Food: International cuisines


Graphic by Shraddha Sriram

There are 195 countries around the world, each with a unique culture, way of life and, most importantly, individual styles of food. From recipes passed down through generations to more contemporary cuisines, most nations’ key dishes rely heavily on the country’s agricultural surroundings, culture and culinary traditions. 

National dishes and cuisines often hold an important role among many citizens. Many chefs will spend their whole lifetimes practicing and perfecting one singular dish, oftentimes passed down through families. For example, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, a Michelin-starred Street vendor in Outram, Singapore perfected Chicken Rice, a staple in Singaporean street food. This dish is simple and straightforward, yet with a staggering reputation in the Cuisinart world. Street food and vendors are very popular in Singapore, these Hawker Centers sell many amazing dishes, for affordable prices correlating to about $3. 

For some products, there is quality in cost. Traveling to Switzerland, where food can reach to about $190, Rösti and Fondue can be terrific national treats to try. The cheese dipping and small potato cakes are what Switzerland’s food industries are known for, with different variations of the recipes seen across the different regions of the country. 

Similarly having one regional food, Mexico’s national dish is Mole Poblano. This sauce is made with chilies and chocolate, mixing savory and sweet flavors. While there are many different types of mole in America, Mole Poblano is the most widely known. This dish is traditionally eaten on Cinco de Mayo and is made differently in each household. 

If we move across the globe, the geography changes as well as the unique food. Nyama Chona is the official national dish of Kenya, with grilled meat, especially lamb, being widely popular across the country. Often served with Ugali, a maize-based starch similar to porridge, this popular dish has been a staple of the country’s most popular flavors and cuisines. 

Some quisesnes are artistic like La Bandera, a very popular dish in the Dominican Republic, which literally translates to “The Flag”. The dish visually makes up the Dominican flag, created in the 1840’s, when the Dominican Republic established unity from Haiti. Red beans, rice, and different types of meat make up this comfort food. The meat used in the dish varies based on what is at hand and is dependent on the region in the island. 

Other dishes are simpler like Moussaka, a classic Greek dish that is made with baked slices of eggplant topped with a ground beef sauce and bechamel sauce. While this is the national dish of Greece, there are many different types of moussaka found around eastern Mediterranean areas. 

However, India does not have a national dish due to its diversity in culture throughout the country. Each region has its own popular foods and flavors. It was thought that the government was going to announce Khichdi as the national dish of India, but was later denied. Although there is not a national dish, there are many celebrated dishes like bhajiyas, jalebis, biryani and golgappas. 

All around the world, countries celebrate unique traditions, cultures, and culinary genius with individual recipes. Any aspiring globetrotter should be sure to try these dishes!