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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Flavours of the Silk Road, Eastern Influence in the Western World

Back in my high school days, ‘Sejarah’ or history lesson was one of the compulsory lessons that I need to study. I got to learn about ‘Laluan Sutera’ or in English, Silk Road that played a very important part of the trading industry back in 114BC until 1450s AD.

Back then, camel is one of the main transportation along Silk Road. Photo by ChinaTourGuide
 It is an ancient route that was central to cultural interaction through different part of the regions from Asia connecting the West and East from China and India to the Mediterranean Sea. At the beginning, before knowing the function of this Silk Road, it kinda sounds like a road that traders transport silk? So is it all about silk? Definitely not! Hahaha...

The greatest value of the Silk Road was the exchange of culture. Art, religion, philosophy, technology, language, science, architecture and so on were also part of the elements that were exchanged through this. That includes food and spices that have been influencing our taste for many years.

Traditional Eastern culture is influencing the way the world and we perceives the Western culture in modern time. Once, there was a road that only the most intrepid of adventurers took. It stretched thousands of miles deep into fascinating kingdoms, rewarding the traveller with a first-hand experience into the rich palates of the Far East.

Spices... all the spices from different parts of the world. Photo by FajarServices
The Silk Road is also used for the transportation of spices other than goods, supplying markets across the world with cinnamon, pepper, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. That’s how people in the East get to taste herbs such as dill and marjoram while those in the West get to try curry leaves, garam masala, ginseng and wolfberry.

One most significant influence in food that we can see now is the Mediterranean cuisine where there’s some influence of Middle Eastern and Western ingredient in their food.

Nasi Lemak Cheesecake from Lepaq Lepaq. Photo by EatDrinkKL
Today, the Eastern culture has a strong influence on the food that we have such as nasi lemak cheesecake, pizza that usually comes with pepperoni now comes with Chinese sausage as well and a California roll that contain cucumber, crab meat and avocado is not a traditional Japanese sushi, which made famous in the US market.

Last but not least, there are a lot of things that we can discover through the cultural exchange through Silk Road before commercial airplanes were invented. Do share with me in the comment section below if you have discovered any particular food or flavours that we are having in relation of the Eastern influence.


.: Peace Out :.