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Something to Declare

Jay Rayner

‘There is a view that authenticity in food is to be venerated above all other things. In other words – is the dish, the way it’s produced, true to its roots? People travel the world in pursuit of the truest version of a dish, and mark themselves highly for having strived for authenticity rather than settling for what they regard as some strange facsimile, which doesn’t match up to what the real thing should be.

‘My problem with this is two-fold. Firstly, authentic is not the same as good. Anybody who has eaten Cantonese chicken feet will be in no doubt that they are a genuine part of the local culinary repertoire, but – unless they have a particular taste for long-cooked collagen – I’d be very surprised if they called them good. They are a rather unpleasant eating experience, which isn’t surprising because most of these authentic peasant dishes are born out of poverty. You only eat the chicken feet if you are so poor that you can’t afford to throw anything away.

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Lonely Planet
February 2016

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