(On Being Multiculturally Oriented and Gastronomically Adventurous)
Some self-aggrandizing (‘pagbubuhat ng sariling bangko’) or self-downplaying (or reverse conceitedness, ‘pagmamaliit kunyari sa sarili’) claims are borne out of ignorance. This is the reason I don’t support or share the sentiment “Onli in da Pilipins” or even “Only in Canada,” for the well-travelled or the well-read and multiculturally oriented will immediately know if such a claim is valid or bogus, based usually on narrow-minded or limited-experience observations.
McSpaghetti and McSamosa: What’s Funny?
For example, many fellow Filipinos or some non-Filipinos here in Canada laugh at the fact that McDonald’s in the Philippines serves spaghetti and chicken with rice. They find this weird. Why? Because they are simply unfamiliar with the cultures of other countries and with what is known as product positioning.
To me, however, a McDonald’s McSphagetti or McChicken with Rice is unsurprising and as normal as it can be; it’s all about product positioning and market/consumer catering. In fact, in India, one can order at a McDonald’s a Pizza McPuff—a combination of samosa and pizza—or a Veggie McCurry Pan—vegetables topped with egg-less creamy sauce served in a rectangular crust. And then some…
More McDo Goodies!
I haven’t been to a McDonald’s in countries other than the Philippines and Canada; but doing my homework (researching on the Internet), I share with you some more products that McDonald’s serves in other countries; to make the uninitiated realize that McSpaghetti and McChicken with Rice in the Philippines are not laughable. And this list just shows that those Filipinos who are embarrassed or hesitant to let non-Filipinos know that there is McSpaghetti in the Philippines are actually the ones who are ignorant and laughable.
Japan – McPork (pork patty instead of beef)
Chile – McEmpanada con Queso (crust with meat and cheese fillings)
Egypt – McFalafel (burger drenched in tahini-garlic sauce)
France & Belgium – Le Croque McDo (Emmental cheese and a slice of ham)
Germany – The Nürnburger (a trio of small spiced sausages)
Middle Eastern / Israel – McShawarma and McKebab (barbecued beef on a lafa and pita)
The Netherlands – McKroket (deep fried roll stuffed with chili)
A McNugget of advice for those who are quick to utter a sarcastic remark about cultures: Be informed before you laugh, for in the end you might end up as the laughingstock. After all, sarcasm is usually rudeness disguised in humor.
Wasabi Chocolates: To the Adventurous Gastronome
Last February, on our way back to Canada from our vacation in the Philippines, we stopped over in Japan. While we were at the Narita airport, waiting for our connecting flight to Vancouver, we checked out many of the shops there. When I found there KitKat chocolate bars in flavors such as Wasabi, Green Tea, and Blueberry Cheese Cake, I was not surprised anymore. I simply went back to the idea of product positioning and consumer catering.
We bought some of those KitKat bars, and they tasted good—another ambrosia for the adventurous gastronome—another edible proof for the stance of a multiculturally oriented individual.
Sa Madaling Salita
Kadalasan, ang kaignorantehan ng isang tao ay bunga ng kanyang kawalan ng kuryosidád at interés na matutunan ang mga bagay-bagay. Kung tutuusin, di naman kinakailangang maglakbay pa sa malayong lugar para lang matuto; matuto lamang na saliksikin ang sariling komunidád at lokalidád para di patuloy na maging isang ignorante at sarkastikong wala naman sa lugar.
Or, in Simple Words
Sometimes, a person’s ignorance is borne out of her lack of curiosity or unwillingness to explore. One does not need to travel abroad just to discover things; all one needs to do is start exploring one’s own community and locality, getting away from one’s comfort zone once in a while.