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The Flavor Graph

Gizmodo has a super interesting wrapup on a Nature paper about why Asian and Western food taste so different:

According to the study, Western cuisines have a tendency to pair ingredients that share many of the same flavor compounds. East Asian cuisines, however, do precisely the contrary, avoiding ingredients that share the same flavor compounds. The more flavors two ingredients share, the less likely they would be paired together in Asian kitchens.

Be sure to check out the large version of the flavor graph. It’s pretty amazing. It breaks out how closely two foods are connected to each other based on their flavor compounds.
[Via @tyahma]

December 19, 2011 // This post is about: , ,


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  • James Higgs says:

    Hi Noah,

    This is fascinating. Due to family commitments I spend at least a week every year in Thailand, and obviously end up eating loads of Thai food, which I love. But no matter how much I love it, I always end up craving ‘Western food’ – any generic non-Asian food will do. One hit is fine, and then I can go back to Asian. I’d never really been able to work out why I don’t pine for the food of home when I travel somewhere with a European cuisine but this explains it.

    On a related subject, there’s a book I have called The Flavour Thesaurus which arranges flavours into something like a colour wheel. Not sure if it’s available in the States, but you might find it interesting if it is.


  • Petrina Guth says:

    Asian food is every bit as diverse as it is delicious. I used to think that I knew Asian foods growing up. You see, we used to go out to Chinese and practically every weekend. They were a couple Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood, and they were perfect for us kids. They were greasy, flavorful, and we got a cookie at the end of every meal. What more could a child ask for?`

    Please do look into this useful blog page

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