One of the greatest joys in traveling is to partake in all that different cultures from around the world have to offer. But even if you’re not traveling at this particular time, you can still savor the cultural diversity of people from around the world by indulging in international foods. While it’s true that learning the language of food is the main crux of this article, don’t forget that the real pleasure comes in tasting these interesting and delicious foods from around the globe. What follows are some of our favorites.
- Empañadas — A popular dish in many Latin American countries, empañadas come in a variety of types and flavors. In fact, you might have already tried very similar dishes without even realizing it! Empañadas are stuffed pastries that typically include savory meat and vegetable combinations, but could also include sweet fruit fillings. In the US, empañadas are often called “turnovers.”
- Singara – Latin America isn’t the only region where people enjoy savory pastry pies. Residents of Bangladesh often partake in singara, which consists of a spicy potato and vegetable mixture that is wrapped in a thin dough and fried.
- Kebabs – Some international dishes have become so popular throughout the world that it’s easy to forget their origins. Such is the case with the kebab, the traditional form of which consists of chunks of meat cooked on a skewer. Kebabs may be something that many of us here in the US enjoy cooking on a grill in the warm weather, but the dish actually originated in Armenia.
- Ćevapi – It may come as no surprise that with certain exceptions – such as countries where religious beliefs dictate otherwise – meat dishes are a mainstay in many parts of the world. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the most popular is ćevapi, which are minced meat logs served in a pocket of round flat bread.
- Arepa – If you’re traveling in Colombia, make sure to seek out the wide variety of arepas that are served throughout the different regions of the country. This tasty Colombian treat consists of cornmeal dough stuffed with some sort of savory filling, including meat combinations, eggs, cheese, etc.
- Ceviche – Of course, international food doesn’t always include meat. In fact, in many Latin American countries, ceviche is a popular dish. This soupy mixture of shrimp, herbs and tomato is typically served cold, making it perfect warm-weather fare.
- Bugatsa – If your tastes tend to lean toward the sweet side, and if you find yourself on the Greek island of Crete, don’t forget to try bugatsa, a delicious pastry concoction filled with cheese and/or cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
- Varenyky – The Ukraine region may not be widely known for its cuisine, but much of it is noteworthy. Varenyky is one example. These small dumplings come with a wide variety of fillings, including meat, cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes or cheese. You can even choose to have them either fried or steamed, and typically they are served with fried onions and topped with sour cream.
- Laghman – The Chinese food served here in the US doesn’t come close to reflecting the diversity of dishes you’ll find in regions throughout this enormous country. In Xinijang, for example, the ethnicity of the area’s residents (namely, Turkic and Mongolian) is reflected in their cuisine. Laghman are specially prepared “pulled” noodles that are typically served in broth-based soups, along with vegetables and meat.
Whether you’re fortunate enough to travel to different parts of the globe, or you’re simply adventurous enough to experiment with these dishes right here at home, enjoying the cuisines of the world allows you to celebrate the huge diversity of cultures that exist here on our small planet. And, it’s a delicious way to “taste” some of their languages as well!