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Best National Food Dishes

There are countless countries touting countless dishes, but, when one looks at the greater whole, there are clearly a few meals that stand apart as the best national food dishes.

By Anthony GramugliaPublished 7 years ago 7 min read

Every country has national dishes that they tout as a pinnacle of their cultural achievements. Every country has a meal that is just as emblematic of their society as their flag or national flower. Every country, despite their differences both politically and culturally, can agree that there is food that stands above all others.

There are countless countries touting countless dishes, but, when one looks at the greater whole, there are clearly a few meals that stand apart as the best national food dishes.

Japan - Ramen

While sushi may be the most popular Japanese dish in the West, the Land of the Rising Sun can't get enough of ramen. Ramen shops line streets, sit in city epicenters, and appear in just about every piece of Japanese media you can imagine, especially if people are eating.

Ramen noodles are served in broth, usually with all sorts of meats, veggies, and spices thrown into the mix. They come in many varieties, and, yes, good ramen is far different from the ramen noodles you scarfed down in college.

Vietnam - Pho

Photo via Kitchen Stories

Vietnam's national dish is pretty similar to ramen. It's a noodle soup. But there are a few key differences. Vietnam's pho uses rice noodles, as opposed to Japan's wheat noodled ramen. Pho is spicier and soupier.

While it's up to personal taste which sounds more appealing, one thing that Pho has over ramen is the sense of adventure when discovering what meat is mixed into the soup. Some pho has pork or chicken in it. Some pho has pork and chicken tendons in it - or odder cuts of meat.

Germany - Currywurst

Photo via Olli Crusoe

A food with "wurst" in its name may not sound like the best national dish Germany has to offer, but one taste will change your mind. This sausage, served in curry sauces and spices, serves as a simple, yet popular, dish.

Currywurst may not have the history in the country that you'd expect from bratwurst or the like, but it remains the most popular dish in Germany by far. Over 800 million currywursts are eaten every year in the country! That's enough currywurst to erect the Berlin Wall... in currywurst!

Italy - Pasta

Image by Pawel Rekas

This shouldn't be too hard to figure out. There are numerous kinds of pastas served in Italy, from penne to lasagna to macaroni. Spaghetti, linguini...

It almost seems redundant to further explain pasta in all its shapes and forms, other than establish that it remains among the most popular dishes around. Period.

Colombia - Ajiaco

Colombia is home to countless delicious dishes. Their national dish, however, stands as a bit of an interesting dish. Ajiaco is a delicious, warm stew.

Herbs. Potato. Chicken. These are the key ingredients of Ajiaco. A delicious dish that warms you up through the mouth and down into your stomach. However, some argue Ajiaco comes from Cuba, which would make the national dish appropriated - much like many other great dishes from other countries. Then again, do you think Italians were the first ones to come up with pasta?

It is all just proof that the best national dishes may not originate from their country... but they perfected by said country.

UK - Fish and Chips

This dish has acquired some popularity throughout the world, but nothing beats genuine fish and chips. Not the fast food version, but a real fish, expertly battered and fried, and served with chips - more commonly known as french fries. Usually, tartar sauce, malt vinegar or some other condiments is served alongside.

Often, the fish used is cod or haddock, which is a very mild tasting fish. This makes it easier to serve fried. Ireland sometimes uses ray.

France - Crepe

Photo by Tish Boyle

Crepes remain an international favorite. France's signature dish - their national dish - remains one of the most delightful breakfast treats you can purchase.

Of course, what is a crepe? It's a thin pancake. Often served with whipped cream and fruits, you can purchase crepes as fast food dishes now, if you are so inclined. But, while accessibility is nice, well-prepared crepe are far more delicious - and far more satisfying.

Turkey - Doner Kebab

No, the national dish of Turkey isn't turkey. It's actually a giant split lamb or veal in a wrap, rotated over a fire for maximum cooking goodness. Often served with cut up veggies in the mix or, with some street vendors, fries, this remains a popular dish due to both its simplicity and delicious flavor.

Prepared since the days of the Ottoman Empire, this national dish is a treasure for all who have the privilege of eating it.

Venezuela - Arepa

Venezuela is home to a national dish that is often overlooked by food lovers. Arepa is a delicious breakfast food that is actually pretty variable.

Maize-bread, filled with stuffing. What kind of stuffing? That's the beauty of it. Want avacados? Good. Meat? Good. Smoked cheese? Salted chicken? Doesn't matter what you want. If you can fit it into a loaf of sliced maize-bread, you can eat it. Arepa takes many forms, but it's always wonderful.

Ethiopia - Wat with Injera

Ethiopia's cuisine is simple, but unique in how creative and delicious it all is. Wat is essentially a stew produced by meats (any kind) mixed with the spice berebere.

