Food has always been a major factor in every culture, but in the last few decades, cuisines of the world have migrated from their original homes to become known all over. Food knows no boundaries or borders, and thanks to food imports/exports, no cuisine is unachievable in our own kitchens. Check if you have cookbooks representing these cuisines of the world in your collection.
1 Italian Cuisine
One of the oldest cuisines of the world is Italian. Everyone associates Italian cuisine with pizza, pasta and ice cream but in reality, Italian food is hugely variable, and something that probably isn’t so well known is that food in Italy is distinctively regional, with 20 regions. Wherever you might be though, you can usually expect an Italian meal to be structured as follows: Antipasto (appetizer), primo (rice or pasta), second (meat) and dolce (dessert). Famous for Parmesan cheese and Parma Ham, Italy actually produces more than 400 types of cheeses and 300 different types of sausages.
Italian cuisine is one of the oldest in the world, and is known for its delicious and varied dishes. It is a regional cuisine, with 20 distinct regions, each with its own unique flavors and ingredients. Italy is particularly renowned for its Parmesan cheese and Parma ham, with more than 400 types of cheese and 300 types of sausages.
When it comes to Italian cuisine, the traditional meal is usually structured as follows: antipasto (appetizer), primo (rice or pasta), secondo (meat) and dolce (dessert). Italian dishes are known to be hearty and flavorful, with a variety of sauces, vegetables, and meats. Popular dishes include pasta, pizza, risotto, lasagna, and a variety of seafood dishes.
Italian cuisine is also known for its extensive use of herbs and spices, such as oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic, and pepper. Olive oil is also an important ingredient in many Italian dishes, and is used to add flavor and texture.
2 Thai Cuisine
One of the most popular world cuisines of recent times is Thai. Although many people assume it is similar to Chinese, Thai food, although using many of the same ingredients, is different in that there are lots of broths, noodle dishes and the use of a lot of fresh herbs. Unlike Chinese, there isn’t a great deal of dishes that are a main ingredient with vegetables in a thick rich sauce. The main flavors of Thai food are hot, sour, bitter and sweet.
Thai cuisine is known for its complex flavor profiles and the unique combination of hot, sour, bitter and sweet flavors. It is also known for its use of fresh herbs, such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and basil, as well as a variety of spices, such as chili peppers, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Thai cuisine is also known for its use of fish sauce, shrimp paste, and other fermented ingredients, which give it a distinct umami flavor.
Thai cuisine is not to be confused with Chinese cuisine, although the two share some ingredients. While Chinese cuisine often uses thick sauces with vegetables as the main ingredient, Thai cuisine relies heavily on broths and noodle dishes. Common Thai dishes include Pad Thai, Tom Yum, and Green Curry.
Thai cuisine is popular around the world, and many countries have their own unique take on the classic flavors. For example, in the United States, Thai restaurants often feature dishes with a sweeter flavor profile, while in Thailand itself, the dishes are often spicier and more intense.
Frequently asked questions
Popular cuisines that are loved globally include Italian, Chinese, Indian, French, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern.
Trying different world cuisines lets you experience new flavors, ingredients, and cooking styles. It also gives you a taste of different cultures and traditions.
Start by going to local restaurants that serve international dishes, try cooking simple recipes from different countries at home, or attend food festivals.
Pasta is a staple food in Italian cuisine, with many variations like spaghetti, lasagna, and ravioli.
Common Indian spices include cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and garam masala.
Yes, many world cuisines offer vegetarian dishes. Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines, in particular, have a wide variety of vegetarian options.
A traditional Mexican dish is tacos, which are small hand-sized corn or wheat tortillas topped with various fillings like meats, cheese, beans, and salsa.
Thai cooking often uses ingredients like lemongrass, coconut milk, fish sauce, lime, and chili peppers.
Ramen, a Japanese noodle soup, is also very popular and comes with various toppings such as slices of pork, seaweed, and scallions.
