Ever wonder what people eat around the world? Different cultures eat different food, which made me think about how much it actually changes from country to country. Do neighbouring continents really differ that much from each other? I thought it would be interesting to see what National dishes are served at dinner tables around the world.
Photo credit: Metro
It’s been a busy week for me. Between starting a new job, having family returning to Europe and some major planning and sorting, I haven’t had much time to blog. I recently caught up with some very good German friends of mine before saying goodbye to my sister at the airport. We had dinner at the Brisbane German Club, where I ordered my favourite dish called Sauerbraten, together with some really good German beer. While eating, I felt a little homesick because German food is so similar to Czech food, and with my sister returning to Prague, it made me think about how we take comfort in food that reminds us of home. I might make this blog a series and eventually cover all the countries in the world. For now, here’s 14 National dishes that are served around the world which you can make yourself.
GERMANY – Sauerbraten
Sauerbraten is not the only German dish that Deutsch people eat, but ask any German what their national dish is, they are bound to talk about it. The full history of this dish is unknown, but it has been linked to Julias Caesar who sent amphoras filled with beef marinated in wine across the Alps to Cologne in Germany, where a newly founded Roman colony began. Then in the 9th Century, Charles the Great; known as Charlemagne, ordered leftover marinated roast meat with red cabbage, from which the dish known today as Sauerbraten probably originated from. It’s served with potato dumplings, a special sauce, red cabbage and it’s absolutely delicious.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: The Daring Gourmet
Image taken at Brisbane German Club
CZECH REPUBLIC – Svíčková
Svíčková would have to be the Czech Republic’s most famous national dish. When I was in Prague for Christmas in 2017, I was eating it all the time at my favourite little pub restaurant called U Rokytky. Together with unfiltered Czech beer, it is to die for. The freezing cold weather made me crave whole, hearty dishes, and there was nothing better than a good, old fashioned Svíčková and a beer on a cold winter’s night. It’s described as the country’s creamy national treasure and is a combination of marinated beef with dumplings and a vegetable sauce. It was first mentioned in a cook book in 1826 from Czech writer; Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová, and has been eaten all over the country for centuries. I make it here in Australia when I can, even though it takes a lot of work. It’s worth the labour though because it’s so good.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: European Cuisines
Image taken at U Rokitky, Prague
FRANCE – Escargot (snails)
When you think of French cuisine, you can’t help thinking of snails or what is known as Escargot. Together with frog’s legs, snails are one of France’s treasured National dishes. I finally tried Escargot in Paris in January 2018, and I must say that once I got over the thought of actually eating snails, I ate all six with gusto. They were absolutely delicious and reminded me of lobster. Eating snails dates all the way back to the Roman Empire, with France adopting the dish as one of its own. I wouldn’t advise going out and finding your own snails to cook up though, because not all land snails are edible. Only the garden snail (Helix aspersa) and Roman snail (Helix pomatia), and the European snail (Helix lucorum) are eaten, so if you want to try making this delicacy, make sure you buy it from a reputable source. Try France Gourmet’s snails in a tin if you want to try making this delicious dish.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Food Republic
Image taken at L’Escargot Montorgueil, Paris
SPAIN – Paella
This is one of my favourite dishes from around the world. Trust the Spanish to create something so beautiful. This dish was originally made in large quantities to feed large Spanish families, and I’m talking huge wok style pans! Its mediterranean roots shine through this dish with the use of seafood that would be caught freshly in the morning and cooked up by grandmothers and mothers for a family feast. Its origin can be traced back to the mid-19th Century to a city called Valencia. The world sees Paella as Spain’s national dish, but the Valencians are very proud of it. There are different versions of this dish, but my favourite is the seafood version because I’m a mad seafood connoisseur.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Spain On A Fork
Photo credit: Spain On A Fork
ITALY – Spaghetti Bolognese
Where would we be without the famous Spag Bol in Australia if it wasn’t for the Italians! The history of this dish is somewhat sketchy. Some believe it originated in Bologna in Italy, but many will argue that it was just named after the city, with the Bolognese recipe growing from several different areas of Italy. Over time, different versions were born from an actual ragù dish that many locals of Italy altered to suit their own personal preferences. Whatever the Italians did, I am not complaining because a good spaghetti Bolognese is a dish that no one will complain about when eating.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Best Recipes
Photo credit: Best Recipes
KOREA – Kimchi
Korean Kimchi is everywhere in Korea. It’s eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an acquired taste, but I absolutely love it and make my own. It’s a spicy version of German Sauerkraut in a way, because it’s fermented in a similar style but has a lot more ingredients in it, including baby shrimp and spices like chilli flakes, garlic and ginger. It has been around for centuries and was, and still is, traditionally made by the women of the family. The Koreans actually value a woman who can make a good kimchi. It is said that what makes a good wife, is a woman who can make traditional kimchi. I guess I would make an excellent Korean wife since I have been told by Korean friends that mine is authentic and delicious. If you want to try it yourself, here’s my Paleo version of Korean Kimchi, otherwise try your hands at making Maangchi’s traditional recipe.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Maangchi’s Traditional Kimchi
