14 Ways Potato Salad Is Enjoyed Around The Globe

When the days get warmer and the summer season starts, it's time for barbecues, picnics, and potato salad. This creamy salad has been a crowd-pleaser since it was introduced to the American table in the mid-19th century. Back then, it didn't look like the classic potato salad of today; instead, it was all about vinegar and herbs without a jar of mayonnaise in sight. But as soon as mayo hit the scene pre-WWII, the classic combination of potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, herbs, and silky smooth mayo came together for this picnic favorite.

This traditional salad has many variations throughout the U.S., and each region adds its own unique twist. And potato salad isn't just popular in the U.S., this special salad filled with spuds is a favorite all over the globe. But if you eat potato salad in another part of the world, you may not recognize it as such because every part of the globe has its own way of making this classic salad.

If you are looking for some inspiration to amp up your potato salad or just curious how other kitchens across the globe serve up this tater-tastic salad, we share all the ways potato salad is enjoyed around the globe.

1. France

In France, potato salad stands out due to the addition of champagne vinegar and Dijon mustard. Dijon mustard gives the salad a sharper taste, while the champagne vinegar has a bright light flavor that jazzes up a basic potato salad. Plus, the addition of fresh parsley and dill keeps it all balanced with some earthy tones.

If you want to try and make French potato salad, then you will need to find champagne vinegar. Champagne vinegar is made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It has a mild neutral flavor and low acidity. You may need to visit a specialty store or look for it online, as most supermarkets don't keep it stocked because while it has a nuanced flavor that is great in dressing, marinades, and sauces, it is a pricey item. If you can't find champagne vinegar or just don't want to shell out the cash for it, you can substitute it with another mild vinegar like white wine vinegar or rice vinegar, which are more readily available and won't damage your pocketbook too much.

Another option for those that like a good DIY project, you can make your own champagne vinegar with a bottle of flat champagne. Just add the champagne to a wide-mouth jar covered with muslin or cheesecloth and store it in a cool dark place. But you will need some patience because it takes about six months to transform into champagne vinegar.

2. Argentina

Argentina, the land of gauchos and beef, has a unique spin on potato salad that combines classic potatoes with the perfect Argentinian treat, chimichurri. Chimichurri is an Argentinian staple sauce used on just about everything. It is made with minced herbs like parsley, cilantro, oregano, and garlic, soaking in zesty lemon juice. In Argentina, this bright green sauce works as a dipping sauce, a dressing, and a marinade. So it is no surprise that it's the dressing that holds together a cold potato salad. Some versions add aged smoked cheese and olive oil to contrast the intensity and acidity of the lemon juice. This salad is a popular side dish at barbecues in Argentina, where the beef is tender, and the mate is strong.

Chimichurri is available in most supermarkets in jars. Additionally, you can also find the spice blend, so all you have to do is add fresh lemon juice, and then you have the dressing ready for this tasty version of potato salad. To make it truly an Argentinian dish, serve it alongside an expertly grilled steak.

3. Japan

Not only has Japan perfected the egg salad sandwich and taken the classic American egg-filled salad to a new level of taste and style, but they have done the same with American potato salad and turned it into something truly tasty. In Japan, the tradition of yōshoku is a creative take on Western recipes where they are recreated using Japanese versions of the classic ingredients. Japanese potato salad keeps the creamy potatoes but changes up the veggies for cucumbers and carrots and adds in some animal protein, usually small chunks of ham, for some added heft and salty flavor. But the real thing that makes Japanese potato salad a real hit is the dressing. Instead of a basic mayonnaise, Japanese potato salad uses Kewpie mayo, changing the texture and flavor. Kewpie mayonnaise is a Japanese mayonnaise brand made with only egg yolks giving it a richer and creamier taste and texture. Plus, it is more acidic than regular mayonnaise and provides a nice level of umami, which is perfect for potato salad.

Kewypie mayonnaise is available in international markets or online. Look for the distinct slender bottler with the red top and try it on other American classics like a standard ham and cheese sandwich to dive into its richness.

4. Norway

In Norway, the summer season is when potato salad makes a splash. Summer is short, and that's the best season to get new potatoes, which make up their version of potato salad. In Norway, potato salad starts with a mayonnaise or sour cream base and has the usual suspects of potatoes and parsley with the addition of chopped pickles and pickle brine for a hint of tanginess. Red onions and scallions also make an appearance in this Norwegian potato salad.

In some regions of Norway, salted herring and sour apples make their way into potato salad as well. Salted herring is a staple in Norwegian cooking, along with pickled herring. Both of these show up in many different regional salads.

