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라면 in Maryland, Brie in Korea: Globalization and Food

Recently, globalization has been especially relevant in my daily life — I’ve been living in Korea for the past 5 months where food has been a major part of my time abroad. In that time, I’ve noticed that, as Professor Chidamber mentioned, there are certain ubiquitous brands around the world — Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Starbucks being represented strongly. Maybe more notable is the inclusion of smaller brands or more unique goods in my daily life. For example, I was able to buy brie, salami, and cornichons at the grocery store for a party, I saw advertisements for Costco around Seoul, and saw German, Czech, Belgian, and American beers in bars and stores. Globalization has brought American and European products to a country that has a very traditional food culture, yet they thrive.

Even outside of Korea, in the U.S., my family and I are able to enjoy global foods in Maryland. Finding Korean 라면 (ramyeon), seasonings, and other ingredients is trivial, as is eating foods at Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean restaurants. For me and my family, a perfect snapshot of globalization would be our kitchen — rice wine and soy sauce from Asia, hummus and saffron from the Middle East, capers and Parmesan cheese from Italy. Brought by robust supply chains almost to our front door, we are able to enjoy foods that, 100 years ago, would be either unbelievably expensive, or simply unheard of.

The benefits of globalization to the U.S. can also be found in the kitchen; the ability to have a myriad of goods — wines, cheeses, spices — for reasonable prices is undoubtably better than being limited to the foods that spring from the plants and animals in a country’s borders. Without globalization, we’d certainly have a much blander and single-faceted cuisine — and most likely, blander culture and lives.

— Colin Burr

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