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Peruvian cuisine, Indian devil dung and sacred salt from Hawaii

Hanapepe is one of the last salt fields in Hawaii. 22 Hawaiian families, by cultural and spiritual tradition, still produce paakai there (which is the Hawaiian term for salt) and maintain salt ponds. The sacred salt of Hanapepe may be traded or given away, but it may never be sold. Hawaiians use it for cooking, healing, rituals and protection against evil spirits. In recent years, development, pollution from the neighbouring airport, vehicle traffic, waste left by tourists, rising sea levels, and weather have increasingly threatened package production.

Thanks to the indigenous people’s traditions and the chefs’ creativity, Peruvian Lima has four restaurants on the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world. Peru’s culinary excellence is partly the result of its vast natural pantry – its tropical latitude, with considerable differences in altitude from the peaks of the Andes to the Pacific coast, supports almost all types of ecosystems and, therefore, a wealth of crops and livestock. Last June Central, a restaurant in Lima, was voted the best in the world.

Asafoetida, called devil’s dung in Poland, is an Asian wild dill plant. The resin from its roots – usually after grinding it into powder and mixing it with flour – is very popular in traditional Indian cuisine. It replaces onion and garlic, which were banned due to religious beliefs in mostly vegetarian Indian communities. In turn, the inhabitants of Africa and Jamaica wore asafoetida amulets, believing that it protected them from demons.

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