The idiom “variety is the spice of life” definitely rings true when it comes to our food choices. Eating the same old food day in and day out can be boring. That’s why for most travelers, discovering local food is one of the essential aspects of traveling.
There are endless possibilities of trying different types of cuisine when traveling abroad, but if you live in big cities like Los Angeles, New York City, or Chicago, you’re spoiled for choice as well. The food list can be overwhelming. Clearly, you don’t have to leave home to savor dishes from around the world. To help you with your food list, we suggest these 11 national dishes of the world that you can try at home and abroad.
1. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
Some say chicken tikka masala and fish and chips are the national dishes of England. However, we tend to agree that roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is the English national dish. The origin of this dish is unknown, but the first recorded Yorkshire pudding recipe is dated back to 1737, and some records show that it originated during the medieval times in England.
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a traditional Sunday roast or Sunday dinner, is a dish with roast beef, roasted potatoes, brown gravy, peas, carrots, and Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire pudding looks like a popover; it’s a savory side dish made of flour, eggs, milk, and salt.
To make this dish at home, check out Saveur’s recipe.
2. Nasi lemak
Nasi lemak or coconut milk rice served with toasted peanuts, fried anchovies, sambal (spicy chili sauce), hard-boiled egg, and cucumber is available throughout the day in Malaysia. This national dish is available at sidewalk stalls, night markets, posh restaurants, and anywhere that serves local dishes.
Most Malaysian restaurants in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston have this Malaysian national dish on their menu. If you want to make it at home, try a recipe provided by Bon Appetit.
3. Lomo saltado
If you ask a Peruvian what dish you should try when in Peru, it will almost always be lomo saltado. Lomo saltado is a hearty rice dish made up of stir-fried sliced beef with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. To add more carbs to the plate, Peruvians topped it with French fries or fried potatoes. This Chinese-influenced dish was created by Chinese workers when they immigrated to Peru in the 19th-century.
Take a look at a video presented by Peru official tourism site on how to make lomo saltado:
Mansaf is a Jordanian national dish that is a must when guests are coming over and during festivals and gatherings. To eat mansaf, traditionally in Jordan, everyone uses their right hand to dig into the big platter of lamb, rice, pine nuts, and jameed (fermented, dried yogurt). Shrak (Bedouin flatbread) is served on the side. Usually, the head of the household will pour the jameed over the lamb and rice before everyone is welcomed to dig in.
Here’s a video prepared by Saveur with a step by step guide (recipe on Saveur’s website) to making mansaf:
Besides enjoying beer and bratwurst, you must try sauerbraten, Germany’s national dish. It’s a pot roast dish that is made either with beef, venison, pork, or mutton. In the olden days, horse meat was the meat of choice for sauerbraten. The meat is slow-cooked with onion, vinegar, salt, sugar, and a variety of spices.
This hearty dish is served with potato dumplings and red cabbage on the side.
6. Braised beef noodle soup
Taiwanese braised beef noodle soup is a delectable bowl of red-braised beef slow-cooked in beef broth, soy sauce, spices, vegetables, and hand-pulled wheat noodles. There are a few variations; it can be spicy or non-spicy. Braised beef noodle soup is available throughout Taiwan – in night markets, traditional food halls, and posh restaurants.
If you’re near a Chinatown in your city, check out the Taiwanese braised beef noodle soup in one of the Chinese or Taiwanese restaurants. If you’re in New York City, go to Four Four South Village on 38-06 Prince St, Flushing for your bowl of braised beef noodle soup.
7. Ackee and saltfish
Jamaica is known for its jerk chicken, but did you know the national dish is ackee and saltfish dish? It’s made with ackee, a type of fruit from West Africa brought to Jamaica by the slaves in the late 1700s. The other ingredients are salted codfish, onion, Scotch Bonnet peppers, tomatoes, and spices.
Ackee and saltfish are popular during breakfast time in Jamaica and often served along with fried dumplings (johnnycakes), fried plantains, or boiled green bananas.
8. Doro Wat
Doro Wat is an Ethiopian chicken stew made with chicken, gizzard, liver, boiled eggs, chili, berbere (an Ethiopian spice blend), and tedj (a type of leaf native to Ethiopia). Like most other Ethiopian dishes, this spicy chicken dish is served with a soft flatbread called injera. To eat, tear off pieces of injera and dip it into the chicken dish.
Try cooking it at home using the New York Times’ recipe.
Sarmale is stuffed sour cabbage leaves of minced meat (pork or combination of pork and beef), spices, and rice. This Romanian national dish is available in restaurants that cater to tourists in Romania. The Romanians usually eat sarmale with mamaliga (polenta) and sour cream.
The Canadians have their national dish as well. It is poutine, a dish that includes French fries and cheese curds topped with brown sauce. Poutine was invented in Quebec, and the word poutine is a Quebec slang for a mess.
Like the Taiwanese beef stew and the German’s sauerbraten, the Hungarians have their beef stew or goulash. Goulash is a beef dish cooked with Hungarian paprika, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers. In Hungary, goulash is served with egg noodles and or potatoes.
Get the authentic recipe from Budapest by locals’ website.