Water thoughts at Nobu

Today I went to a business lunch at Nobu in London, and I noticed that they’d changed the bottled water they serve. They used to serve Voss, a Norwegian water that comes in fancy cylindrical bottles, and which tastes much less pleasant than London tap water, at least in my opinion (in a blind tasting). But now they have switched to Fiji water. Perhaps they switched ages ago — I don’t get to go to Nobu that often. Anyway, this made me laugh for two reasons. The first is that in blind tastings, Fiji is the water that I find tastes most like London tap. So, I like it, but you might as well drink tap water. The second thing that made me laugh was that one of the people at the lunch, an American woman, said that friends had asked her whether London tap water was safe to drink. Of course it was, she said — this isn’t some developing country with bad water. Which is true, of course. But isn’t it odd how people in one of the richest parts of the world will pay through the nose to drink water shipped all the way from a developing country where they probably wouldn’t dare drink the tap water? (For an analysis of the economics of shipping water from Fiji, see Ethan Zuckerman’s posting here.)

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