Have you ever wondered what kinds of dishes exist around the world? I have always been curious about different cuisines, which led me to research many national cuisines and discover their national dishes. To share my research, I will write an article about the extraordinary world of national cuisines and traditional dishes worldwide.
Kabuli Pulao is the national dish of Afghanistan. It is a spiced lamb pilaf and a true delicacy. Its main elements are raisins and carrots, often topped with almonds, rice, and lamb.
The national dish of Albania is called Tavë Kosi. It is an exquisitely delicious dish made with lamb or beef with yogurt, eggs, and rice. The ingredients are baked together to create a meaty and creamy dish.
You have already heard about this one and probably tried it. So, the Algerian national dish is Couscous. It is made with steamed semolina wheat and served with stewed meat and vegetables. This dish also has a Moroccan version, which is similar to the Algerian one but still original.
Although it has been gladly embraced by South American cuisine, Asado is Argentina’s national dish. With its vibrancy and liveliness, it truly depicts the colorfulness of Argentinian culture. Asado typically includes grilled meats, usually beef seasoned with chimichurri.
Australia’s national dish is the beloved meat pie. Spruced up with the touch of the warmth of Australian cuisine, combining Western and island cooking methods and flavors, it is a truly unique experience. Australian meat pie typically features flaky pastry filled with minced meat, often beef and gravy.
The Belgian national dish Moules-frites depicts the sophistication of Belgian cuisine and the simplicity and refinement of their cooking methods. The dish is steamed mussels served with crispy fries and various dipping sauces. The true testament of the phrase “less is more.”
Ema Datshi is the national dish of Buthan. Involving chili peppers and cheese, often served with rice, offers many flavors packed in only a few ingredients. Simple yet very effective, this dish breathes the essence of the Buthan cuisine.
This vibrant dish is the one you should get if you are ever in Brazil. If you have spare time, you can always try making it at home, but it is a transcendent experience to have in its native country. Feijoada is a stew made with black beans, pork (optional), and various sausages, vividly depicting the dynamic nature of Brazilian culture.
Delicious and straightforward, Poutine is a Canadian national dish. Much like Canadian cultural diversity, Poutine has variations, but the traditional recipe includes French fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy.
While many think the empanada is the Chilean national dish, it is actually Cazuela de Ave. This dish is essentially chicken stew, and the original recipe includes chicken, carrots, potatoes, corn, rice, onion, and pumpkin. It has many different versions, and it is a very versatile dish.
Although I have yet to visit China to tell you what the Peking duck in China tastes like, I’ve had it many times at Chinese restaurants, and it is definitely among my favorites on this list. It is a roasted duck served with thin pancakes and hoisin sauce.
Although Croatia has several national dishes, the Istrian Yota seems to be recognized as the national dish. I’ve had it several times and enjoyed the mix of flavors and textures. Istrian Yota is a stew made of beans, potatoes, bacon, and sauerkraut.
Honestly, I expected to love the Danish national dish less than I did. Stegt flæsk is the official national dish of Denmark, and it includes pieces of pork fried until crisp and then served with boiled potatoes and parsley sauce.
La Bandera is the Dominican national dish. I am a sucker for Latin American cuisine so that I may be a little biased, but I genuinely think that there’s not a single person who wouldn’t enjoy this dish. A hearty meal featuring rice, beans, and stewed meat, usually chicken or beef.
I was shocked when I learned that Koshari is vegan, the Egyptian national dish. I expected it to be meaty, but it was delicious, nevertheless. Koshari is a mix of rice, lentils, macaroni, and chickpeas, topped with spicy tomato sauce and fried onions.
Ethiopian national dish is Doro Wat. It is a vibrant and generously spicy dish, so it may be too much for you if you have a low spiciness tolerance. It is a rich chicken broth featuring chicken and spices.
Kokoda is the national dish of Fiji. Since I love experimenting and trying new dishes, I gave Kokoda a chance and didn’t regret it! It is tailored to the local palate, as all national dishes are, but it felt familiar. It is a Ceviche-style dish made with raw fish marinated in coconut cream and citrus juice.
Karjalanpiirakat (Karelian pasties) is the national dish of Finland. It is unusual on the palate since the fillings aren’t the classic pastry fillings. It is basically a thin pastry filled with rice porridge, mashed potatoes, or carrots and rice.
Pot au feu, or meat on the fire, is the French national dish. Honestly, I expected something with cheese, but this dish isn’t cheesy at all. It includes meat, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables.
