When it comes to food, few things can compare with the variety of flavors ethnic cuisine offers. One of the best ways to experience this diversity is by trying different types of ethnic foods. But where do you start? Here’s a list of nine international dishes that will make your mouth water and introduce you to new cultures!
Jamaican Snack Foods
Jamaican cuisine is an experience unto itself. Whether it’s the chicken, goat, or oxtail stew that your grandmother makes on special occasions or a plate of yams and rice with “doubles,” everyone has their favorite Jamaican dish. But did you know that not all Jamaican dishes are served at home? Some popular Jamaican snacks include patties, pastries filled with meat, fish, or veggies that are deep-fried or smoked. Another popular Jamaican snack is called “rice and peas,” a simple dish consisting of brown rice (or sometimes white rice) served with beans.
This is just the beginning when it comes to Jamaican snacks and foods. You can also try a patty filled with cheese or chicken and veggie patties. If you are looking for something savory to eat on your way to work, consider picking up one of the newest Jamaican snacks: corn dogs!
Indian Street Food
India is a country that has over 22 official languages and has thousands of regional dishes. With so many different types of food, Indian street food is a great way to sample some ethnic flavors without breaking the bank! In India, you can visit tiny little shops on the side of the road or stalls in local markets and purchase street food items like samosas (a fried turnover filled with spiced potatoes and veggies), idlis (steamed rice cakes), or poori (a fried bread of white flour).
Onigiri Japanese Rice Balls
In Japan, it’s tradition for people to carry around onigiri, a handheld snack of rice formed into a triangular shape and wrapped in seaweed. While some types of onigiri contain fish or vegetables, there is a type that is enjoyed by students known as “triangle sushi.” It is essentially the same concept, but the ingredients inside the onigiri are made of fish (salmon) and rice instead of seaweed.
Gai Yang, Traditional Northern Thai Grilled Chicken
One popular dish in Thailand is a grilled chicken dish called gai yang. The whole chicken has split down the middle, flattened out, marinated, and then grilled over coals. While this traditional dish is eaten throughout the country, it is especially prevalent in northern Thailand.
Pho Bo, Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
Pho bo is a delicious noodle soup that is extremely popular in Vietnam. This soup consists of broth (which can have many different flavors depending on your preferences), rice noodles known as bánh phở, basil, bean sprouts, lime, and a traditionally beef plate. While this dish can be found throughout the country (especially in major cities like Hanoi!), it is most popular in the north due to its abundance of cattle.
Zydeco Cajun Food
Cajun and Creole food come in many different forms, including jambalaya (a rice-based dish), crawfish etouffeé, and jumilhons. But the most important part of Cajun cuisine is gumbo, a soup that combines various meats with a thick tomato broth. The name comes from the term “quene couillon” (“go for the throat”), which was a slang term used by French peasant farmers in the 1800s.
Samgyeopsal, Korean Grilled Pork Belly
The most popular and widespread pork dish in Korea is called samgyeopsal. While this dish is made from various cuts, the most popular version is made from pork belly. This type of pork is known as “samgyeopsal,” which literally means three-layered meat (wheat starch, fat, and lean meat). It’s also a very inexpensive meal since it only requires salt and sesame oil to make it taste delicious!
Rijst Taffy, Dutch Rice Candy
Many countries don’t have the same dessert options that we do in the United States. A great example of this is rijsttaffy or Dutch rice candy. It is a sweet treat made since Roman times by boiling sugar and milk with rice flour (it can also include almonds). This candy is made in various sizes and colors, ranging from blue to white.
Okonomiyaki, Japanese Pancake With Various Fillings
Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake eaten with cooked cabbage, egg, meat, and seafood. It’s similar to the Chinese jiaozi (a filled dumpling), but it also has a distinctive sweet taste. This dish is very popular in Osaka, Japan, and it can be found on many different restaurant menus (it’s also a favorite amongst tourists!)!
Whether you’re in Asia, Europe, or even North America, food is a great way to experience other cultures. So there you have it! These are some of my favorite unique foods from around the world. What are some interesting dishes that you’ve tried while traveling? Do any of these colorful cuisines sound appetizing to you? So what are you waiting for? Be spontaneous and try something new!