Think about the flavors and ingredients you enjoy, then look for cuisines that use those elements. Trying small dishes or appetizers is a good way to discover what you like.
3 French Cuisine
Along with Italian, French was one of the first world cuisines that traveled well beyond its home country’s borders. Indeed, the modern restaurant has its roots in France and for many, many years, French food was thought of as haute cuisine. Many top chefs today still like to be classically French trained. French food ranges from rustic and hearty to the very finest, theatrical, almost art-like Michelin Star style and no French meal would be complete without bread, cheese and wine.
French cuisine is one of the most popular and influential cuisines in the world. It is known for its refined and sophisticated dishes, and its use of fresh and local ingredients. French cooking is characterized by its use of butter and cream, as well as its focus on sauces and garnishes.
The French are also known for their love of bread, cheese, and wine. Bread is served at almost every meal, and cheese is often served as an appetizer or dessert. Wine is also an integral part of French meals, and the country is home to some of the world’s most famous wines, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne.
French cuisine is divided into four main regions: Alsace, the Rhone Valley, Provence, and the Loire Valley. Each region has its own unique dishes and flavors. Alsatian cuisine is known for its hearty dishes, such as sauerkraut and choucroute, while Provence is known for its lighter dishes, such as ratatouille and bouillabaisse.
4 Japanese Cuisine
The food of Japan is probably the cuisine that is most unique. Many ingredients are used in dishes that are simply not found in other cuisines. The mastery of Japanese food relies on the freshest ingredients meticulously prepared. Seasonality is also a major factor in Japanese cuisine. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all sushi, tofu and noodles.
5 Lebanese Cuisine
With a wonderful fusion of Mediterranean and Arabic influences, Lebanese food contains a lot of vegetable dishes, loads of fresh fruit, fresh fish and seafood and little animal protein. Like Greek and Turkish cuisine, the mezze is a major feature - a selection of salads, vegetable dips, pickles and Arabic bread. Lebanese food is making a big noise in becoming one of the most popular world cuisines.
Lebanese cuisine is a delicious fusion of Mediterranean and Arabic influences, and is quickly becoming one of the most popular world cuisines. It has a variety of vegetable dishes, fresh fruit, fresh fish and seafood, and little animal protein. The mezze is a major part of Lebanese cuisine, and consists of a selection of salads, vegetable dips, pickles, and Arabic bread.
Lebanese cuisine is known for its use of herbs and spices to create flavorful dishes. Common herbs used in Lebanese cooking include parsley, mint, cilantro, oregano, and dill. Spices like cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and allspice are also popular. The use of these spices and herbs creates a unique flavor profile that is both savory and sweet.
In Lebanon, food is an important part of the culture and is often shared with family and friends. Lebanese dishes are typically served family-style, with dishes placed in the middle of the table for everyone to enjoy. Typical Lebanese dishes include tabbouleh, falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush, and kibbeh.
6 Spanish Cuisine
Spain is another of the European countries where the cuisine is not homogeneous, but is defined by regionality. Generally though, the Spaniards do not tend to eat much beef and lamb, preferring pork and game meats and particularly, the fabulous array of seafood readily available around the coast. Probably the most famous feature of Spanish cuisine is tapas. This is an array of deliciously tasty snacks and the dishes often have complex recipes and layers of flavors.
Spanish cuisine is one of the most varied and delicious cuisines in the world. It is known for its regional diversity, with each region having its own unique dishes and flavors. Seafood is particularly popular, with the country's long coastline providing access to a wide variety of fresh fish and shellfish.
The most famous feature of Spanish cuisine is tapas. These small plates are often served as appetizers and are perfect for sharing. Tapas can range from simple dishes like olives and cheese, to more complex recipes with layers of flavor. Many restaurants offer a variety of tapas, allowing diners to sample a variety of dishes.
Pork and game meats are also popular in Spanish cuisine, with dishes such as chorizo, jamon serrano, and chuletillas de cordero. These meats are often served with vegetables, potatoes, and rice, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal.