Sauerbraten (sour roast) is the German national dish. It is pot roast marinated in a sour sauce, typically served with red cabbage and potato dumplings. It is a dish tailored to the Western palate, so it felt familiar and homey to me.
The national dish of Ghana is Jollof Rice. It is a one-pot rice dish cooked with tomatoes, peppers, and spices and a delicacy. I love it for its simple yet very rich flavor.
Moussaka, the national dish of Greece, is a frequent visitor in my kitchen. It is a rustic and delicious dish that is easy to make. Moussaka includes eggplant, minced meat (often lamb), and béchamel sauce.
The Hungarian national dish is goulash, and it is a popular dish worldwide. I often make it during the winter days since it is a super comforting dish. Goulash is a hearty stew with chunks of beef, onions, peppers, and paprika.
Hákarl is the Icelandic national dish. It is fermented shark meat, which is surprisingly delicious but more of a snack and not a meal. Due to the very particular taste, many Icelanders prefer combining it with cheese and vodka to balance its strength.
India is very diverse in terms of food, so there is more than one national dish. For this article, I chose the Tikka Masala, which is grilled chicken in a creamy tomato sauce with Indian spices.
The Indonesian national dish is Nasi Goreng, and it is a very delicious and surprisingly familiar-tasting dish. It is essentially fried rice with a blend of spices, served with toppings like fried egg and shrimp crackers.
Now, this is a dish after my own heart! The national dish of Iran is Chelo Kebab, and it is delicious, flavorful, and very satiating. It is grilled meat kebabs served with saffron-infused rice.
The national dish of Iraq is Masgouf. If you like fish, it should definitely be on your list, and even if you don’t, it is worth a try. It is grilled fish, often carp, marinated in tamarind and served with rice.
Irish stew is the national dish of Ireland, and it is a hearty stew with lamb or beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions. There’s a version with mutton and another one with beef. I prefer and recommend the beef version.
You have probably already tried the Israeli national dish, the famous and delicious falafel. It is made of a mixture of ground chickpeas and spices, which are then formed into balls and deep-fried.
If you thought that Italy’s national dish was pasta, you are right! I thought that would be pizza, but no, it is Ragu alla Bolognese.
This is a Bolognese sauce of meat and tomatoes with tagliatelle pasta. It is also sometimes just called Bolognese, which you have probably already had because the sauce has become so popular that it is often identified as the meat.
Jerk Chicken is basically chicken marinated in a spicy blend of herbs and spices and then grilled. It has so good smoky flavor that it’s gaining more and more popularity around the world.
Honestly, I was surprised to find out that the national dish of Japan isn’t sushi but Katsudon. It is a popular Japanese rice bowl topped with pork cutlet, eggs, and vegetables. I made it, and it tasted delicious. Best of all, it is very straightforward to prepare.
Jordan’s traditional dish is Mansaf, and although it is a delicacy beyond words, some may find it overwhelming, especially the palates of the Western cultures. It is a dish made with lamb cooked in fermented yogurt, often served with rice or bulgur, and the lamb flavor is very expressive. So, if you are not already used to it, it may be a little too much.
What I find most fascinating in this dish, besides its flavor, is the serving style. It has that typical oriental dimension, often served on a clay dish. Although Kazakhstan isn’t an oriental country, the influence seems to have imprinted on this dish.
Beshbarmak is a meat and noodle dish, often made with lamb or beef. It does come off a little strong, but it is very delicious once you familiarize your palate with it.
If you are interested in Kenyan cuisine, it has a lot to offer, especially since it has over 20 dishes that are considered traditional. Hence, the space for exploration is very diverse. Nyama Choma is the dish that most of the natives consider to be the traditional dish of Kenya.
Essentially, It is barbecued meat, traditionally goat, but it can also be made with beef. The seasoning is light, but the pairings are countless.
When you first lay eyes on Lebanon’s national dish, you will probably think that it is falafel and be as surprised as I was when you discovered that it isn’t. This falafel-looking dish is called kibbeh recipe, a mixture of bulgur wheat, onions, and ground beef to make a hollow shell. Then, this shell is filled with more meat, veggies, and spices.
It is a staple among Middle Eastern comfort foods!
The Malaysian national dish is called Nasi lemak, one of the most original and unusual dishes I’ve ever tasted.
Made with fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, it combines savory, sweet, and exotic flavors, both satisfying and refreshing. It has many variations, including different veggies and sides.
Is it melted chocolate? Yes, it is Mole Poblano! It is a rich, complex sauce made with chocolate, chili peppers, and spices, typically served with poultry. When you think chicken and chocolate don’t mix, Mole Poblano is here to convince you of the opposite.
