Take a trip around the globe, without leaving the comfort of your own kitchen. From a Korean bibimbap bowl to Turkish pide, Hawaiian poké or a Swedish cinnamon bun, here’s our roundup of eight great cuisines that are worthy of your attention.
From crispy rice bibimbap to smoky barbecue, Korean food is known for its diversity. A typical meal consists of small shared plates served with rice and kimchi – a spicy pickled cabbage. Why not try this classic Korean chicken and potato stew, flavoured with sesame, chilli and garlic; or a seafood and spring onion pancake known as pajeon, served with a tangy dipping sauce.
Zesty and fresh, Vietnamese food is beautifully light and delicate. Vietnamese cooking is often centred around rice or noodles, vegetables, seafood and pork, and masses of herbs, lemongrass and chilli for added punch. The classic pho – pronounced ‘fow’ – is a pork and noodle soup typically eaten for breakfast, but it’s just as delicious at any time of day. For a lighter lunch, try some delicate prawn summer rolls or simple lettuce cups instead.
Like the country itself, Turkish cuisine bridges the cultures of east and west. Along its scenic coastline, succulent seafood and hearty vegetable mezze are commonly found. The Turks are also the king of the grills, so you’ll find lots of smoky barbecued food. The further east you go, the more apparent the kebab culture becomes. Other popular national dishes include a thick red lentil soup called Mermicek Çorbasi, pide (the Turkish take on pizza), and fragrant grains such as this citrus bulgur wheat salad.
With an abundant coastline to the west providing fish and seafood (made famous by raw ceviche dishes), the high peaks of the Andes in the middle where colourful varieties of corn and quinoa grow, and the vast Amazon rainforest to the east, Peru has a diverse landscape and equally diverse cuisine to match. The cities along the coast are also full of international influences from European, African and Asian settlers, where dishes such as Spanish empanadas and Chinese-style rice frequently appear. A local hybrid dish is lomo saltado, a unique Peruvian-style stir-fry dish served with chips.
Not just a destination for beautiful beach holidays, Hawaii has a fresh, vibrant and colourful cuisine that's worth trying too. Typical dishes include spam sushi (yes, you heard us right, tinned spam...) and fresh bowls of poké made with finely chopped raw fish, crunchy vegetables and rice. For a simpler version, try this easy smoked salmon poké bowl recipe.
Made to survive the chill, Swedish food is comforting and cosy. Cinnamon buns are a national obsession and devoured with strong coffee on a daily basis. For a savoury snack, you can’t beat an open sandwich. Try crisp rye bread, smothered in warming horseradish crème fraîche, and layered with smoked salmon and homemade pickled cucumber and radish.
Abundant in fresh vegetables, crisp salads and grilled meats, Lebanese food is light and fresh. Za’atar – a spice mix made with sumac, sesame seeds and thyme – is sprinkled over many dishes or mixed with olive oil to dip pitta or flatbreads into. Try with za'atar grilled veg for a vegan main, or rolling up in Middle Eastern aubergine skewers for a tasty party nibble. Heaving plates of mezze are easy to come by, and smoked aubergines are commonly mashed into a creamy dip known as baba ganoush.
Indonesian food is hot, spicy, nutty and bursting with flavour. Fish is eaten in abundance and used as a seasoning or marinade in the form of fish sauce, like in this fragrant chicken and papaya satay noodles recipe that really packs a punch. Other classic recipes include nasi or mee goreng, a delicious stir-fry made with rice or noodles and topped with chilli and egg; and gado gado, a mixed bowl of salads, veg, grains, and whatever you fancy.
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