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1 My 'Vietnamese food' conundrum on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:16 am

Shad

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It's 2am. My question is:

If you were to eat a Vietnamese person, does that mean you ate Vietnamese food?

The nationality, of course, is irrelevant - it just happened to be the one in question during the conversation I was having when this thought occurred to me. So no offence to War.

But yeah. I'm talking about food in its broadest definition here. That is, anything with any nutritional value whatsoever. So, like, anything.

However, I think that what defines 'Vietnamese food' or food attributed to any nationality/culture is that it's prepared/reaches some state at which it has properties unique to that country/culture. Similarly, a Vietnamese person has some qualities, either biological or mental, that sets them apart from other nationalities.

So if some Vietnamese person (either native or simply raised to be whatever it is to be 'Vietnamese', which is another issue) decides to prepare some bizarre, never-done-before dish like a potato salad with shredded sandpaper and bull testicles mixed through it, that dish becomes Vietnamese food. Well, extremely unpopular Vietnamese food, enjoyed by perhaps only one person, or even zero. Our paper/balls salad might never be gazed upon by another living soul, but its origin makes it, by definition, Vietnamese food.

So, even though cannibalism, like the consumption of paper/balls salad, isn't widely practised in Vietnam in particular, if one were to consume the body of a Vietnamese person, wouldn't the reasoning I described above imply that such an action could be described as 'eating Vietnamese food'?

Join me in discussion, friends and colleagues.



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2 Re: My 'Vietnamese food' conundrum on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:28 am

невидимый

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Drink plenty of water and go to bed. We shall discuss this later.

3 Re: My 'Vietnamese food' conundrum on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:30 am

Penguin414

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Well, I wouldn't say that the origin of the ingredients makes the meal of that origin, if I prepare and cook a steak that happens to have originated from Vietnam, I wouldn't be saying "I had a Vietnamese meal last night", because it's just a steak, like a steak from anywhere else, it's not like it makes a difference where it comes from (excluding health regulations/animal treatment/whatever, not the point I'm making).

Because ingredients are just ingredients, it's more so about the preparation techniques/flavour combinations that make a meal specific to its country of origin.

So yeah, unless you prepared the meat in some Vietnamese style with some Vietnamese seasoning or something, it would just be plain old cannibalism.

And I don't see how you take your example to make it Vietnamese food, because you are preparing the odd dish of a Vietnamese person, so would that not make the dish of the origin of whatever nationality you are?



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4 Re: My 'Vietnamese food' conundrum on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:41 am

Doggy 4333


If you're looking at it in a philosophical point of view and not a scientific point of view then i can see where you're coming from, as the vietnamese person is a product of the vietnamese culture and is unique to that society, so if you were to eat one, then by definiton you are eating chinese food.

but if you're looking at it scientifically then the food a vietnamese person eats would have already digested and unless they had a big vietnamese meal beforehand you wouldn't be eating much if not any vietnamese food.

that's my half sleep/drunk reply. <3

5 Re: My 'Vietnamese food' conundrum on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:51 am

Shad

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Penguin414 wrote:Well, I wouldn't say that the origin of the ingredients makes the meal of that origin, if I prepare and cook a steak that happens to have originated from Vietnam, I wouldn't be saying "I had a Vietnamese meal last night", because it's just a steak, like a steak from anywhere else, it's not like it makes a difference where it comes from

I wouldn't say that either, but it's a question of whether I could truthfully say it, which I think I could. if the steak originates from Vietnam, it's a Vietnamese steak, so regardless of the origin of whatever cooking method (if any) was used, I think the meal would be at least partially Vietnamese.

And I don't see how you take your example to make it Vietnamese food, because you are preparing the odd dish of a Vietnamese person, so would that not make the dish of the origin of whatever nationality you are?
I assume that all Vietnamese meals were invented by Vietnamese people at some stage, and some amount of these meals became popular enough that people still eat them today. What I was trying to say was that the Vietnamese person inventing the paper/balls salad, using whatever techniques/flavour combinations they wanted to, made all of those techniques/flavour combinations of Vietnamese origin just by using them in that way for the first time.
I guess it comes down to what you define as Vietnamese food - whether it's the person who makes it (in which case non-Vietnamese people can never make 'Vietnamese food') or the method of preparation (in which case I can theoretically make the salad to an equal level of Vietnamese-ness as the person who invented it). Or whether the origins of all of the ingredients are involved, in which case lots of commonly consumed food could be said to have originated from anywhere and everywhere on Earth, and maybe even beyond if you start to think about the exchange of electrons that help to make up the ingredients.



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6 Re: My 'Vietnamese food' conundrum on Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:36 am

Penguin414

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I disagree, I don't think you could refer to a meal you prepared with a single ingredient from a country as being a meal from that country. Even the google definition: "Vietnamese cuisine is a style of cooking derived from Vietnam with fish sauce, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables all..." it's the style of cooking and combination of ingredients, not the ingredients themselves. And I suppose as this comes down to a matter of opinion, I can't really go any further than that statement, but at least google is on my side.



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