October 14, 2018

Food for Thought

The original location of this restaurant was featured in the Queens episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, which, I’m sure, played a significant role in their ability to expand to this much larger space. It’s interesting to note how revered older chefs are in the food business. In other industries, particularly technology-oriented ones, the younger generations have more authority. Why is this?

One of the reasons is the fact that knowledge about food is timeless. In technology, fashion, and design, every piece of knowledge has an expiration date. As you learn more, the older ones expire. Sure, there are some timeless insights in any fields, but in some fields, they matter less. Knowledge about cooking has no expiration date, even though the food you cook expires in a matter of a few hours. Once you learn how to cut an onion, it remains useful for the rest of your life. In other words, the older you get, the better you become.

Adding to this is the fact that the total amount of food we can consume in our life time is limited. In other fields, if you are ambitious, you could catch up with others by learning faster, training longer, and/or studying harder. You can’t do this with eating. Every opportunity to eat is an opportunity to learn something about the food. If you didn’t learn anything from it, you’ve just wasted that opportunity and you can’t make up for it—because now you are already full and have to wait for the next opportuntity.

Parts Unknown also tells timeless stories. They feature specific restaurants but that’s not the story. Even if the featured restaurants went out of business, his stories would remain compelling. Restaurant-centric contents are problematic in this way—as you create more, the older ones expire as they go out of business. Only a fixed amount of content remain useful no matter how long you keep reviewing them.

As I age, timely matters (contents that are only relevant now) interest me less. I’m fascinated by what makes things timeless—what survives the test of time—because I’ve lived long enough to see the results with my own eyes.

#AnthonyBourdain #tibetanfood #momos #dumplings #jacksonheights #queenseats #nycfoodie