Investigating Cuisine Experiences in the Maldives: A Novel Research Method Utilising Tasting Buffets
Shenaan, M; Schanzel, H; Berno, T
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Food as a tourist activity offers the rare prospect of fulfilling all five senses, especially taste, and heightening experiences. For food studies in tourism, taking part in the act of eating and drinking as part of the research design is rare. This study aims to address this methodological gap by introducing tasting buffets as a novel research method. Buffets, which included local dishes, were arranged at three guesthouses on three different local islands in the Maldives. International tourists staying in guesthouses were recruited to sample the dishes and were then invited to participate in interviews about their experiences, perceptions, and sensory memories of food. Various themes emerged from the analysis of the interviews, including food neophilia and neophobia, food to explore local culture, indifference to food, and the connection be-tween food, memories, and sensory recall. The study offers an effective and practical meth-odological contribution towards embodiment in tourism food research. It offers a valuable method to prompt discussions of local cuisines, unfamiliar cuisines, and holiday food memo-ries, behaviours, and intentions. The efficient, practical, and useful methods utilised in this explorative study can be used as a blueprint for future food tourism studies, to explore food sensations and sensory memory recall related to food experiences.