Authentic vs Modified: Exploring the Differences in Local Foods at Home and Abroad

Food is a universal language that transcends borders and cultures. It is a reflection of a country’s history, culture, and identity. However, when local foods are taken out of their original context and served abroad, they often undergo modifications to cater to the local palate. This raises the question of authenticity versus modification. Are the local foods served by people from your country abroad still authentic, or have they been modified to attract local diners? Let’s explore this fascinating topic.

Understanding Authenticity in Food

Authenticity in food refers to the preparation and presentation of dishes according to traditional recipes and cooking methods. It involves using the same ingredients and techniques that have been passed down through generations. Authentic food is a direct reflection of a country’s culture and heritage.

Why Local Foods are Modified Abroad

When local foods are served abroad, they are often modified to suit the taste preferences of the local population. This could involve adjusting the level of spiciness, sweetness, or sourness, substituting ingredients, or changing the method of preparation. The goal is to make the food more appealing to local diners while still retaining some elements of the original dish.

Authentic vs Modified: The Impact on Local Foods

The modification of local foods can have both positive and negative impacts. On the positive side, it can introduce a country’s cuisine to a wider audience and promote cultural exchange. On the negative side, it can lead to a loss of cultural identity and authenticity. The key is to strike a balance between maintaining authenticity and catering to local tastes.

Examples of Authentic vs Modified Foods

  • Sushi: In Japan, sushi is traditionally a simple dish made with vinegared rice, raw fish, and seaweed. However, in the West, sushi has been modified to include ingredients like cream cheese, avocado, and cooked seafood, resulting in creations like the California roll.

  • Pizza: Authentic Italian pizza is thin and crisp with a few simple toppings. However, in the United States, pizza has been modified to have a thicker crust and a wide variety of toppings, resulting in styles like the New York and Chicago deep-dish pizzas.


In conclusion, the authenticity of local foods served abroad can vary greatly. While some dishes remain true to their roots, others have been significantly modified to cater to local tastes. Whether this is a positive or negative development is subjective and depends on individual perspectives. However, one thing is certain: food will continue to be a powerful medium for cultural exchange and understanding, regardless of its level of authenticity.