Paella is another famous Spanish dish. This traditional rice dish is often cooked with seafood, vegetables, and spices, creating a delicious and aromatic dish. Paella is often served at special occasions and is a great way to bring friends and family together.
7 German Cuisine
German food doesn’t enjoy the best reputation, most people dismissing it as merely sausages and potatoes. While there are some distinct regional variations, meat is very definitely the cornerstone of German food, and the number of different types of sausages is bewildering. The charcuterie is excellent and so are the cheeses, the latter being greatly overshadowed by the cheeses of its neighboring countries. Breads – particularly rye breads – are also a big feature, along with the aforementioned potatoes cooked every which way.
German cuisine is a unique and varied type of cuisine, with distinct regional variations. German cuisine is known for its hearty meals, which often feature meat as the cornerstone. German sausages are world-famous, with an array of varieties available. Charcuterie, or cured meats, are also a popular component of German cuisine. Cheese is also a major part of German cuisine, though it may be overshadowed by the cheeses of its neighboring countries. Breads, particularly rye breads, are also a big feature of German cuisine, and potatoes are cooked in a variety of ways.
German cuisine also features a variety of soups and stews, often made with meat and vegetables. Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is a popular dish in Germany, and is often served with pork or sausages. Salads are also popular, with a variety of dressings available. German desserts are also noteworthy, with favorites such as apple strudel, Black Forest Cake, and various types of cookies. German beer is also world-famous, with a variety of styles available.
8 Korean Cuisine
Like most of the Asian world cuisines, the staple of Korean food is rice, served with meat, seafood and vegetables. The most famous dish is kimchi, fermented cabbage, and in some families it is served at every meal. Kimchi is cabbage (with an addition of some spices or vinegar) which is buried in clay pots in the ground and allowed to ferment. In a style similar to the mezze, a Korean meal will consist of rice accompanied by an array of side dishes known as Banchan.
Korean cuisine is one of the most diverse and flavorful cuisines in the world. It is characterized by its use of fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and traditional cooking techniques. Rice is the staple of Korean meals, and is served with a variety of side dishes, known as Banchan, which can include kimchi (fermented cabbage), pickled vegetables, and various sauces and condiments. Kimchi is a beloved dish in Korea, and is served in many households at every meal.
Korean cuisine is also known for its use of spices and marinades, such as gochujang (a spicy red pepper paste), sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. These ingredients are used to create a wide range of dishes, such as bibimbap (a bowl of steamed rice, vegetables, and meat or fish), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles), and bulgogi (grilled marinated beef). Korean barbecue, or galbi, is another popular dish, where marinated meats are cooked over an open flame.
9 South African Cuisine
South African cuisine is very much like the people of the country themselves – charismatic, eclectic, culturally diverse, wholesome and downright vivacious. There is an authenticity in traditional South African menus, with influences drawn from each culture. South Africans are united by a love of their country’s food, the iconic Braai – meat on an open fire; Boerekos – rib sticking farm food; and spicy Malay dishes – all fresh, all local and all uniquely South African.
South African cuisine is a vibrant and diverse mix of flavors and influences from the various cultures that have made their home in the country. Traditional dishes are often hearty and comforting, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
A classic South African meal is a Braai, which is an outdoor barbecue where meat is cooked over an open fire. This is usually accompanied by a variety of side dishes, such as pap (a maize-based porridge), chakalaka (a spicy vegetable relish), and samp (a grain-based porridge). South African cuisine also features a variety of Boerekos dishes, which are rib-sticking farm-style dishes that are usually served with a starch such as rice, bread, or potatoes.
Malay cuisine is also popular in South Africa, with dishes such as bobotie (a curried mince dish) and bredie (a stew made with lamb or mutton) being particularly popular. South African cuisine also includes a variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes, such as the delicious Chakalaka, which is a spicy vegetable relish.
