All around the world: Kennesaw and Marietta serve up cultural experiences
May 13, 2015
Culture acts as the invisible rope that ties everyone together. It allows people to connect with one another, shape their behaviors, and affect their perceptions. Here in Georgia, the primary southern cuisine can overshadow the delicious cultural food hidden within its boundaries. As delicious as fried chicken and collard greens are, it was time to seek the unknown. Over the course of three months, I decided to find the best cultural, authentic restaurants near the Kennesaw area.
First Stop: India
The first stop of my cultural journey, Pinch of Spice, sits next to Costco and Dicks in Kennesaw. While the restaurant’s size resembled a large classroom, it boasted a classy, gorgeous interior with an all-you-can-eat-style buffet. Although it contained a limited amount of food, the quality of the cuisine triumphed the quantity. Some of my favorite dishes include chicken tikka, basmati rice, chilli paneer, and tandoori shrimp. It also features a section of creamy, Indian sauces, and a small dessert bar, including rice pudding and milk-solid sweets. Although the food could have been warmer, it burst with unique flavor and spices, hence the name of the restaurant. Additionally, it provided great service. The waiters came around with a basket of soft, tender naan, fresh out of the oven. They also constantly asked me if I needed anything.
“You don’t see too many Indian restaurants in the area, so this was a nice change. All of the food was really good and I got to try new things,” said senior Shelby Szucs.
The most interesting part about this restaurant is that it renders something new everyday. Each time my family members, friends and I make a visit to Pinch of Spice, the chefs feature different dishes each time. Although it may remain a mystery, I am always excited to see what they have to offer next.
Second Stop: Vietnam
After taking a right turn on the map, I traveled from an Indian to a Vietnamese cuisine. For dinner, I ordered “banh tom co ngu”, which comes with strips of sweet potatoes and shrimp mixed in tempura batter. Sweet pineapple encompassed the rest of the dish. Due to its uniqueness, the entree sharply contrasted from the usual lo mein noodles and sushi I usually eat at Asian restaurants. Furthermore, I ordered taro bubble tea, a fruit and milk shake with chewy tapioca balls at the bottom. This was by far my favorite item out of everything I consumed. The taro, a nutrient-rich root vegetable, harbored the perfect amount of sweetness.
“I am always trying Japanese food or Chinese takeout, but I’ve never had authentic Vietnamese food like this. It was really tasty and I’ll definitely come back here again,” said junior Riley Swab.
The atmosphere emitted a calm, serene vibe; it was dimly lit and was not too crowded. In addition, the restaurant provided fast and friendly service.
Third Stop: The Caribbean
Next, I traversed far across the globe to experience the cuisine of the Caribbean, north of South America, and southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. While the distance of the islands may appear far in comparison to Asia, the distance between Island Spice and my house totaled up to less than a mile. Island Spice offers a unique variety of foods, from curry goat and cow feet to porridge and pumpkin rice. I ordered the popular jerk chicken combo, which came with rice, black beans, cabbage, and fried plantains.
“Their meats were packed with spice and flavor. I’ve never had Caribbean food before, so I was out of my comfort zone, but in a good way,” said senior Sydney Husband.
These foods offered a distinct flavor that truly made me feel as if I were in the Caribbean. However, the rice was a little cold and bland. I also bought a delicious spinach pastry for two dollars. Most people know the Caribbean for its spices, however, so some may not enjoy the fiery taste.
Fourth Stop: France
The last restaurant I visited was a French cafe and bakery, Douceur De France. Although this was a little further than the other restaurants, the food made the trek worthy. The menu ranged from panini breakfasts and sandwiches to sweet and savory foods, such as crepes and pastries.
“I thought it was really nice. I spoke in French with the waiters and waitresses when I went there on a field trip. I ordered a sandwich, which was super good. I would definitely recommend it to anyone remotely interested in European food,” said senior Madison Johnson.
For lunch, I ordered beef bourguignon, a dish that features beef stew slowly cooked in Burgundy wine with bacon, onions, mushrooms, and parsley served with creamy mushroom sauce over rice. Although the food tasted delicious, there was nothing particularly distinct about it. It mainly just tasted like beef and rice. For dessert, I ordered the charlotte, ladyfingers surrounding lime mousse, raspberry mousse, and whipped cream. Although it tasted sour, I enjoyed the texture, and the ladyfingers were delectable.
Although it may seem uncommon, authentic, international cuisine does exist near the Kennesaw/Marietta area. This experience, however, was more than just tasting savory food. It helped create open-mindedness to other cultures, as well as a willingness to try new things.
As the United States grows more diverse, it remains important to accept every aspect of others’ cultures, which includes not only food, but language, arts, customs, and traditions.