The stew is great, but, when you're handed a plate of wat you probably notice there are no forks. No spoons. No chopsticks. You are supposed to eat wat with injera--a type of spongy bread.

You soak or scoop up the wat in injera, and eat it that way, combining the mild spices of the wat with the texture of injera. A delicious dish.

China - Peking Duck

Photo by Jamie Lynn Waters

This international favorite, the Peking Duck has a delicacy in China for thousands of years. It has been served to Emperors and noblemen since seemingly forever.

The savory duck is well-prepared and delicious, glazed and roasted. Its signature is its crispy skin, which remains a thin casing around the meat. A delicacy worth indulging in.

Austria - Weiner Schnitzel

Photo by The Flying Deutschman

This national dish, often the punchline of jokes by immature children, is nothing to laugh about. This delicious meal is one of the best meaty dishes you can ever hope to enjoy.

Weiner Schnitzel is breaded veal tenderloin, fried to perfection. Poorly done, there are fewer things more disappointing than ruined veal. Perfected, though, you have something that transcends all flavor.

Philippines - Adobo

The Philippines is home to numerous delicious meals, all appetizing and tempting in their own way. The country integrates Asian and Spanish influences to create a menu of meals that would stimulate anyone's tastebuds.

However, it would appear that Adobo is their national dish. Adobo is vinegar-stewed meat - or, in essence, any meat marinated by either soy sauce, vinegar, etc.

The end result is tender strips, laid over rice or noodles. Perfection.

Mexico - Chiles en Nogada

The national dish of Mexico, Chiles en Nogada, may not be the food everyone associates immediately with Mexico. Pop culture often associates Mexico with tacos or burritos, but, in reality, their national dish is... a stuffed pepper.

Chiles en Nogada is a meat-infused pepper coated in walnut sauce. It's a delicious stuffed dish. Bonus: its colors actually parallel the Mexican flag.

Israel - Falafel

Photo by J. Kenji López-Alt

Israel does not officially have a national dish. The falafel is not the official dish of Israel, but it remains one of the most popular, most commonly available ones. So it counts.

The falafel is a ball compiled of chick peas, ground up. Fried up in oil. Easy to serve on street corners, they are a surprisingly delicious meat with rich flavor. Easy to eat on the go or sit down to have as a snack.

Canada - Poutine

Photo by Guy Bailey

Poutine is a simple dish - and a popular one. It's essentially just fries smothered in gravy with cheese curds. It is because of this simple recipe that this national dish remains so damned popular, both north and below the US-Canadian border.

If anything can unify America in these trying times, it is that poutine is a master class of unhealthy food that no one can resist!

South Korea - Bulgogi

Photo by Morgan Ione Yeager

Korean cuisine is broad and varied - full of some delicious meals that can satisfy anyone's taste buds. However, their national dish may be that universal meal that anyone can enjoy.

Bulgogi is grilled beef--cut thin. Very thin. You have to grill it yourself at most Korean barbecues. It cooks fast, and is incredibly flavorful. It's marinated in soy sauce and other spices, making it downright incredible. The only downside is, of course, you wish you had more. Its thin slices makes it an ephemeral dish that you will gobble up almost as fast as you cook it.

Brazil - Feijoada

Photo by Lucilia Diniz

This smokey, salty dish is enough to fill up anyone with delicious food. This dish is cooked with course flour and fat. Mainly, it's beans and pork.

Traditional Feijoada, back in the old days, was comprised of all parts of the pig. The snout and intestines most notably. While this has changed to incorporate any parts of the pig today, the delicious flavor has yet to change. It is a delicious stew sure to satisfy intense hunger.

Thailand - Pad Thai

Pad Thai noodles are delicious. Now a popular among college students ordering food during cram sessions, Pad Thai noodles are thin, street noodles served with meats and veggies, all doused in a peanut-sauce.

Its distinct flavor is less mild than other similar noodles like lo mein, but that is part of its appeal. It is an incredible meal for anyone... unless you have peanut allergies. Then you should probably stay away from this one.

America - The Hamburger

Photo by Robin Stickel

Ah, the humble burger. It has become an international food thanks in part to the proliferation of fast food from every corner of the planet. It remains a staple.

The hamburger may seem simple, but only to those with a limited imagination as to how lettuce, tomato, onions, and a meat patty can be arranged between two buns. The innovation utilized to enhance the little burger is immense, to those willing to explore the limitations of the burger...


About the Creator

Anthony Gramuglia

Obsessive writer fueled by espresso and drive. Into speculative fiction, old books, and long walks. Follow me at twitter.com/AGramuglia

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