Quartz has this great video about a new trend in foreign policy called gastrodiplomacy. Countries like Thailand have funded and encouraged Thai restaurants all across the world. Typically a country's cuisine spreads with immigrants but they've purposefully done it in an attempt to grow awareness of their culture.
It's basically an effort to grow their brand awareness. Except in this case the brand is a national identity. Other countries have begun doing the same and it's a new way to grow soft power in our globalised world.
It makes me consider how in the past 20th century globalisation lead to the spread of American and European culture around the world. Everywhere has been influenced to some degree and consume some amount of their culture. This seems to be a reversing of that trend. The countries that were once influenced are now making use of these same mechanics to have the same effect.
The internet and social media has probably made this possible. Superpowers were able to spread their culture because of colonialism and eventually their dominance of mass media. Films, television, and music increased their brand awareness and the desire for their culture. Now the internet has allowed people all over the world to connect without having that power. Someone in a remote island can record a video of their culture, upload it to Youtube, and suddenly tourists are interested in visiting.
Gastrodiplomacy is just a result of the abilities we have in today's world. More countries should make use of it, the greater the variety of food everywhere, the better.