For some, one of the best things about traveling to new and different locations around the world is the food. Traditional foods from a specific region or country can be a gateway to understanding that area's customs and cultural values.
Even moreso, trying traditional foods from different countries can be simply delicious. Here are seven dishes from around the world you should definitely try when you’re in their home country.
Amish Food in America
The Amish are known for avoiding modern technology, instead placing importance on more traditional values, including family and community. That philosophy is also reflected in Amish cooking. Look no further than the traditional Amish dish of beef and noodles. The ingredients are simple, the methods are straightforward, but the results are often delicious. Other Amish staples include friendship bread (a sweet sourdough cake-bread) and Amish chicken corn soup.
Chana Masala in India
On the surface, chana masala is a very simple dish. But it's one of those in which everybody has their own take. One constant is that the base typically consists of onions, ginger and green chilies. Garlic is also often included. Chickpeas are the main protein of the dish, while spices can include cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder. For a bit more substance, some versions of chana masala include potatoes, while others include mashed tomatoes. No matter which version you try, be sure to eat it with either grilled flatbread (such as naan) or steamed rice.
Grilled Meat in Greece
One of the specialties in Greece is charcoal-grilled or spit-roasted meat, such as souvlaki. The favorites tend to be lamb or pork, but goat meat is also in the mix. Whichever meat you choose, don't forget to wrap it in warm pita bread with healthy portions of tomato, onion, and tzatziki (yogurt with cucumbers, garlic, and herbs).
Lomo Saltado in Peru
Peru has heavy Asian influences in the kitchen, with somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of the population described as Asian Peruvians. The sautéed beef tenderloin dish lomo saltadao showcases that fact by using ingredients with Asian food preparation techniques. The dish is basically sliced beef strips stir-fried with other ingredients including onions, tomatoes, and Peruvian chiles, and spiced with vinegar, soy sauce, and cilantro. The meat is then often mixed with French fries and served with rice.
Paella in Spain
You may have tried paella at a Spanish restaurant, or perhaps while visiting Madrid or Barcelona. If that's the case, you still haven't tried "real" paella, which originates from Valencia. Yes, it's still a rice dish that features all manner of ingredients from vegetables to seafood. But the traditional version in Valencia tends to be a darker, smokier (because it’s cooked on wood fires), and all-around richer dish than you may be used to.
Pizza in Argentina
When you think of pizza, you probably think of Italy first. But Argentina, particularly Buenos Aires, is also well known for its pizza, which probably makes sense — half of the population in Argentina is of Italian descent. There are all sorts of pizzas to sample in Buenos Aires, but many have a somewhat thicker crust (up to an inch high), relatively light tomato sauce, and heaps of cheese. Common toppings include oregano, dried chiles, and green olives.
Wurst in Germany
Many countries around the world are known for different types of sausage, but there's probably no place better for sausage lovers than Germany. One of the reasons: variety. For example, there is Weisswurst mit Süßem Senf, which is basically a white sausage you have to peel, along with sweet mustard. Then there is also the Wollwurst, which combines pork and veal, the curry-covered Currywurst, and Rostbratwurst mit Sauerkraut, a grilled sausage with sauerkraut.
No matter where your travels may take you, it's essential to take in the best of local cuisine. Doing so will give you a flavor of whatever region you're in.