Mongolian national dish is called Buuz, which is essentially dumplings. It is a very gentle dish with perfectly balanced flavors, rustic and wholesome with a warm and nurturing note. The dumplings are filled with minced meat, often mutton or beef, and then steamed.
Tagine is actually a dish named after the dish in which it is made. It is a slow-cooked dish made in a clay pot. It is a stew with meat, vegetables, and aromatic spices. If you have time, please make it since it is vibrant and satisfying.
Among the many traditional dishes that enrich the colorful cuisine of the Netherlands, Stamppot is the dish the locals consider to be the national one. Still, many other dishes are considered the national dish of the Netherlands, but unfortunately, I had to choose only one.
This dish is also known as the comfort food of the Netherlands, and rightfully so. It is mashed potatoes and kale with bacon and smoked sausage on the side.
New Zealand has adopted British national food, with fish and chips and meat as national dishes. However, they have a traditional cooking method called Hangi, which originates from the Maori, who are native to the land.
The Hangi cooking method is cooking food in an earth oven. You can cook anything with this method, but the Hangi-cooked foods you will mostly encounter in New Zealand involve fish.
Spread beyond the Nigerian border and into the ethnic restaurants of Western Europe and the US, Jollof rice is starting to find its way into ordinary households. This is a delicious and easy-to-make dish, which I am sure will settle in your heart once you give it a chance.
This one-pot rice dish is vibrant, colorful, and tasty and is cooked with tomatoes, peppers, and spices.
Macedonian national dish is baked beans or, as the locals call it, “Tavche Gravche“. It is a popular dish in households and their national restaurants.
As the name says, this dish is made with beans that are first boiled and then baked with spices and meat. It also has a vegetarian version, but the traditional recipe calls for meat, particularly pork.
The national dish of Norway is Fårikål, which is definitely one of the most original dishes I’ve ever tried. It is time-consuming to make it, but it is definitely worth it. It includes mutton with bone, cabbage, black pepper, and a little wheat flour.
It is cooked for several hours and served with boiled potatoes in their skins or cabbage. It may feel intense if you aren’t used to lamb or mutton.
Regarding Pakistan’s national dish, the central dilemma falls between Biryani and Nihari. Since we already had an article about Biryani, I’ll mention nihari as the Pakistani national dish.
Nihari is a slow-cooked beef stew with spices and veggies. It is a hearty dish, extremely satiating (I was full after half a bowl), and very comforting.
The Peruvian national dish is widely known and acclaimed; you may have already tried it. It is Ceviche, and it is delicious. It is fresh seafood marinated in citrus juices and served with onions and cilantro.
It has a mix of flavors combining sour, salty, and savory. It might not be for those who aren’t used to seafood, but I recommend it as an excellent starting point if you want to learn more about Peruvian cuisine.
Adobo, a beloved national dish of the Philippines, typically features meat such as chicken or pork marinated and slow-cooked in a flavorful sauce comprised of vinegar, soy sauce, and a blend of spices. This hearty and savory dish is often served alongside steamed rice, which perfectly complements the rich and tangy sauce.
In American cuisine, dishes like barbecue pulled pork or chicken stew offer a similar comforting and robust flavor profile, evoking a sense of familiarity for those who try adobo.
When you think of Poland’s national dish, I’m sure that the first thing that comes to mind is pierogi, the Polish version of dumplings, but I decided to go with another, as Poland’s national dish.
Although pierogi are recognized as a staple in Polish traditional cuisine, Bigos stew is another traditional Polish dish. It is a meaty stew with sauerkraut and veggies. It is incredibly comforting, rich, and satiating.
Portugal’s national dish is Bacalhau à Brás, salted codfish sautéed with onions, straw fries, and scrambled eggs. It is an unusual combination of ingredients, which results in an indescribably delicious meal.
If you like spicy oriental food, Machboos is the perfect dish. Qatar’s national dish is a delicious spiced rice with meat, often chicken, fish, or lamb, served with vegetables and nuts. I’ve had the chicken and lamb version, and I enjoyed them both.
From the many Romanian national dishes, I selected Mămăligă, a rustic, wholesome dish you can easily make at home. It is a cornmeal porridge similar to polenta, served with cheese or sour cream, which makes all the difference in the world. It is creamy, rich, simple, and very delicious.
Since Russia is a vast country, with local sub-cuisines in the individual regions, many dishes are considered national dishes. Still, I decided to go with the most popular one, Borscht.
Russian Borscht is a soup made with beet vegetables, often served with sour cream. It is a hearty dish that surpasses Russian borders and is famous throughout Eastern Europe.
