Hundreds of years ago, Europeans began coming to these mysterious islands in the Pacific ocean looking for spices. In the early 15th century, these Europeans (including the French and Italians!) got tired of eating their fish & potatoes with just salt. They encountered Arab traders who brought them spices with complex flavors – nutmeg, black pepper, curry, and many others. These spices added depth to the bland foods they were used to eating. And even though they were quite expensive, they were addicting. They had to have more, and they certainly didn’t want a middle man jacking up the prices! The promise of great food prompted explorers and traders to set sail around the world in search of the source of these spices: The mythical Spices Islands. The era of colonization began, lead by the Spanish and the Portuguese. Just in case you haven’t figured out yet, the Spices Islands refer to Moluccas, the modern Archipelago of Maluku in Indonesia. That hunt for incredible food, started hundreds of years ago by explorers on massively expensive expeditions, continues to this day. I’m a proud Indonesian who has lived half my life now in the United States. I understand that the vast cultural differences between two completely different cultures can sometimes make it difficult for Westerners to understand the culture of food in other countries, especially one like Indonesia.