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Imperial Food

Since reading Narayan, I have thought a lot about the different situations of eating foreign food in the United States, and it occurs to me that the different circumstances around the store make it more or less a neocolonial experience as far as I'm concerned. For instance, as she pointed out, many foreign restaurants sell large portions for cheap...which I think must represent the price somewhat ie rice is cheap. I, as a white american, enjoy a new exciting flavor and the restaurant owner gets my money. I think this is okay, it's just a transaction, unless I make fun of the accents, the dress, the religion of the culture who's food I'm enjoying. Obviously, one can make any situation into a neocolonial power struggle by being a jerk. What I do think is a problem of colonialism is the large chains specializing in foreign food, but owned by some rich american who isn't interested or involved at all with the country from which they borrowed their recipes. Here I am talking about Noodles and Co, and Chipotle, which are both owned by McDonalds. Noodles and Co serves "asian" dishes, "mediterranean" dishes, as well as US comfort food like mac and cheese. They effectively replace any hole-in-the-wall asian noodle shops in whatever neighborhood they choose to move into by using their almost endless capital to create an experience that offers foreign food in comfortable, American standard atmospheres. This has the effect of eliminating the learning about other cultures, and routing the credit and money for the recipes back into the traditionally dominant culture.