In a phone conversation with SBY, Obama said that he’s missing nasi goreng, bakso and rambutan. All of those local delicacies were a part of his childhood while living at Jakarta, Indonesia with his family.
Food is memorable, especially when it’s unique, special and of course delicious. It has a “special” capability to melt the situation. The relationship also can begin from a dinner banquet. Diplomacy occasion is not complete without serving the guests with dinner or lunch.
USA and Libya have been involved in unfriendly relationship for years. But last September, another story happened when the Secretary of the State visited Libya and met the Libya president, Moamar Kadaffi. They met in a comfortable situation. Kadaffi served his honored colleague by asking her to look around to his kitchen. Leeza (nick name of USA Secretary of State) was accompanied to have a look at the kitchen and of course tasted Iftar, the Libya delicacy. The success of kitchen diplomacy marks the milestone of USA-Libya relationship.
In 2003, Govt. of Thailand launched program Thai Global Food which aimed at reaffirming the international culture to its appeal. 8000 Thai restaurants around the world were up and it didn’t only introducing Thai food to foreigner but also attracted them to visit Thailand. 15 million tourists are recorded coming to Thailand every year.
According to a source, Diplomats in Washington have pointed out from time to time that restaurants are often the only contacts that most Americans have with other cultures. See, it has a magnificent role. Some say that meal time is the best one when you want to discuss about sensitive things, in sense it’s the moment when people share the same dish and ignore differences for a while.
Maybe our govt, can learn form Thailand. We can encourage entrepreneur to run Indonesia restaurants abroad and make it easier for them to import local ingredients from Indonesia. So, Mr. Obama won’t meet any difficulty when he wants to memorize his childhood through the Indonesian delicacy.