Friday, October 19, 2012

Expectation and Anticipation: Rasa Ria

My search for a restaurant to visit led me to one of my dear friends, Ellen Murphy. She knows a lot about the Kalamazoo community and the food world, so it seemed fitting for me to contact her first. She recommended an ethnic place called “Rasa Ria.”  “It’s a family restaurant, with a good story,” she promised. My next step was to do some light research on Rasa Ria, and was excited to find that it was listed as serving Indonesian, Malaysian, and Asian Fusion food. I also spotted a picture of the restaurant online, and it proudly wore the words “Rasa Ria: Authentic Malaysian and Indonesian Cuisine,” as I read this I couldn’t help but allude back to our reading on Tuesday and Lucy Long’s chapter on “Tasting an Imagined Thailand: Authenticity and Culinary Tourism in Thai Restaurants.”
I imagine our discussion dictating my upcoming experience. I will forever be wary of calling anything “authentic” and will challenge all of the indicators of authenticity at Rasa Ria. The restaurant claims to authentic, yet is also known for serving Asian Fusion food. A fusion of many different foods begs the question “Is it really authentic of one thing in particular?” In my judgment, and of opinions in Long’s article, it doesn’t have to be “Appadurai believes the term {authenticity} should not be applied to culinary systems at all, because it cannot account for the inevitable evolution that occurs in cultures in cultures and their cuisines” (Long, 54). I am expecting the food at Rasa Rias will be authentically fusion, using ingredients from both Malaysia and Indonesia to create interesting and unique plates. Which according to Appadurai is part of the evolution of cooking and culture.
At Rasa Ria, the plate I plan to order Tofu Rendang, which has been highly recommended by many reviews online. I am a little apprehensive about this because the only tofu I have tried has been from the caf, and it tasted like disintegrating rubber. Hopefully this Rasa Ria can redeem my opinion of this Asian cuisine. I plan on having a lot of new and unfamiliar tastes, which makes me very nervous to write a critique. However, many of the reviews mentioned the use of coconut within the dishes. I happen to like coconut, so this news was somewhat ensuring. On the other hand, I want to be able to give a fair assessment of the food I am about to eat, but if I am not accustomed to all the flavors, it might hinder my ability to rate the taste. Also, my lack of knowledge with Asian food might make me unsure about my experience, and therefore my writing will lack confidence.
Despite some of the apprehensions I have, I am excited about my upcoming dinner tonight. I am anticipating surprising tastes, flavors, and spices that I hope to enjoy. Our discussion on Tuesday really sparked many ideas about authenticity. I really look forward to evaluating the restaurant experience and include many of the ideas about our readings and dialogue. 

1 comment:

  1. Katherine! I'm so jealous you're going there. I lived on Dartmouth street (right next to Rasa Ria) during the summer and never had an opportunity to go. I walked down once on a Sunday night and it was closed! I'm definitely excited to hear what you think about the place, especially under our new found lens of authenticity.