Polarising Palates: 5 Foods The World Can't Agree On
Food brings people together, but some foods just divide the world into two camps: the lovers and the haters. We've rounded up five foods which we think are some of the most polarising in the world. Chances are you'll know someone who disagrees with your stance on at least one if not all of the following.
Japanese Natto is often stereotyped as being a foreigner repellant but truth be told, this dish of fermented soybean polarises even the Japanese population. For some, it's the smell. For others, it's the gooey texture they can't get past, and for many, it's both these factors combined. But for those who are fond of the stinky, sticky beans, natto easily becomes a daily treat on rice or another carb such as refreshing somen or soba noodles. And lucky for natto lovers, natto is an incredibly nutritious superfood, full of fibre, probiotics, calcium and vitamin K12.
Ah, the infamous Southeast Asian King of Fruits, durian needs no introduction. It's the one fruit you'll see signs specifically forbidding consumption of in public places in Thailand because of its pungent smell. Some describe the fragrance of durian as sweet and pleasant and equate the experience of eating durian to that of a natural custard. If you're not in this camp, then you're more likely repulsed by durian's odor and not a fan of its taste either.
The notorious Australian bread spread the rest of the world loves to hate... For those who've never been to the Land Down Under before or don't have an Aussie ambassador in their lives, Vegemite is a thick, dark food spread made essentially from yeast plus other vegetables and spice additives. (New Zealand has a similar offering called Marmite.) Like Japanese natto, Vegemite is another polarising fermented food with a distinct umami flavour. It shakes up the world of bread spread that typically includes the palate friendly likes of nut butters and fruit jams. If you've yet to classify yourself as a Vegemite lover or hater, the tip Aussies always seem give to newbies is to spread the mixture as thin as possible over buttered toast.
A seemingly harmless herb for garnishing, cilantro's not quite like spring onion, mint or basil, which no one really seems to mind bring being on the side of things. Cilantro can really throw some people off and render an entire dish inedible for them, and it's because of their genes. In fact, all the foods on this list are well received or disliked due to differences of receptors in the human body. For cilantro, OR26A is the genetic SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that makes the herb taste bitter and even metallic to some people. So the next time one of your friends makes a nasty face at your favourite guay tiew or salsa garnish, just remember it tastes like soap to them.
5/5 Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are the prime example of vegetables children wince at and whine about eating, but the truth is many adults too find the wild cabbage revolting. Again, the difference in taste lies in our genes. In case you're wondering, TAS2R38 is the gene that unlocks brussel sprouts' bitterness in humans and apparently, about half the population has this gene mutation. So it's not a matter of how you cook brussel sprouts really, as some would claim the cause to be. Those who hate it are destined to.
See also: #TatlerTastes: Best Upscale Mexican Salsas In Bangkok