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  • - Within a half mile radius from where I'm standing,

  • there are more than 15 Thai restaurants.

  • In the last 20 years,

  • Thai restaurants have taken off in America, Europe, and Africa.

  • But that success is actually a little

  • out of whack with the number of Thai immigrants

  • around the world.

  • In the US, there's roughly one Mexican restaurant

  • for every 650 Mexican Americans.

  • But with Thai restaurants, there's one for every 55

  • or so Thai Americans.

  • - And it's not just because Thai food is delicious.

  • The explosion of Thai restaurants is paid for

  • by the Thai government.

  • The Thai government started a program

  • promoting this food in 2002 and it was the first example

  • of something that has become a trend in foreign policy.

  • It's called

  • gastrodiplomacy.

  • That means using food to extend a country's

  • cultural influence.

  • Gastrodiplomacy exists at the intersection of

  • two 21st century trends,

  • globalization and foodie culture.

  • It started as a way to strengthen nations,

  • but it's also expanding our national identity.

  • I'm Isabelle Niu.

  • This Is Quartz.

  • - Oh, hot!

  • Spicy!

  • Last year, Chalisa Fitts took over this Thai restaurant

  • in the heart of Washington, D.C.

  • And one day a strange call came in.

  • - From a Thai Embassy saying I was awarded,

  • by Thai Ministry of Commerce,

  • because my restaurant is authentic.

  • I actually first thought it was a scam.

  • It wasn't a scam.

  • A few days later, officials from the Thai embassy came

  • and presented her an award called Thai Select.

  • - I almost cried actually.

  • There is only five out of 65 Thai restaurants in D.C.

  • that were awarded.

  • This Thai Select program is a part of

  • Thailand's multifaceted effort to promote

  • its food globally.

  • Since 2002, the government has trained Thai chefs,

  • given out loans to restaurateurs

  • who wanted to go abroad,

  • studied the preferences of foreigners,

  • and has even come up with three prototypes

  • of Thai restaurants that would do well overseas.

  • - Thailand was the first to really conduct

  • a gastrodiplomacy campaign,

  • and they helped spread Thai restaurants

  • as a kind of a Thai Embassy if you will.

  • Paul Rockower is an expert on gastrodiplomacy.

  • - It's a form of nation branding, of

  • edible nation branding really, it's a way of promoting

  • soft power through promoting culture by focusing on

  • cuisine as the way to connect people.

  • And the Thai government's efforts have paid off.

  • Since the effort began, the number of Thai restaurants

  • around the world has tripled to over 15,000.

  • Helping Thai food go mainstream comes with

  • huge economic benefits too.

  • - People, you know, tried it more, visited Thailand more,

  • and the tourism increased because of it.

  • Today, Thailand is the most visited country

  • in Southeast Asia.

  • Travel and tourism accounts for more than 10% of its GDP.

  • And one third of that tourism spending

  • is on food and drinks.

  • Thailand's gastro diplomacy has inspired many

  • other countries to follow suit.

  • Several years ago, South Korea started what's called

  • Kimchi diplomacy.

  • Spending tens of millions of dollars promoting

  • its cuisine overseas.

  • It's made a ton of food related videos.

  • There's even an entire government-sponsored

  • English K-pop album just about food.

  • Other countries launching their own campaigns

  • include Peru, Malaysia, Lebanon and Taiwan.

  • These countries all have a lot to gain

  • from gastrodiplomacy.

  • They're relatively small, and view food as a way

  • to distinguish themselves.

  • But even superpowers, like Japan and the U.S.,

  • are doing gastrodiplomacy.

  • The Japanese government has even funded

  • its own catchy music video promoting its food.

  • All of these campaigns have helped diversify

  • the food we eat.

  • And that's the kind of foreign government interference

  • I can get behind.

  • Another reason why governments are jumping on

  • the gastrodiplomacy wagon has a lot to do with

  • the rise of foodie culture around the world.

  • - There is more of an interest in different types of food

  • and in things that might be a little

  • off the beaten path.

  • And that interest has created opportunities for

  • gastrodiplomacy on a much smaller scale,

  • by people like 25-year-old Mustafa Nuur.

  • - So right now we're making our Somali samosas.

  • Usually they're very spicy,

  • but this is the American version.

  • We try to not to kill anybody when they come here.

  • Mustafa and his family moved from Somalia

  • to Lancaster, Pennsylvania about four years ago.

  • The small city became known as the refugee capital

  • of America for settling refugees at a rate 20 times

  • that of the rest of the country.

  • But after the 2016 election, Mustafa says

  • attitude towards refugees changed.

  • - The people who loved refugees became more

  • passionate about it.

  • The people who didn't love refugees became

  • more passionate about it.

  • So he decided to start a program to connect refugees

  • and Lancaster residents through food.

  • - Hi. You Guys didn't get lost.

  • Come on in. Welcome please.

  • - When you sit together with somebody,

  • and there is an element of food,

  • it usually diffuses the tension.

  • Mustafa's program lets Lancaster residents

  • book a dinner with the local refugee family.

  • The family then cooks their traditional food

  • and eats with the guests.

  • We are new to the neighborhood as far as

  • being new refugees and immigrants.

  • And the best way to introduce ourselves

  • is through our food and our story.

  • - Welcome to our home. - Thank you.

  • He works with 16 refugee families in the area.

  • Over 3,000 people have booked meals.

  • I'm opening our doors and they are walking in our doors,

  • which is equally nerve-wracking for both parties.

  • - I'm sorry you went to the wrong house.

  • - If there's one that breaks apart you know which one it is.

  • - You have some Somali in you.

  • - 3,000 people had said, "I'm gonna go to a stranger's house

  • and I'm gonna learn about their culture."

  • So I will consider what the work I do gastrodiplomacy.

  • It's using food as a form of connecting cross-culturally,

  • cross-faith, cross-country,

  • so yeah.

  • Mustafa's program is part of a growing social movement.

  • Organizations around the world see gastrodiplomacy

  • as a way to help refugees and immigrants.

  • It goes beyond seeing food as a symbol of nationalism.

  • And that's what gastro diplomacy can do:

  • turn something that seems foreign and exotic

  • into a part of our everyday life.

  • - Thank you. - Thank you again. Appreciate it.

- Within a half mile radius from where I'm standing,

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B1 中級 美國腔

飲食文化已成為外交政策的一部分(這就是美食文化)。 (Foodie culture is now part of foreign policy (It's Gastrodiplomacy))

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    Hugo 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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