Exotic to me equals different. Something I've not been exposed to previously. I like new experiences, especially food.
Well, I think there are different implicit associations/connotations with certain words. "Exotic" to me has a certain Othering slant and in my personal experience says something about the person's mindset. Like I said, I have never met a guy who called me exotic who didn't
end up having yellow fever. So it's made me wary.
I like trying new foods, too! So no hate there. I remember the first time I tried Ethiopian cuisine. When a friend asked me if I wanted to try it out, I said sure, because I had never had it before. I wasn't thinking, "Oooooh, that sounds so ~exotic." I wanted to try it for the same reason that I once went to a college football game, i.e. it was a new experience. No one (in America) would say that they decided to try attending a college football game for the first time because it was so exotic. The word definitely has certain implications IMO.
For the record, I did end up really liking Ethiopian cuisine. I liked it because I enjoyed the flavor profiles - someone once said that they were surprised I liked Ethiopian food when I didn't like Indian food, because to them Ethiopian and Indian cuisines were similar to each other, but I don't agree; I don't find the spices used in Ethiopian food to be as...intense? - and the communal nature of the meals.
If you saw my friend, what would your impression be?
I honestly probably wouldn't make any assumptions about her unless she gave me reason to think otherwise. Like if I started talking to her and she began talking about how India is some magical mysterious land where she wants to go in order to ~find herself a la Eat Pray Love
Not that your friend would do that!