Photo credit: Maangchi
CANADA – Poutine
Who would have thought that the Canadians would prefer something so simple as Poutine as their National dish. Then again, who can resist a good potato chip right! This simple dish first showed up in the 1950s in Warwick, Quebec, and has become Canada’s most beloved dish. The story told is that in a little restaurant called Le Lutin Qui Rit in Quebec, a customer asked for cheese curds to be added to his fries, and after the restaurant owner told him that it’s going to look like a great big mess, he added the curds and the rest is history. The dish is served with real cheese curds and is loved by Canadians in all states. Definitely one for the high cholesterol but it does look delicious.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Seasons & Suppers
Photo credit: Seasons & Suppers
GREECE – Souvlaki
Lamb Souvlaki is a dish I grew up with because I had many Greek friends living in Sydney as a child. It was such a change for me, having been brought up on traditional Czech food, but I couldn’t get enough of it. Dating back to Ancient Greece, it is tied to famous philosophers like Aristotle, Xenophon and Aristophanes and is a meat and bread recipe that is cooked in large quantities in Greek families and served as a way to get a family together. Today, we love it in pita breads and on skewers, but the traditional Souvlaki dish that I had as a child, was baked in an oven tray with the bread and served as a whole dish on a table where people could dig in as they pleased.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Real Greek Recipes
Photo credit: Real Greek Recipes
ENGLAND – Yorkshire Pudding
We have definitely adopted Roast Beef and Vegetables from the British here in Australia, but what makes the Brits unique is their signature Yorkshire Pudding that is served with the meal. Anyone who’s tried a good Yorkshire pudding can tell you that there is no better winter comfort food. Because so many of you know how to cook a roast, I’m concentrating more on the pudding itself here, because a good pudding is baked in real animal fat dripping like duck fat, beef and lamb and it’s divine. In 1737, a recipe appeared in England called dripping pudding which was created to use up animal fat so that nothing would go to waste. The Yorkshire Pudding recipe was first published in a book called ‘The Whole Duty of a Woman’, and it has been made ever since. For the whole dish, use BBC’s Recipe here.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: BBC Food Recipe
Photo credit: BBC Food Recipes
AMERICA – Hamburger
Another favourite meal that we as humans cannot live without. We have the Americans to thank for this one. Let me make something clear here! Although the name came from Hamburg in Germany, because beef was minced and combined with onions, salt and pepper and made into a Pattie, it was the Americans who thought to combine the Pattie with all the rest of the ingredients and added to a bun. During the industrial revolution, patties were served from a cart to customers, and because the patties were hot, one clever cook decided to sandwich the Pattie in between a bread bun, hence the birth of the hamburger.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Taste Of Home
Photo credit: Taste Of Home
CHILE – Pastel De Chocio
Chile’s National dish would have to be the Pastel De Chocio, which is a Chilean beef and corn casserole consisting of ground beef, chicken, raisins, black olives, onions or slices of hard boiled egg. I know it sounds like a unique combination, but I think this would be a delicious dish and definitely one that I want to try out myself. It’s also been called the Chilean Shepherds Pie, so definitely an interesting dish. Its flavours are characteristic to South America and is served at the dinner table in all Chilean households. Maybe I’ll get a chance to taste the authentic version if I get to visit the Andes. Life might permit me to see one of the great wonders of the world one day. Read more about Chile here.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Nomadic Chica
Photo credit: Nomadic Chica
JAMAICA – Ackee and Saltfish
I’ve never heard of this dish before and found it by chance while researching National dishes from around the world. I find this one fascinating, because they salt the fish in the traditional form that was used to store fish through winter time so that villages wouldn’t go hungry when there wasn’t much food available for hunting. It’s actually a Jamaican breakfast dish, and I know that fish for breakfast sounds strange to many, but I myself eat dinner type of food for breakfast sometimes. Its roots can be traced back to 18th-century colonialism, and has been a staple dish for Jamaicans since then. Definitely one I would like to try.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Amazing Ackee
Photo credit: Amazing Ackee
INDIA – Curry
Where would we be without Indian cuisine and their curries! I myself am spicy mad and love cooking curry, but do you ever wonder how they get theirs so perfect? The secret is in what ingredients you use, the steps you take to cook it, and definitely a good curry powder; none of that simple stuff you buy at the supermarkets. I get my curry powder locally from the Spice Trail and I can tell you that it’s the best in town. They also usually have fresh curry leaves on hand and all the ingredients you need to make an authentic curry, apart from the meat. A good recipe can create the taste of India in your own home, so be sure to use a good one!
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Delishably
Photo credit: Delishably
AUSTRALIA – LAMB ROAST
Oh yes, we all eat it and love it, unless you’re Vegan or Vegetarian and then sadly, you’re missing out. I’ve saved the Aussie National dish till last because it seemed only fair since most of my readers are Australian, and well, we all know how to make it. It’s been crowned as Australia’s National dish and a Sunday wouldn’t be a Sunday without a lamb roast, and neither would Australia Day. We love it and we can’t get enough of it, especially seasoned with garlic and rosemary.
FIND THE RECIPE HERE: Taste.com
Photo credit: Taste.com
If you have a National dish that I haven’t featured and you would like to share your recipe with me, drop me an email.