While at the Emergent Ventures UnConference after one of our big dinners, I was hanging with a group of guys from India talking about their experiences in America. They had all been in the United States several times for either study or business and were sharing with each other hilarious stories about something only American’s do. 

Before I share their funny story, let’s go through a few scenarios to see how you’d respond.

If you had a friend from China visit you here in Chester, knowing they’d probably be tired and hungry from a long flight, would you offer to take them to 1) a local Chinese take-out restaurant; 2) Margaret Kuo at the Granite Run Mall; or 3) some spot in Chinatown Philadelphia.

If you had an Italian friend visit, would you take them to 1) Pizza Hut; 2) Olive Garden; or 3) some little Italian hot spot in South Philly?

I know this sounds silly, but I couldn’t stop laughing as these guys from India were talking about their experiences getting off a plane in Chicago or New York and seeing how excited their hosts were to take them to an Indian restaurant. They couldn’t understand the gesture right away and finally understood it to be their host’s way of trying to be accommodating. 

These guys said the last thing they wanted to eat when arriving in America was some American-ized Indian food. They had their taste buds ready for some prime cut of steak and a huge baked potato with at spun salad and a glass of wine. 

As I let it sink in, I imagined what it’s been like for me landing in some city and my host taking me to get a cheese steak because I’m from near Philly. We know there’s no cheese steak like a cheese steak made here, but it seemed rude to say no while trying to swallow a Tulsa, Oklahoma version of a cheese steak sandwich. 

Featured photo: Some of the international food served at the UnConference