Over the past couple of years, the Ghost Pepper has become synonymous with Indian foods. And why not? Ghost peppers are all over Indian menus in the United States – and in hundreds (if not thousands) of Indian recipes.
And, the Ghost Pepper is becoming more popular by the day. It’s cropping up on fast food menu boards and in the specialty dishes at fast casual restaurants.
It’s not just Ghost Peppers either. Ethnic foods, in general, are becoming increasing accepted into the mainstream of American eating preferences. You’ll find fermented foods from Asia, more authentic South American dishes appearing next to the tacos and burritos we’ve enjoyed for years. There’s also a movement towards African cuisines.
Not only are these food trends growing year-on-year, but they are spreading further outside of foodie circles than ever before.
Why Are We Enjoying Ethnic Foods Now?
Strangely, we may be enjoying Gochujang from Korea today because of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
You can laugh if you like; it does sound rather far-fetched. But, there is a close link between food and culture – and the changes running through one will affect the other… albeit slowly. According to one food studies scholar, the recognition of equal rights for all Americans also opened the door for acceptance of new flavors from across the globe and ignored flavors from the corners of our own country.
When you think about it, half a century isn’t a terribly long stretch of time to impact these changes. After all, each generation is only slightly more adventurous than the last one. What your family eats now will be the baseline for experimentation for your kids and grandkids.
People Love Ghost Peppers Because They’re Part of Indian Cuisine
There are, of course, several reasons why people are eating more Ghost Peppers in 2016 than they have before. For a start, many people are just beginning to experiment with extreme heat and chilies.
But, it’s also fair to say that Americans are feeling a little friskier when it comes to ethnic foods in general. And Ghost Peppers are a big part of Indian cuisine, right?
Ghost Peppers are only found in one small area of India and the dishes hailing from this area aren’t the best known, most loved, or the easiest to export. We just think they are. Most Indians living in India won’t have any idea what you mean by the Ghost Pepper; they’re only used in a rather unknown type of cooking in the northeast of India.
Of course, that should hardly stop you from enjoying Ghost Peppers. It doesn’t matter if they’re ethnic or not – or why we’re eating more ethnic foods in general. What matters about these chilies is that they’re damn good… and even hotter than that.