One question that always bothered me living in southern England was why the local cuisine was quite so lamentable compared to that available just a short hop over the Channel. The crops grown in the two countries are not radically different but the end result is so different.
One can see a similar thing here in Asia. The Philippines has the climate and soil to grow everything that is grown in Thailand. But there is a reason one almost never sees a Filipino restaurant outside the Philippines, whereas Thai food is one of the world's most popular overseas cuisines.
What is your theory to explain these differences?