In Norway, potato salad isn't just at picnics; potato salad is one of the main salads served on hot dogs. Norwegian hot dogs are a unique dish served with Norwegian condiments. Instead of a hot dog bun, Norwegian hot dogs are served on a lompe which is flat like a tortilla and made from wheat and potatoes. The hot dog is placed in the middle and covered in condiments like ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, potato salad, and shrimp salad. So next time you are in Norway, be sure to try their delicious hot dogs served with potato salad.

5. Italy

In Italy, specifically Sicily, potato salad reflects regional delicacies and tastes. This Italian take on potato salad features more fresh veggies than classic potato salad and swaps the mayonnaise base for an olive oil and white vinegar base. Sicilian potato salad is a bright take on potato salad with red cherry tomatoes, salty dark olives, sharp red onion, and briny green capers. One unique addition to the Sicilian potato salad is green beans. Some home chefs blanch the green beans so they stay crisp, contrasting the creamy texture of boiled potatoes, and others prefer to boil the green beans for a softer bite. The olive oil and white wine vinegar hold it all together, and some lemon zest keeps the flavor bright.

In some coastal regions of Italy, it is not unusual to find fish like anchovies or tuna mixed into potato salad. Adding fish takes it from a salad to a proper meal, perfect for a summer evening.

6. Russia

Classic Russian potato salad or salad Olivier is a dish that is well-known throughout Russia. This Russian-style potato salad is a fixture at holiday tables and is one of the most popular and beloved Russian salads. The dish is similar to classic potato salad that it starts with boiled potatoes and is held together by creamy mayonnaise, but then it takes a sharp turn and veers into unique territory. Russian potato salad is filled with carrots, peas, pickles, olives, and ham, although sometimes chicken replaces the ham. It is all mixed together with mayonnaise and chilled. This cold salad is then served with crackers or bread or just eaten by the spoonful.

Interestingly enough, this traditional Russian dish is quite a bit different than its original version, which was created in 1860 by a Moscow restaurateur. His version included a lavish mix of lobster tails, crayfish, partridges, caviar, hard-boiled eggs, and boiled potatoes all in separate piles on a serving plate. But instead of eating it how the chef designed it, hungry diners mixed it all together, and the rest is Russian salad history.

7. Mexico

In Mexico, they have taken the classic Russian potato salad and tweaked it with Mexican culinary staples to infuse it with Mexican flavors for a distinct salad called, in Spanish, ensalada rusa or simply Russian salad. But Mexico's version is uniquely different than Russia's. It has shredded chicken, yellow corn, and spicy jalapeños. This popular cold salad is served on salty crackers or corn tortilla chips at weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations.

Throughout Latin America, you can find versions of potato salad all under the name ensalada rusa, but the ingredients vary and are based on local delicacies and the local economy. Near the beach, you might find ensalada rusa with tuna, shrimp, or other local fish. In rural areas, the meat may be chicken, turkey, or rabbit. Some communities leave out animal protein entirely and keep the salad vegetarian.

Mexico's southern neighbor Guatemala includes green beans and red peppers in their version of ensalada rusa. You can even find this mayo-based salad stuffed in jalapeño peppers.

8. Greece

When you are in Greece, it won't take too long to come across at least one version of Greek potato salad. Greek cuisine is filled with fresh salads, and there are many variations of potato salads, each unique to the specific region of the country. One of the most popular versions has all of the classic components you find in Greek cuisine, like fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, tangy olives, and crumbly feta cheese. The ingredients are mixed together with a hearty squeeze of zesty lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil for a fresh take on basic boiled potato salad.

Other versions of Greek potato salad are made by mashing the potatoes by hand and then adding bright, tangy pickles and briny shrimp. In Messinia, in the Peloponnese region of the country, fresh orange slices make their way into potato salad. The bright orange flavor contrasts the saltiness of olives and feta, making a salad with both texture and immense flavor.

9. Caribbean

Tropical beaches and turquoise waters are home to plump tropical fruits, and that is exactly what makes potato salad in the Caribbean stand out from other potato salads across the globe — the addition of tropical fruit. Caribbean potato salad is unique to the islands and includes pineapple, mango, and green apple for a dish that is sweet and savory at the same time. Some versions have walnuts or almonds for a little crunch and to help balance out the sweetness. The dish stays true to the classic version with a mayonnaise base, but the rest is something so tasty that you can only find it on the islands of the Caribbean.

Some versions of Caribbean potato salad take it from sweet to savory with a mix of traditional potato salad ingredients like boiled eggs and parsley, but they mix in a Creole flavor with grainy mustard, smoked paprika, spicy cayenne pepper, and tangy apple cider vinegar all mixed together with classic mayonnaise, which creates a rich and deeply satisfying potato salad.

