Pepper publishes playful recipes and curious food stories for creative folks in the Philippines. In the future—if we make it—we’d like to expand our coverage to highlight the wealth of untapped food in Southeast Asia.
Snapping a pair of chopsticks in two, you gaze at a glistening plate of sashimi in your neighborhood sushi bar. You take a bite—and just like last week, it’s still pretty good. With jaw hanging, you lean in for a second piece when you notice someone new in your periphery: an old man clad in a white jacket, carefully slicing maguro in the open kitchen. He looks familiar, and his odd holy presence leaves you fiddling with your fingers in anxiety. Jiro Ono?
Was he the one who prepared that slimy sucker you just popped in your mouth? Bewildered, you pick up another piece to confirm. The pink meat glides through your puckered lips coating the walls of your mouth with a cool mist. “I’ve had this before,” you think. “It’s not all that special.” You chew with more intention. And as you further break it apart with your teeth, it suddenly hits you. You just swallowed the best sushi of your life.
Food tastes better if a famous chef prepares it. Or if you eat it in the shady alleys of Bangkok. Or if your mother cooked it just for you. That does not make you a pretentious sack of yeast—you’re experiencing food, not just eating it.
People often mistake eating as a meal versus eating as an experience—the two are not the same. Eating is about survival. Experiencing is about living.
If you’ve spent time preparing your dining table for friends, making sure nobody sees that rat-chewed floral placemat you actually use, you get it. If coffee tastes better from your favorite mug, or you chose your breakfast cereal because it features a koala bear, you know exactly how small details change the way we eat.
We find no reason to just seek out what food people already like–because if we did, we’ll just keep on covering KFC. The truth is: delicious doesn’t always mean interesting, and interesting doesn’t always mean delicious. We want to search for stories, recipes, and ideas that show new experiences that heighten food.
We eat with our hands. Our eyes. Our minds. Our relationships. Our culture. Our experiences. We eat with more than just our mouths. Food isn’t just about taste, and this is what we want to write about.