in most cultures, food is a way for people to gather. It brings family and friends together for banquets, potlucks and holidays. Over recent years, different cuisines have taken on a new popularity. Most cities now have cuisines spanning all corners of the globe. For new cooking ideas or restaurant options, check out some of these global cuisines.
Mexican food is a common favorite cuisine in America. From chili con carne to enchiladas, spicy Mexican dishes are a popular choice. Western restaurants typically use Northern Mexican cuisine, but there are a number of other options. Ancient Mayan dishes have a subtler flavor while Central and Southern Mexico have a sophisticated taste. Restaurant goers can enjoy eggs, vegetables, beans, chilies and cumin in major Mexican dishes. Chocolate, tomatoes and salsa are always favorites as well.
With a culinary history that stretches back centuries, Italian cuisine is one of the world’s favorites. Spumoni ice cream, spaghetti, lasagna and pizza are traditional dishes that are widely available in the United States. Beyond these basic dishes, there are a number of regional favorites like Parmesan cheese and Parma ham. One part of Italy is even known for making a kind of maggot cheese. The cheese is fermented and allowed to sit out so that flies lay eggs. Afterward, it is packed at the perfect time for maggots to develop. It might not suit everyone’s taste buds, but it is a specialty from the country. If this cheese is not to your liking, the country has more than 400 types of cheese.
Although Italian cuisine varies from region to region, each meal will generally be set up in a similar way. It will begin with the antipasto or appetizer menu. Next, diners enjoy the primo course which consists of pasta or rice. The second course is a meat. To top it off, the last course is the dolce or dessert course.
India is one of the most densely populated countries on the planet. With so many people within the nation, Indian cuisine is highly varied. Curries are the traditional fare, but Indian food is not confined for just curry. There are a number of regions that make vegetarian dishes, and ayurvedic medicinal traditions are often used in creating food. Within India, visitors will find a range of sweet, hot and spicy dishes. Even better, the nation is home to millions of street food stands. At these stands, visitors can try out unique treats for a very cheap price
Long ago, the French Acadian people had to flee Canada. Although some of the Acadians went back to France, others chose to move to Louisiana. Once there, they combined French cooking style with local ingredients. This type of cuisine is normally formatted within three dishes. The first pot will contain the main dish while another pot contains vegetables. A third pot will generally contain a mixture of steamed rice and seafood. Popular meat choices include pork sausage, shrimp and fish. Due to the area, Cajun cuisine focuses heavily on celery, bell peppers, garlic and onions. Other flavorings include cayenne pepper, bay leaf, black pepper and green onions.
During slavery, African-American slaves were only given the leftover, unwanted food. Often, slave owners would try to feed them as little as possible as a way of saving money. This early origin caused soul food to develop. Slaves at the times used collards, mustard greens, turnip tops, dandelions and beets to make up their diet. They often were given the unwanted parts of the meat like offal, oxtail, pigs ears, lard and tripe. With these unwanted, inexpensive pieces, the slaves of the time managed to create a unique, delicious cuisine. Today, soul food includes dishes like chitlins, fried chicken, hog maw, pigs feet, fried okra, collard greens, corn bread, grits and hush puppies. After a delicious meal of soul food, you may not be hungry enough to eat dessert. If you are, you can look forward to cobbler, pecan pie or sweet potato pie.
Over the last decade, Thai food has grown in popularity. Hands down, the most popular dish is pad thai. To truly experience Thai cuisine, you should step away from the basic pad thai and try some of the broths and noodle dishes that make this cuisine so delectable. This cuisine focuses on a lot of herbs and offers a range of sweet, sour, spicy and bitter tastes. It focuses on fresh herbs, so this cuisine always has a vivid flavor.
Like Italian cuisine, Greek food dates back thousands of years. Many common Greek dishes have unknown origins because they have been around so long. This cuisine has a unique mix of different Mediterranean styles. Back in the day, the Greeks were well-positioned to become a major port for sea trading. Every time sailors returned from traveling, they brought back different dishes and dining styles. In Greece, visitors can expect fresh herbs, olive oil and feta. Due to its location near the sea, fish is a popular dining option. Pork and lamb are common meat choices because many of the islands are too small to host cattle.
If characterizing Indian food was hard, Chinese food is impossible to pin down. China has one of the most diverse mixes of cultures and cuisines in the world. The main eight styles of cooking are: Fujian, Cantonese, Anhui, Zhejiang, Szechuan, Shandong and Hunan. In Chinese traditional medicine and culture, the opposites of yin and yang must always be kept in balance. This same balance extends to food. When cooking, the Chinese try to balance different colors, tastes, textures and smells. This focus has paid off and made Chinese cuisine one of the world’s finest.
In a traditional Chinese meal, you can expect to have noodles or rice. Although many American-based Chinese restaurants use fried rice, most China-based Chinese restaurants serve basic steamed rice. With a strong Buddhist history, vegetarian dishes like tofu remain popular. Interestingly, garlic and chilies are considered non-vegetarian in Buddhism because they stimulate the chi. If you go to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, don’t expect a lot of spices. For non-vegetarian dishes, you can expect Peking duck, thousand year old eggs, squid and a range of meat dishes. Vegetables are always included with dinner, and they are far from your mother’s broccoli. Chinese vegetable dishes are often the most delicious part of the meal.