10. Korean

Korean barbecue is gaining popularity for its take on grilled meats and veggies. But just like American barbecue, Korean barbecue has a host of side dishes called banchan that include all kinds of salads and pickled and salted dishes. One banchan that is popular is Korean potato salad.

Korean potato salad has many of the classic potato salad ingredients, but they are combined in a unique way. For starters, Korean potato salad is mashed instead of cubed, and because of the texture, this potato salad uses russet potatoes rather than new potatoes or Yukon potatoes, as many American versions of the dish do. The veggies are kept simple with just carrots, pickles, and red onion, all wrapped in a mayonnaise base. While the salad has hard-boiled eggs, their presentation is different. The boiled yolks are removed and grated as a topping when serving. And when you are serving Korean potato salad, you are going to need to dig your ice cream scoop out of the drawer because this potato salad is served in an ice cream scoop mold.

11. Spain

Similar to Latin America, in Spain, potato salad is a take on the Russian Olivier salad but with some classic Spanish ingredients. They take the classic Olivier salad with cubed potatoes and carrots, mixed with peas and hard-boiled eggs covered in mayo, but the Spanish version adds Spanish olives and roasted red peppers to makeover the Olivier salad. One version includes smoked paprika and Spanish chorizo for more flavor. Spanish potato salad is often served with breadsticks as a classic tapa that is best enjoyed with a glass of Spanish wine. 

In Malaga, the coastal region in southern Spain, they make a unique version of potato salad that is simple and refreshing and doesn't rely on the Russian version. Instead, Malagian potato salad starts with potatoes and hard-boiled eggs but then takes on a new form with the addition of salted cod, green and black olives, and fresh oranges slices. The combination is tied together with sherry vinegar, adding a nuanced dimension to the dish. The mix of salty, sweet, and savory makes this potato salad worth a visit to Malaga.

12. China

Flavors aren't the only thing that stands out in Chinese potato salad. The overall look of the salad is massively different than other potato salads in that the potaotes are cut into matchsticks, helping create a Chinese potato salad that is also work of art. Additionally, the vegetables are kept simple with just some julienned green peppers. Garlic and coriander are the only seasonings besides salt and pepper, but the sauce steals the show. The sauce is a mix of light and dark soy sauce and white vinegar, and sesame oil. This salad comes together smoothly with a little crunch.

In northern China, specifically the Sichuan region, where the food is bold with strong flavors from garlic and chili, they have their own version of potato salad that is savory and spicy. This fiery version of potato salad has a mix of Sichuan chilies and peppercorns and plenty of garlic, all pulled together with a dressing of sesame oil and rice vinegar. The addition of a sprinkle of sugar turns the heat up with a mix of sweet and hot that makes this potato salad stand out from the rest.

13. Germany

Although the origins of potato salad are difficult to determine, many agree that it comes from Germany, though it's hard to know which part. This is because every region of Germany makes its potato salad a little different. But the classic German potato salad that you can find all over the country is made with bacon and leaves out the hard-boiled eggs and other vegetables. Instead, German potato salad is a mix of potatoes and bacon, with a dressing made from white vinegar, Dijon mustard, and bacon drippings. It is a hearty salad that should be washed down with foamy German beer.

German potato salad reserves the bacon grease from frying the bacon to make the dressing. But if you are watching your diet, that might be just a bit too much of a good thing. Instead of frying the bacon, you can try different cooking methods like baking, grilling, or even microwaving bacon to keep the grease level down. And then just make the dressing with a simple mix of white vinegar and Dijon. You will still get the amazing flavor of German potato salad without the added heaviness that the bacon grease adds. All the fun with less of the guilt and bad properties. 

14. Austria

At first glance, you would probably think that Austrian potato salad is similar to their neighbor Germanys's versions of potato salad, but that is not the case. Austrian potato salad looks and tastes quite distinctly from other potato salads. First, the potatoes are cut into thin rounds or coins instead of chunks. Beyond that, the hard-boiled eggs are left out in the Austrian version in favor of a plethora of spices and seasoning like caraway seeds, rosemary, thyme, and tarragon. Finally, in Austria, the mayonnaise is left out in favor of a dressing made with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and beef broth. The dish is served at room temperature with a sprinkle of grated fresh nutmeg for a refined finish.

The other thing that sets Austrian potato salad apart is that it is often served with a schnitzel or fried piece of meat. It isn't surprising that it's served with schnitzel since Austria's national dish is Wiener Schnitzel, a schnitzel made with veal. The tender meat served on a bed of potato salad is the best way to enjoy these two favorite Austrian dishes.