If you find the food offered to you at great height has a different taste, you should know that it has nothing to do with the cook: it is because of your taste buds. A study conducted by the German Institute for Medical Research “Fraunhofer”showed that the sense of taste changes at great heights, namely at 30,000 feet.
Yes, whether you are eating fish or meat or even rice or pasta, the taste will be different when you eat them at heights compared to eating them on land.
According to the study, at great heights, the first sense that humans lose is the sense of taste. The Institute conducted a test that included serving food at different heights above sea level, the results showed that persons’ perceptions of salinity or sweet foods decrease by about 30% on heights.
The study also showed that low humidity at high altitude causes dryness of nose which affects the sense of smell needed to savor the flavors of the different components of food. In addition, drier air affects the taste buds and the sense of taste, therefore not being able to distinguish the taste of coffee, juice, meat, and cheese.
Moreover, high places are not considered a traditional place to dine, especially in light of the surrounding circumstances as the air pressure. Robin Dando, Assistant Professor at the Department of Food Science at the University of Cornell in America, says that the usual environment for dining can change our perception about the food we eat. In his study, 5 different degrees of eating conditions had been shown to 48 volunteers, to measure the degree of sensory perception.
The study indicated as well that the taste of food and drinks is influenced by central and complex terminal interactions. The study team believed that the reason for the change in taste is produced upon an activity in the chorda tympani nerve through the middle ear which is responsible for the sense of taste.
In Sama Beirut, you live at the minimum height of 115m above sea level… Probably not enough to modify your taste. However, why not spice up your food a bit? Just in case.
In the meantime, enjoy the atmospheres, and Bon Appétit to you and your beloved!