Olfactory memories are the most powerful of all, a sensory bibliography of life’s most unforgettable events — and reminiscences of foreign explorations are no different. The lasting memory of any holiday long after the suntan has faded and the pictures have been downloaded is one of smell. Close your eyes and remember the last time you stepped foot in Thailand and the evocative aromas of basil and lime will come to mind. Think of China and the sticky sweetness of a steaming wok fills the air, edged by an insolent spiciness of white pepper that assails the senses as keenly in your memory as if you were still there.
At the heart of many of the world’s most favourite dishes there is a trinity of ingredients, a tantalising trio on which the basic flavour of memory is founded, whether that’s in the Caribbean or Vietnam.