Due to its location, Lebanon has adopted Arabic and Mediterranean influences. Lebanese food uses a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. Other than fish, it does not contain a big focus on meat. When dining at a Lebanese restaurant, you can expect delicious pickles, unique salads, Arabic bread, vegetable dishes and vegetable dips.
The Hibachi or Teppanyaki grill are some of the most delectable of Japanese dining options. At a Hibachi grill, you can watch a cook flip, fry, griddle and cut the food in front of you. This cuisine focuses on noodles, tofu, sushi and vegetables. Each meal is meticulously prepared and exceptionally delicious. Even better, Japanese restaurants often serve oolong or green tea.
American food is an extremely popular dining option. With so many cultures moving in and out of the country, American food encompasses a range of different dining styles. In Chicago, the deep dish pizza has become famous. Texas has five-alarm chili while the Pacific Northwest is home to microbreweries and coffee. At most traditional American diners, you can expect hot dogs, hamburgers, buffalo wings, biscuits & gravy and omelets.
Expect Moroccan cuisine to become the next major hit over the coming decade. With such a rich history and unique dishes, this cuisine is one of the world’s finest. It uses Mediterranean fruits and vegetables to make spicy, flavor-filled meals. Lamb is a popular meat dish, and has a subtler flavor that Western lamb dishes. Due to its location near the sea, fish and shellfish play a strong role in Moroccan cuisine. Beef and chicken are commonly eaten. A local favorite is known as a Tagine and contains chicken, fries and olives. Many of these dishes are flavored with dried fruit, lemon pick and olive oil. At lunch time, Moroccans eat a hot or cold salad and bread. Famously, this cuisine includes couscous. Bread is a major dish and is known as Khobz. It varies from town to town, but often looks like a type of baguette. Other specialties include salted meat and Moroccan pancakes.
There is some debate if there is actually a Mediterranean cuisine. This term mostly developed in the 1970s when there was a Mediterranean diet. In general, it consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and olive oil. Depending on who you ask, it could include different Greek, Italian, Arabic, European or North African dishes.
Say Oui, Oui to French cuisine! Five-star chefs are often trained in French cooking. It uses cheese, chocolate and baguettes for delicious meals. Of course, a French meal would never be complete without some wine! Despite their focus on cheese, bread and chocolates, the French amazingly remain thin. Perhaps eating more of this cuisine could be a weight loss plan?
Spanish cuisine is exceptional because it limits spices. Instead of hiding the flavor of a dish with cumin, chilies or pepper, it only uses enough spice to bring out the natural flavor of the food. Due to its location along the coast, Spanish food has a strong focus on seafood. Famously, cafes and restaurants in Spain offer tapas or pinches. These snack-sized dishes can be made of basically anything and only cost a couple of euros. Before siesta, Spaniards can stop in a local cafe and get a glass of wine and a tapa for merely a couple of euros.
From sauerkraut to bratwurst, German is known for its flavorful dishes. Restaurant goers can expect spatzl (potatoes), rich varieties of bread, cheese and sausages. Even better, this country is known for its many delicious beers. Surrounded by the world famous cuisines of Italy, Spain and France, Germany has not gotten the attention it deserves from foodies.
Many people try kimchi and give up on Korean food for good, but this cuisine is more than just kimchi. If you have not had this dish before, kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish that is mixed with vinegar and spice. Other than this common dish, Korean food contains rice, meat, veggies and seafood. It has a unique flavor that you tend to love or hate.
Vietnamese food has not received nearly the attention it deserves. Due to the French colonization of the area, Vietnamese food contains traditional dishes and French cuisine. Visitors can enjoy vegetables, Vietnamese mint, shrimp paste, lime, basil leaves, soy sauce, fish sauce, fruits and vegetables in their meals. These meals are made to balance the five elements and tastes within the dish, so there is a mixture of sweet, spicy, bitter, sour and salty. Common dishes may include balut, duck meat or ginger.
Coffee and chocolate are just a fraction of what Turkey has to offer. This cuisine has a delicious vegetable stew, eggplant dishes and seafood-based meals. Stuffed dolmas are always delectable and the yogurt is scrumptious. Foodies enjoy eating dumplings, kebabs and baklava. Olive oil is used in abundance and fresh vegetables are a must-have for Turkish dishes. My personal favorite is the kebab. If you can find a street vendor, you can watch as they peel away meat from the spit. You can eat it on a stick, or some street vendors will put the meat in a pita sandwich-like form.
Caribbean food is a mixture of African cuisine and local delicacies. This food contains an impressive array of peppers and tropical fruits. From fried plantains to salt fish, Caribbean food is a welcome change from European and Mediterranean dishes. This cuisine puts a strong focus on using foods like leafy green veggies, goat meat, sweet potatoes, rice, peas and coconut. If you have never had Caribbean food, start out with a jerk chicken, goat curry and a mango salsa—you won’t regret it.