10 Australian Cuisine
It’s really quite hard to define Australian cuisine and it will probably never be considered as one of the great cuisines of the world, but it is an interesting one. As one of the youngest countries on earth, the cuisine is a terrific hybrid of all the races that made the journey to the land down under. You have a mix of British and Eastern European, but these have been “lightened” up by the differences in produce and latterly, there has been a heavy Asian influence. And of course, there’s the ubiquitous BBQ.
Australian cuisine is a unique blend of influences from the many cultures that have made the journey to the land down under. It is a combination of British, Eastern European, and Asian flavors, which have been lightened up by the differences in produce found in Australia.
The Australian barbecue is a popular cooking method used to prepare a variety of meats, such as beef, lamb, and pork, as well as seafood. The marinades used for these dishes often include native ingredients such as lemon myrtle, bush tomato, and wattleseed.
Australian cuisine also includes a variety of desserts and sweets, such as Pavlova, lamingtons, and Anzac biscuits. Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert topped with fresh fruit and cream, while lamingtons are sponge cakes coated in chocolate and coconut. Anzac biscuits, which are made with oats, flour, sugar, and golden syrup, are a popular treat for special occasions.
In addition to these dishes, Australians also enjoy a variety of international cuisines, such as Italian, Chinese, and Indian. There is also a growing trend of fusion cuisine, which combines traditional Australian flavors with those of other countries.
11 Caribbean Cuisine
Heavily influenced by African cuisine thanks to the slave trade, Caribbean food is spicy, comforting and soulful. Wikipedia describes it as a mix of African, Amerindian, East Indian, Chinese and European. This is quite some heady concoction. Food staples include peppers, sweet potato, coconut, plantain, goat, plenty of tropical fruits and lots of leafy green vegetables. Favorite dishes include goat curry, callalloo, rice and peas and of course, ackee and salt fish. The famous jerk seasoning can be used on practically any meat or fish.
Caribbean cuisine, a fusion of African, Amerindian, East Indian, Chinese and European culinary influences, is a flavorful and soulful mix of spices and ingredients. The traditional ingredients in Caribbean cuisine include peppers, sweet potatoes, coconut, plantain, goat, and a variety of tropical fruits and leafy green vegetables.
Goat curry, callalloo, rice and peas, and ackee and salt fish are some of the most popular dishes in Caribbean cuisine. Jerk seasoning, a blend of spices, is used to flavor many meats and fish. Popular jerk dishes include jerk chicken, pork, and shrimp.
Caribbean cuisine has been heavily influenced by African cuisine due to the slave trade. African-inspired dishes such as pepperpot, oxtail stew, and callaloo are popular across the Caribbean. African ingredients such as okra, cassava, and plantains are also frequently used.
Caribbean cuisine is also heavily influenced by East Indian cuisine. The use of spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric is common in many Caribbean dishes. East Indian-inspired dishes such as roti, dahl, and doubles are popular in the Caribbean as well.
12 Greek Cuisine
The food of ancient Greece spread far across Europe and the near east, influencing many of the world cuisines we know today, and many modern Greek dishes are as old as the hills. There are also incoming influences from the lands the Greeks conquered and explored, so the lines between Greek, Turkish, Arabic and even Italian food are often blurred. Olive oil and fresh herbs are essential to producing the flavors so redolent of the Mediterranean and the Greek mezze is a wonderful way to experience the taste of Greece. Greece prefers lamb and pork to beef (many of the islands can’t support cattle), and of course fish and seafood have a heavy presence.
Greek cuisine is a unique blend of flavors from all over the Mediterranean and beyond. As one of the oldest cuisines in the world, Greek food has been influenced by many cultures - from the Middle East to Italy. Olive oil and herbs are essential ingredients in Greek cooking, giving dishes a distinct flavor that is distinctively Mediterranean.
Greek cuisine is largely based on fresh ingredients, with an emphasis on locally sourced produce and seafood. Lamb and pork are the most popular meats, while fish and seafood are also widely enjoyed. Greek mezze is a great way to sample a variety of dishes, and is often served with ouzo or retsina.
