If there’s one thing we love about traveling, it’s trying out new foods. Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of delicious cuisine to try out from all over the world. And the best part is, you don’t even have to leave your home to experience them!
In fact, some meals are so iconic and ingrained in a country’s culture that they make them the national dish. But not every country makes it official. Many countries have quite a few fan-favorite foods to name just one single national dish. Since there are so many to choose from, check out 15 popular dishes you can make from around the world.
Although meat pies are also popular in England, they have deep roots in Australia and can be found in bakeries and markets all over the country. Meat pies are made with beef and vegetables like onion or carrots and are typically a handheld snack you can eat on-the-go.
Moules-frites (a combination of steamed mussels and crispy fries) is one of the most popular dishes in Belgium. According to food historian Pierre Leclerc, Belgium’s national dish was introduced to the country as early as 1875 in the city of Liège and continued to gain popularity to the present day.
Salteñas are a type of empanada with a sweet and buttery crust with spicy and savory meat filling (usually chicken or beef) served for breakfast or as a snack. The crescent-shaped dish differs from a typical empanada with its braided seam and that salteñas are baked upright rather than on their side.
Colombia’s national dish, Bandeja Paisa, is a filling meal with a little bit of everything. The dish has a lengthy ingredient list including rice, beans, beef, plantains, chorizo, pork belly, fried egg, arepa, an avocado, and hogao (a traditional Colombian sauce made with onions and tomatoes). But heads up: it’s also not a quick meal to make. The dish requires at least half a day to prep but based on the recipes we’ve seen, it’s well worth the wait.
Gallo Pinto is a traditional Costa Rican meal usually served for breakfast with fried or scrambled eggs. The dish is made mostly of rice and beans but is seasoned with a sweet and spicy sauce called Lizano. However, some recipes call for Worcestershire sauce as an alternative if you can't get or make Lizano.
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding have been long-time favorite foods in England along with fish and chips and chicken tikka masala. They’re part of a traditional Sunday roast (AKA a lunchtime meal usually served on Sunday). The roast beef is seasoned and cooked for approximately 90 minutes and the Yorkshire pudding is made with eggs, salt, milk, and flour.
Sauerbraten is another roast on our list of popular dishes around the world. It’s considered one of Germany’s national dishes although there are slight recipe variations depending on the region. According to CNN, the dish is traditionally made with horse meat but beef and venison are commonly used nowadays. However, sauerbraten requires a little more planning and time as you have to marinate the meat for a few days in a mixture of red wine, red wine vinegar, herbs, and spices.
Hungary’s chicken paprikash is a rich and creamy dish made with chicken, onions, garlic, water or broth, paprika, and occasionally tomatoes, salt, pepper, and cream, depending on the recipe. Traditionally, water is used instead of broth but this recipe recommends using chicken broth for more flavor. Another highly-rated recipe also recommends using sweet or hot Hungarian paprika.
Irish stew is one of the most popular traditional foods of Ireland but it wasn’t always the comfort food we know it as today. The stew — which consists mainly of lamb or beef, potatoes, onions, and parsley — is made of originated during tough economic times during the 19th century and many had to get by with what food they had available to them.
Ceviche is a fresh and zesty dish made with fish, lime or lemon, onions, peppers, and cilantro. When it comes to what fish to use, one recipe recommends using Corvina, escolar, or mahi-mahi while another recipe suggests Chilean sea bass or halibut. Whatever you choose, ceviche is best made with fresh ingredients!
Adobo is a staple in Filipino cuisine. It’s a method of marinating and stewing using a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, and spices (typically garlic, bay leaf, and black pepper). Chicken adobo is one of the more popular adobo dishes, although you can make adobo with most meats like beef, fish, or pork.
Köttbullar (aka Swedish meatballs) are made with a combination of half ground beef and half ground pork and can be served with a cream sauce. But is there a difference between Swedish and Italian meatballs? Yes! Not only are Swedish meatballs smaller, but they also use spices like nutmeg and white pepper and are served in a creamy gravy vs. tomato sauce.
Pabellon Criollo is a rice, beans, and meat-based meal that is more than food, but a representation of the Venezuelan flag. The dish is arranged on a plate with the tomatoes and steak, beans, and rice lined up as three stripes with plantains on the side and topped with a fried egg.