15 Finger Foods Around the World

Summer Hors d'oeuvre Tips from 34 Degrees

Thinkstock / ouihaha

Ooh la la, wouldn't you want to serve some vol au vent at your party?

There’s a reason people serve finger foods (or hors d’oeuvres, if you prefer) before a party or dinner, and it’s not just because they are delicious. They set the scene, giving your taste buds an idea of what’s to come. Often, they’re so good you could have a whole meal made of them, or create a finger-food menu for tea time. We could certainly do just that with all of these 15 finger foods from around the world.

15 Finger Foods Around the World (Slideshow)

To qualify as a finger food, the dish needs to be small. How small, you ask? Well, the key is in the name, as they are meant to be eaten with your fingers, or speared with little cocktail picks, or even slurped out of a wee handheld cocktail glass (like cocktail shrimp). Foods like pancakes and soups don’t count (no matter how small the portions) because they require plates or utensils. The goal of finger food is to allow you to munch on tasty treats while mingling at a party or event… no sit-down meal required.

We expanded on our original list of Finger Foods Around the World to give you a few more delicious treats, and included recipes to go along with each of these foods, so you can invite some of the world into your kitchen and your parties. Unfortunately, some of these foods use ingredients that are hard to find in the U.S., like coxinhas from Brazil, which are often made with creamy Catupiry cheese. But hey, who wouldn’t want to travel to Brazil, right?

Depending on where you are in the world, your finger food choices will be a tad different — hors d’oeuvres generally favor local tastes. Snack foods are often regional favorites reflecting culture and local ingredient availability. Delicious finger foods can be anything from deep-fried cheesy balls to creamy local dips meant to be scooped up with a piece of bread or pita.

So, which of these delicious finger foods will you serve at your next party?

Additional reporting by Nikkitha Bakshani

Baba Ghanoush (Turkey)

This is always a hit at parties.

Shutterstock / Vlastimil Kuzel

This is always a hit at parties.

This iconic eggplant dip is smoky, rich, creamy, and an incredibly popular dish all over the Mediterranean and Middle East. It’s most often eaten with chunks of pita. Here are a few great recipes you can try at home.

Bao (China)

Who would say no to this?

Shutterstock / Ronnie Chua

Who would say no to this?


These fluffy soft dough buns are usually steamed (though sometimes they come baked) and are stuffed with a variety of fillings (pork, beef, vegetables). They’re light and buoyant and are often dipped in a soy-based sauce for extra flavor. We like char siu bao, which is stuffed with pork.