Discovering the Foods of Different Cultures: World Cuisine

Seafood paella in a paella pan at a street food market

Food is an integral part of any travel experience. When planning a trip, it’s always interesting to research the local cuisine and find out what the best dishes are. For those who prefer to stay closer to home, there’s no need to miss out, because all around the world there are unique and delicious dishes waiting to be discovered.

Exploring International Cuisine

Exploring new cultures and trying foreign foods often serve as one of the highlights of a traveler’s experience. This is why we have brought you a taste tour around the world to explore some of the most popular dishes from each continent. With a third-person point of view, arm yourself with your fork, spoon, and chopsticks and embark on this culinary journey to try the colorful flavors, spices, and textures this planet has to offer.

  • In Europe, classic Italian pasta dishes are always a fan favorite. Whether it is lasagna, spaghetti Bolognese, or even ravioli, these dishes let you embrace Italy’s culture. 
  • Meanwhile, in Africa, couscous has been a favorite for generations due to its flexibility and ease of preparation. It can be made into salads or served as side dishes—it all depends on what ingredients you choose to add.
  • Heading over to Asia for some exotic eastern flavors? Look no further than sushi. This dish is becoming increasingly popular due to its delicate taste and methods of preparation that involve precision knife skills and attention to detail. 
  • For a Latin American treat that fills both your stomach and heart with joy and comfort— give chilaquiles a try. This dish is usually made from gently fried tortilla strips cooked with salsa or mole sauce then topped with cheese, cream, eggs, or pulled chicken.
  • Let us not forget about Oceania where barbeques reign supreme! Australia especially loves their barbeque parties — where grilled meats such as sausages are combined with sides such as salads or chips — all enjoyed outdoors surrounded by friends and family.

Discovering the Favorite Foods of Different Cultures

One of the best parts of traveling the world is trying all the foreign flavors that each culture has to offer. From savory dishes to sweet desserts, there is no shortage of deliciousness to be discovered from around the world.

  • In Europe, paella hails from Spain and is a type of rice dish cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, saffron, and other spices, as well as either fish or seafood. For an Italian classic, try pizza bianco: a type of thin-crust pizza with just olive oil, garlic, and salt on top. France’s sweet tooth can be satisfied with macarons: delicate cookies made from almond flour and colored with natural dyes.
  • In Asia, sushi reigns supreme in Japan in all its variations. Eating it here is an experience that shouldn’t be missed! In Thailand, you must try their national dish called tom yum goong – a sour and spicy soup made with shrimp and flavored with lemongrass, galangal, and fish sauce. If you’re feeling adventurous, give Indonesian nasi goreng a try – a fried rice dish made with vegetables and meats like chicken or shrimp.

Your taste buds will thank you for exploring the variety of delicious cuisines around the world. 

Five Popular Regional Dishes from Across the World

Food exploration is a fantastic way to experience cross-cultural connections and it’s often easy to find favorite dishes that span multiple continents. Here are five popular regional dishes from around the world, sure to make any foodie’s mouth water:

  1. Africa: Tagine- Tagine is a staple of many North African countries and is typically made with a variety of spices and herbs like cumin, paprika, ginger, turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon. The dish has rich flavor and aromas and usually consists of meat or vegetables cooked slowly in a large, round pot over hot coals.
  2. Europe: Paella- Paella is one of the most popular Spanish dishes in Europe and other parts of the world. It’s a rice-based dish that includes chicken, chorizo sausage, shrimp, and other proteins like mussels. Many variations can be made but the traditional paella also includes saffron for added flavor.
  3. Asia: Pho- Originating in Vietnam, Pho is an aromatic noodle soup often consisting of beef or chicken stock with rice noodles. Toppings like sliced onions, scallions, or Thai basil leaves give the broth an extra kick while bean sprouts provide a crunchy texture. A good bowl of Pho also comes with an array of condiments such as lime wedges, Sriracha sauce, or hoisin sauce for added heat and sweetness.
  4. South America: Empanadas- Empanadas are popular in many South American countries including Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela – each having its variation depending on the ingredients used and cooking style. The empanada filling can vary widely but typically consists of ground beef spiced

Popular Foods in Asia

For those who have a penchant for bold and exotic flavors, Asia has countless options. From India to Japan, countless dishes have become popular culinary staples around the world.

  • India- From tikka masala to biryani, Indian cuisine is known for its unique flavors and spices. India’s signature spiciness can be attributed to its use of chili peppers, a key ingredient in many traditional dishes. Another staple ingredient of Indian cuisine is garam masala, a blend of spices that often includes cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and cloves.
  • Japan- Japanese food is known for its freshness and simplicity — taste combinations like lean fish with soy sauce or rice with seaweed are just two examples of traditional Japanese fare. Sushi is another increasingly popular food in Japan; it mixes savory and sour tastes as well as textures that range from chewy to crunchy in one bite.
  • China- Chinese cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes that rely heavily on flavorful sauces such as sweet and sour or hoisin. Chinese-style stir-fry dishes combine protein like beef or chicken with vegetables such as bok choy or carrots. Noodles are also a central part of Chinese cooking — whether it’s pan-fried lo mein or hand-pulled noodles for soup — noodles provide both texture and nutrition in Chinese meals.