Traditional Greek dishes include moussaka, a layered casserole of eggplant, potatoes, and minced meat; souvlaki, grilled kebabs of pork, lamb, or chicken; and spanakopita, a flaky pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese. Greek salads are also popular, often made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.
13 Filipino Cuisine
As the Philippines has been claimed by Spain in the past, used massively by the Americans during and after World War II and has immigrants from all over South East Asia (mainly Chinese and Malays), Filipino cuisine has evolved over many centuries. It is probably one of the Asian world cuisines most influenced by external cultures. It makes for a very interesting spread and typical foods range from paella type rice dishes to beef in bananas and tomato sauce. Like the country, Filipino food is diverse and colorful.
Filipino cuisine is one of the most diverse Asian cuisines in the world, having been influenced by Spanish, American, Chinese, and Malay cultures. Its flavors are unique and varied, ranging from sweet and sour to savory and spicy. Common ingredients include rice, pork, beef, seafood, vegetables, and fruits.
Popular Filipino dishes include adobo, a stew made with pork or chicken, garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce; sinigang, a sour soup with pork, shrimp, or fish; and kare-kare, a stew made with oxtail, vegetables, and a peanut-based sauce. Filipino cuisine also features a variety of noodle dishes, such as pancit, which is made with egg noodles, chicken, pork, shrimp, and vegetables.
Filipino desserts are just as varied as the savory dishes, with many of them being made with coconut milk, like the classic bibingka, a sweet rice cake. Other popular desserts include halo-halo, a mix of shaved ice, evaporated milk, and sweet beans, and turon, a deep-fried banana wrapped in a spring roll wrapper.
14 Scottish Cuisine
The food of Scotland, I hear you ask? Well, honestly, it’s the only food of the UK that has an identity. Generally, the UK has overcome the reputation for terrible food by embracing every world cuisine and you’ll find curry, Spaghetti Bolognese and sushi enjoyed in most homes these days. In Scotland, however, the food is more hearty and makes full use of the local produce. Venison and game, raspberries, and wonderful seafood are all major menu items. Plus, you can’t forget the kippers, oatcakes, porridge, shortbread and haggis.
Scotland is a country in the United Kingdom with a unique cuisine. Scottish cuisine is known for its hearty and flavorful dishes, which make use of local produce. Venison, game, raspberries, seafood, and other ingredients are used to create traditional dishes, such as kippers, oatcakes, porridge, shortbread, and haggis.
Haggis is the most famous Scottish dish, and is made from sheep’s offal, oats, onions, and spices. It is traditionally served with mashed potatoes, turnips, and a whisky sauce. Another popular dish is Cullen Skink, which is a thick soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions.
Scottish cuisine also includes a variety of sweet treats, such as cranachan, a dessert made from cream, whisky, honey, and raspberries, and tablet, a traditional Scottish fudge-like candy. For breakfast, Scots enjoy a traditional dish of porridge, made from oats and salt, and served with cream or honey.
15 Indian Cuisine
It’s hard to sum up Indian cuisine because the massive country has many regional differences, with some parts strictly vegetarian. The overriding opinion is that Indian food is all curries but it isn’t really. Pinning it down to one major factor, the basis of Indian cuisine is highly complex spice blends designed for maximum flavor. As well as loving hot and spicy, Indians also have a very sweet palate and all special occasions are marked by piles of delicious sweet treats. There’s also a massive street food culture.
India is a country of immense diversity, both in terms of its culture and its cuisine. Indian cuisine is known for its extensive use of spices, which add a unique flavor and aroma to the dishes. Indian dishes are often characterized by a combination of spices, such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and chili pepper. Indian cuisine also features a variety of vegetables, legumes, and grains, making it a great option for vegetarians and vegans.
