Food pairing is Anglo-American; Mediterranean and Asian cuisine avoid recipes that share flavours.
North American and western European recipes tend to pair flavours that ‘match’. Both southern European and east Asian recipes tend to avoid recipes where the ingredients share flavours.The contrast with east Asian recipes was particularly marked, the researchers found.
The more flavours two ingredients share, the less likely they are to be used together in east Asian cuisine – whereas 13 key ingredients, including butter, milk and egg, appear in 74.4 per cent of dishes in north America.
There are flavours that ‘define’ a cuisine – for instance basil in south European food, or soy sauce in east Asian – but the classic pairings of each cuisine, such as parmesan cheese and tomato (which share lots of flavours), and garlic and sesame oil (which share very few) show that ‘food pairing’ is a distinctly western idea.
Article at “Why do Western and Asian foods taste different? Study reveals that it’s all down to chemistry” | Dec. 19, 2011 | Rob Waugh | Daily Mail at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2075237/Why-Western-Asian-foods-taste-different-Study-reveals-pair-flavours-totally-different-ways.html”
Original research at “Flavor network and the principles of food pairing” | Yong-Yeol Ahn, Sebastian E. Ahnert, James P. Bagrow & Albert-László Barabási | Oct. 18, 2011 | Scientific Reports (Nature) at http://www.nature.com/srep/2011/111215/srep00196/full/srep00196.html