Foreign chefs conquer Paris with childhood flavors for French cuisine

By Olga NEDBAEVA Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — “My mum doesn’t agree with what I do here: at home, we don’t eat like this,” laughs Alan Geaam, the first Lebanese chef to earn a Michelin star in Paris. The self-taught chef, who fled his country’s civil war in 1999, nonetheless believes that promoting Lebanon’s culinary riches means combining them with some of “the elegance and refinement” of French cuisine. At his self-titled restaurant in […]

Meatball from extinct mammoth unveiled by food tech firm

by Jan HENNOP Agence France Presse Amsterdam, Netherlands (AFP) Food scientists on Tuesday unveiled a giant meatball made from lab-grown flesh of an extinct woolly mammoth, saying the protein from the past showed the way for future foods. The glistening meatball was displayed under a glass bell jar by Australian-based cultivated meat firm Vow at the NEMO science museum in the Dutch capital Amsterdam. But it is not ready to be eaten just yet, with […]

Steam cuisine: cooking in Japan’s hot springs

BEPPU, Japan (AFP) — Using geothermal resources to generate electricity is a divisive prospect in Japan, but there is little disagreement about another use for it: natural steam for cooking. The geothermal sources that make Japan a haven for hot springs or onsen are also used to produce a range of delicacies. There’s the “onsen tamago” — eggs cooked in geothermally heated water at around 65 degrees (149 degrees Fahrenheit) to produce a relatively firm […]

Coffee so cold it’s hot: South Korea’s love of iced Americano

by Cat BARTON Agence France-Presse Seoul, South Korea (AFP) — K-pop stars BTS drink it. It appears in K-dramas. Fans are so dedicated to consuming it year-round they’ve coined a new South Korean proverb: “Even if I freeze to death, iced Americano!” The humble coffee — shots of espresso served over ice, topped up with water — has become South Korea’s unofficial national drink, outselling its hot counterpart even during the depths of winter, Starbucks […]

Sushi conveyor belt pranks spark outrage in Japan

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — A handful of unhygienic pranks at sushi conveyor belt restaurants in Japan have sparked stock slumps, venue overhauls and legal action, along with furious social media commentary. Several videos dubbed “sushi terrorism” have emerged on social media including Twitter and TikTok in recent days, some of them apparently weeks or even years old. In one, viewed nearly 40 million times on Twitter, an apparently teenaged customer licks the top of a […]

Handshakes, shoes and coffee cups: Qatar etiquette essentials

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) – Home to gleaming skyscrapers and upmarket shopping malls, World Cup host Qatar is also a conservative Muslim country deeply attached to its customs and traditions. Here are some of the cultural conventions football fans should know when visiting the gas-rich Gulf emirate, which, like other Arab nations, prides itself on its hospitality. – Greetings and handshakes – In public places, it is customary to stand up when greeting others, particularly the elderly, […]

Inflation hits home for Mongolians struggling for basic goods

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AFP) – At Ulaanbaatar’s Naiman Sharga money exchange market, elderly women stand in the street waving wads of money at passers-by, encouraging them to change foreign currency to Mongolian tugriks. Each transaction nets them a small profit — but when the value of the tugrik fluctuates it makes that more difficult, and lately the currency has taken a dive. This year the currency has fallen almost 15 percent against the US dollar — […]

Thai pop-up wins fans with crunchless cricket burgers

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) – There’s no crunch or crackle, but crickets are on the menu at one Bangkok pop-up serving fusion bug burgers, demonstrating the latest way to incorporate the protein-rich meat into food — direct from Thailand’s farms. Already catching headlines as a meat alternative, the edible insect market is expected to grow into a billion-dollar global industry in the coming years with many adopting creepy-crawlies into their diets as a result of climate […]

Sweeteners may be linked to heart disease risk, study suggests

PARIS, France (AFP ) – A large study suggested Thursday that artificial sweetener could be associated with a higher risk of heart disease, however experts urged caution about the findings. Sweeteners are consumed by millions every day in products like diet soda, partly as a way to avoid weight gain from sugar — but the healthiness of these substitutes has long been a matter of controversy. Aiming to assess the heart disease risk of sweeteners, […]

US says Ukraine grain exports near pre-war levels

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Ukraine is on course to ship nearly as much grain this month as it did before the Russian invasion, in a triumph for international efforts to ease food shortages, a US official said Tuesday. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn, barley and sunflower oil, shipping around five million metric tons of grain each month before the war. Its exports ground to a trickle after the […]

UK labour shortages see mass of food go to waste

London, United Kingdom (AFP) – More than £60 million ($72 million) worth of food went to waste in Britain in the first half of the year for want of people to pick it, the National Farmers’ Union said Monday. “It’s nothing short of a travesty that quality, nutritious food is being wasted at a time when families across the country are already struggling to make ends meet because of soaring living costs,” said NFU deputy […]

Study shows environmental impact of 57,000 products sold in supermarkets

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) – Eating fruits and vegetables is better for the planet than eating meat and cheese, but a new study by scientists released Monday showed chips and sugary drinks also have a very low environmental impact. Scientists analyzed some 57,000 products sold in supermarkets in Britain and Ireland, in a large study published by the scientific journal PNAS. The researchers, who hope that their study may allow consumers to shop more sustainably […]