15 Finger Foods Around the World

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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

Thinkstock / ouihaha

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.

Baba Ghanoush (Turkey)

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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)

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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. 

Bichak (Afghanistan)

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You can get both sweet and savory versions of these triangular treats, which are folded pastry filled with cheese, meat, jam, fruit, and just about anything else you can put in a pastry. They’re often enjoyed toward the end of a meal or party, or as a light snack. They are best served during teatime, especially alongside Moroccan or Tunisian mint tea

Bruschetta alla Romana (Italy)

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Most of us are familiar with this toasted bruschetta dish that’s topped with garlic, tomato, basil, and drizzled with olive oil, but it’s most popular in its country of origin. Ingredients are often locally sourced and the flavors depend on what part of the country you’re in. If you want to try something bold, make bruschetta without tomatoes

Buffalo Wings (U.S.A.)

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Buffalo wings are the quintessential American finger food, bar snack, or even light meal. These chicken wings are deep-fried, drenched in sauce (often very, very spicy sauce), and served everywhere from parties to bars and restaurants across the country.  

Cancha (Peru)

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Enjoyed along the western coast of South America, but especially in Ecuador and Peru, this finger food is made with large kernels of maize that are deep-fried until they expand and turn a golden brown. Then they’re dusted with salt and enjoyed hot and crunchy. Really, they’re a lot like inside-out popcorn

Coxinhas (Brazil)

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This finger food is shredded chicken with cheese that is then wrapped in dough and deep-fried. What makes them special (and extra adorable) is that they’re molded to look like little chicken drumsticks — which accounts for their name, which is Portuguese for “little thighs.” If you want the real thing, this is one of those foods you’ll just have to travel for.

Dolmades (Greece)

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This Greek favorite is simple but tasty; dolmades (or dolmadakia) is from the Greek word dolma, meaning “stuffed” or “filled.” Grape vines leaves are boiled (to remove the bitterness) then stuffed with rice and sometimes meat. They are most often drizzled with lemon juice for added tartness. Serve these at a picnic for a refreshing snack. 

Falafel Balls (Middle East)

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These are deep-fried, crunchy balls made from ground-up chickpeas or fava beans (or sometimes both). Falafel balls are immensely popular across the world, but particularly in the Middle East, where they can be eaten as a snack, as a finger food (often dipped into yogurt or sour cream), or as a full meal with pita, salad, and toppings. For a healthier option, opt for baked falafel

Gefüllte Eier (Germany)

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This German take on deviled eggs is a popular favorite (and standard fare) at parties and meals —they are easy to make and even easier to eat!

Nigiri (Japan)

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I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t nigiri more chopstick food than finger food?” Not in Japan it’s not. There, it is customary to eat this variation on sushi with your hands. It also makes for a great, healthy finger food. Here’s a recipe.

Patatas Bravas (Spain)

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One of the most popular tapas dishes around, patatas bravas consists of white potatoes that are cut into small pieces and served with spicy tomato sauce. If you want to avoid slick fingers, use toothpicks. They are a great item to serve on game day.

Samosas (India)

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These deep-fried triangles of deliciousness typically have a savory filling, such as spiced chickpeas, lentils, potatoes, or minced meat. While you’ll surely find many ready-made samosas that you can pop in your oven or microwave,they are tastier when made at home

Vol au Vent (France)

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A hollow case of puff pastry stuffed with chicken or fish, it doesn’t get more chic that vol au vent. If you really want to wow your party guests, try this Louisiana seafood vol au vent recipe.

Watercress Tea Sandwiches (United Kingdom)

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No matter what inventive spin you put on afternoon tea, watercress sandwiches are always welcome. This is one of the most classic tea sandwiches, dating back to Victorian times. All you really need to fill these crustless triangles of bread is watercress and butter, but you can add hard-boiled eggs or cucumber for a little extra flavor.