I'm writing this from Amsterdam, where Valarie and I just ate at a fabulous Indonesian restaurant. I'd never had Indonesian food before, as it's not at all prevalent in the US. But it's so good! It must be because American culture was influenced more by Britain and France than Holland, who was the country that colonized Indonesia. Plus there haven't been too many Indonesian immigrants in the US. So maybe the reason we have certain restaurants in a city is not just a matter of local tastes, but whether or not there is impetus to start them. What really interested me though, beyond the India-meets-China blend of spicy and sweet, was how Holland's prevalence of Indonesian restaurants follows a similar pattern in three of the four countries we've been to: Britain has India as its former colonial holding whose cuisine has to a degree usurped the indigenous cuisine. [Recently chicken Tikka Masala was named England's national dish.] In France, at least in the central core, the county's ethnically diverse population is not followed by a prevalence of Vietnamese, Algerian or Senagalese food per se -- the overwhelming majority of the cuisine is still French. But again here in Amsterdam, Dutch cuisine certainly does not take center stage. But it's always interesting to me the relationship that develops between one country with another's food, both the reasons it came to be and the allure of the flavors to those tasting them.