal in Europe and North America. Before I am accused of a lack of objectivity,( I am of Indian origin), let me say that if I had to choose only one cuisine to eat for the rest of my days it would be Chinese, not Indian.
So, what do you think ?