In addition to its unique flavor, Indian cuisine is also known for its health benefits. The spices used in Indian dishes are believed to be beneficial for digestion, reducing inflammation, and improving overall health. The use of spices also helps to preserve the food, making it a great option for those looking to reduce their food waste.
Indian cuisine is also known for its street food culture. From chaat to vada pav, there are a variety of snacks and dishes that can be found on the streets of India. These snacks are often served hot and are a great way to get a quick bite on the go.
16 Mexican Cuisine
Again, there is a view of Mexican food that doesn’t do it justice and this is because of the way this has become one of the most popular world cuisines in recent years. The burritos, chimichangas, fajitas and chili con carne have been adopted by Western restaurants as Mexican food, but this only really represents Northern Mexico. The food of Central and South Mexico is subtler and more sophisticated, with many dishes having roots in the ancient Mayan culture. You will find tortillas all over the country, along with plenty of eggs and vegetables. Chilies, chocolate, tomatoes and cumin are major flavorings.
17 Indonesian Cuisine
There are three words that sum up Indonesian food – hot, fresh and aromatic. Some would say that hot should be qualified as being seriously spicy hot. There is no such word as bland when it comes to Indonesian food. Being an island nation, regional food varies. For example, Javanese food has an indigenous base, resisting produce that came from the New World via the Spanish and Dutch, while Indian influences can be seen in Sumatran cuisine. Rice is the staple food throughout and there are some famous dishes found pretty much everywhere around the country, these being nasi goreng, satay, and gado gado. Peanuts are used quite substantially along with tropical fruit.
18 Brazilian Cuisine
Not one of the cuisines of the world that springs immediately to mind, which is strange really, considering Brazil is a massive country (5th largest in the world), and home to more than 190 million people. This is perhaps due to the diversity of regional food making it difficult to identify a national cuisine. Some ingredients are used all over the country but are treated differently. The geography also plays its part. In the south (like neighbors Uruguay and Argentina), there is a livestock based economy so meat is the prevalent protein, while in the coastal areas and the Northern states where there are plenty of rivers, more fish and seafood are eaten.
19 Chinese Cuisine
One of the most popular world cuisines – which town doesn’t have a Chinese restaurant or take away? – the Chinese cuisine has influenced the whole of South East Asia and permeated the western food consciousness. Another massive country, this is one cuisine where the regional diversity is classified into eight specific groups, being: Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, Zhejiang, Shandong, Anhui and Fujian. The characteristics of each food tradition are influenced by geography, climate and history, as well as lifestyle and wealth. Traditions in Chinese cuisine include the balance of opposites (ying and yang) and the four pillars of color, texture, aroma and taste.
Chinese cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, with restaurants and takeaways present in almost every town. It has been so influential that it has shaped the food culture of South East Asia and the West. Chinese cuisine is diverse and complex, with eight distinct regional styles: Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, Zhejiang, Shandong, Anhui and Fujian. Each region has its own unique food traditions, which are determined by the geography, climate, history, lifestyle, and wealth of the region.
In Chinese cuisine, the balance of opposites (Yin and Yang) and the four pillars of color, texture, aroma, and taste are essential elements. Dishes are often prepared with a variety of ingredients, including vegetables, meats, and seafood. Common ingredients include garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Chinese dishes are often cooked with a variety of methods, such as steaming, stir-frying, braising, and deep-frying.
20 American Cuisine
The best way to describe American cuisine is that it is a mongrel. Every ethnic grouping that landed in the New World brought their food traditions with them. As the races became more homogenized, some foods grew in prominence, both nationally and regionally. Some foods were adapted and changed, like the frankfurter becoming the all-American hot dog, and Italian pizzas becoming deep dish, and others were invented in the USA, like hamburgers, Buffalo wings and Coca Cola. Many dishes are found all over the country but each region has its little nuances. Some clear regional differences exist – the Tex-Mex cooking of Texas, the soul food of the South, the Jewish deli culture of New York – but most often, they are regional cooking methods for dishes that can be found everywhere.
Which of these world cuisines is your favorite?
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