Must Try Dishes in Europe

Europe is a continent that offers a wealth of culinary delights, from the fresh seafood of the Mediterranean to the succulent meats of Central Europe. The region’s diverse culture, climatic conditions, and history have all contributed to its excellent selection of delicacies. Here are just some of the must-try dishes in Europe:

  1. Paella- Head to Spain for this popular dish, which combines saffron-flavored rice with meat or seafood, as well as peppers and tomatoes. The variations are endless, so you’ll never get bored.
  2. Moules Marinière- This dish hails from France and is made up of mussels cooked in white wine, shallots, and parsley. Add a side of fries to make it even more delicious.
  3. Carbonara- This Italian classic consists of pasta with pancetta or bacon, egg yolks, and hard cheese – it’s rich and creamy. Add some freshly cracked black pepper for an extra kick.
  4. Borscht- This Eastern European staple is made with beets, vegetables, and spices simmered together in a soup. It can be served either hot or cold – depending on the temperature outside.
  5. Wiener Schnitzel- This Austrian breaded veal cutlet can be found across Europe but the real deal comes from Vienna where it’s traditionally served with potatoes or Cumberland sauce.

Latin American Flavors

Latin America is home to a wide variety of culinary styles and delightful dishes. From Mexican tacos to Colombian arepas, Latin American cuisine has much to offer in terms of flavor and variety.

  1. Mexico- Possibly the most recognizable Latin American food is Mexican cuisine. The country’s trademark dishes include tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and antojitos (street snacks). Refried beans, guacamole, and hot sauces are also popular accompaniments.
  2. Peru- Peruvian food is heavily influenced by Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and African foods due to its history of immigration, leading it to be referred to as one of the world’s most diverse cuisines. Popular dishes include ceviche (a seafood dish), lomo saltado (a stir-fry dish), and causa limeña (a layered potato dish).
  3. Colombia- Colombian food is traditionally cooked using firewood or coal stoves. Commonly eaten items are arepas—ground corn disks filled with cheese, meats, or other ingredients—and bandejas paisa—rice mixed with beans, plantains, chorizo sausage, and fried eggs. Tamales filled with herbs and spices are also popular regional specialties.

Top Picks From the Americas

When it comes to the Americas, there are a wealth of delicious food items on offer. Whether it’s the comforting, hearty dishes of the USA or fresh-from-the-waters seafood of Central and South America, there are countless iconic dishes to enjoy. Let’s take a look at some of the most mouth-watering dishes from this vast continent:

In the United States, Americans can’t get enough of mac and cheese – a dish originally from Europe that has been adapted over time to create an American classic. Its creamy, cheesy goodness brings joy at any mealtime.

  • Tacos —Mexico’s national dish—have now become a staple in many countries around the world. Made with either soft or hard shells, tacos are typically packed with savory fillings like beef or chicken, plus crunchy lettuce and salsa.
  • Mexico is enchiladas – corn or flour tortillas filled with meat and cheese, then drowned in a tasty sauce before baking in an oven.
  • The classic Brazilian dish feijoada is sure to draw a smile from even the pickiest eater—a delectable stew made up of black beans and pork served with rice and other accompaniments like farofa (a mix of wheat flour, bacon, and various spices) or couve (greens).
  • Argentina’s parrillada is an epic grilled feast for all the senses featuring juicy cuts of steak along with tasty chorizo sausages grilled alongside potatoes and peppers over hot coals for that smoky aroma and flavor.

This region offers so many choices — giving travelers plenty of opportunities to try new flavors

African Cuisine Explorers

Africa is home to some of the most unique and flavorful cuisines in the world. From South African flavors to North African favorites, there’s something to tantalize every traveler’s taste buds.

  • South Africa- South African cuisine often draws on Dutch and British influences, as well as local flavors from the vast array of cultures represented in the country. The most popular dish is bobotie, a savory spiced beef topped with golden egg custard. Other favorite dishes include bunny chow, a filling of curry served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread, and braaivleis (BBQ).
  • West Africa- The food in West Africa is known for its rich flavors and spices. Some of the most popular dishes are jollof rice, a beloved one-pot dish made with tomatoes and aromatic spices like nutmeg, cumin, and cinnamon; fufu, and a bolo stew; red stew; a yoyo soup; egusi soup; as well as suya – barbecue skewers with a spicy peanut topping.
  • North Africa- In North Africa, traditional cuisine relies heavily on tagine cooking – slow-cooking dishes such as tagine (a combination of different meats or vegetables cooked in sauce), couscous (steamed semolina granules simmered with vegetables), kebabs, grilled meats or vegetable dishes such as Bastilla (layers of phyllo dough filled with shredded meat or vegetables cooked in cream). These dishes are served with hot flatbreads such as khobz or pita. Other popular North African favorites include falafel and harissa (spicy chili pepper).
  • Australian Specialties- Australia is known for its delicious seafood, especially oysters, but the country has much more to offer to food lovers. From the rich flavors of its desserts to the unique ingredients that make up its recipes, here are some of the most popular and unique dishes from Australia.
  • Pavlova- This delicious meringue-based dessert dish is a favorite among both locals and tourists alike. The Pavlova is a combination of whipped egg whites and sugar, covered with swirled cream, and topped with fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, and passion fruit.
  • Barramundi- Barramundi is a sweet-tasting fish found in Australian rivers, lakes, and estuaries. It’s commonly served grilled or pan-fried with lemon juice, garlic butter, and herbs.
  • Vegemite- This salty spread made from brewer’s yeast extract has become an Australian culinary icon since it was first created in 1922. Traditionally it is spread on toast or sandwiches for breakfast or lunch, but due to its strong taste, it can be an acquired taste for some visitors.
  • Lamingtons- These small sponge cakes are a classic Australian dessert, typically covered in chocolate sauce or jam and coconut flakes. They’re usually served alongside custard or cream as a snack or light meal.

From indulgent Argentinian steak to the delectable gyoza of Japan, the world is filled with flavors waiting to tantalize your taste buds. From the expansive, flavorful landscape of Africa to the savory comfort dishes of the Americas, this planet has something to excite even the most discerning palate. And, if you’re bold enough to take a culinary tour of the greatest cities on Earth, you’ll find yourself with a wealth of gastronomic delights to discover Bon appetit.