Like many other countries in this article, Saudi Arabia has a vibrant national cuisine, and it is hard to pinpoint only one as the primary national dish. I decided to go with the most popular one, which is Kabsa.
This is an exquisite dish made with basmati rice, meat, vegetables, and a blend of spices.
African cuisine is one of my favorite cuisines to explore, which brings us to the national dish of Senegal. The vibrant, colorful, and delicious Thieboudienne Rice is essentially a fish stew cooked with vegetables and spices. Interestingly, this dish has many variations and interpretations, and each of them is equally authentic.
Serbia has a vibrant cuisine, which is valid for all countries on the Balkan Peninsula. I’ve tried a few of its national dishes and decided to go with Gibanica for this article. It is a pastry, somewhere similar to a pie.
It is a filo pastry with cheese filling. The filo dough and the filling mix together, so there isn’t a dough shell to fill. It is a delicious, wholesome, rustic, and satisfying dish.
Slovakia’s national dish is Bryndzové Halušky. It is a vibrant dish made with potatoes and served with sheep cheese and bacon. The potatoes are coarsely mashed, and the dish is very creamy and exceptionally satisfying.
The national dish of South Africa is Bobotie, which the Asian settlers introduced. It later became the national dish of the country. It is a straightforward dish, yet exceptionally delicious. With time, it acquired the vibrant charm of African cuisine while retaining Asian exoticism.
It is a baked dish with spiced minced meat topped with an egg-based custard.
Although more of a side dish, Kimchi is South Korea’s national dish. It has a place on each table, and South Koreans enjoy it with most of their meals. Kimchi is a delicious, refreshing, and crunchy side dish that goes with various meals.
It consists of fermented vegetables, mainly cabbage, Chili, garlic, and ginger. However, there are many kimchi recipes, and each family has its own seasoning, making their Kimchi unique.
Paella is the national dish of Spain, and it originated in Valencia. Since it is an ancient dish, its recipe has changed a lot over the years. The traditional recipe calls for rabbit meat and vegetables, but today, there are fish and seafood variations, meat and fish, and even vegetarian versions.
One of Sri Lanka’s national dishes is rice and curry. It sounds straightforward, but it is a complex and rich dish. It includes rice and at least five different curries, which are side dishes made with meat or fish in curry sauce.
The dish is also enriched with papadams, which are small tortilla-like pastries.
Sudan’s national dish is called Ful Medames, and it is one of the most popular Sudanese dishes served in households as well as restaurants. It is a satiating dish made with mashed fava beans seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and spices, often served with bread.
It is mainly a breakfast dish but can also be served as a side dish.
IKEA isn’t the only gift the Swedes have bestowed upon the world since Swedish meatballs are a worldwide delicacy. As the national dish of Sweden, these tasty balls of meat have captured the hearts of the locals, tourists, and cooking enthusiasts, such as myself.
These are small, seasoned meatballs served with lingonberry sauce and creamy gravy. This dish is rich and light; the best thing is that you can eat many meatballs without getting a heavy feel in the stomach!
If you guessed cheese, you are right. Fondue is the Swiss national dish, which we all know and love. It is melted cheese in a unique pot, served and intended to be eaten collectively. So, this isn’t only a meal but a bonding experience.
You eat this delicious melted cheese by dipping bread in it. This is a very satiating dish, so pace yourself the next time you have a Fondue party.
Syria has about 20 national dishes, but unfortunately, I had to choose only one- Yalanji. This is a dish spread widely in the Middle East and the Balkans. It has meaty and vegetarian versions, with the Syrian authentic recipe for veggies and no meat.
Yalanji consists of vine rolls filled with vegan filling and often rice and then simmered until ready. If you like to try out new food that tastes familiar, Yalanji is a great starting point.
Taiwan has a unique cuisine depicting the culture’s Western and Eastern influences. The national dish is Beef Noodle Soup, which tastes familiar yet new.
It includes noodles served in a flavorful beef broth with tender pieces of meat. It is pretty easy to make and incredibly delicious.
Thailand’s national dish is one of the healthiest on this list. Naturally gluten-free and packed with protein, this is what we mean when we say “balanced meal.” Pad Thai is a stir-fried dish with flat rice noodles, sweet-savory sauce, and crushed peanuts. It also includes bean sprouts, garlic chives, scrambled eggs, tofu, and chicken/prawns/shrimp.
The surrounding countries have influenced Tunisian cuisine. Many sources state Couscous is a Tunisian national dish, but that is only one of the broad palettes of Tunisian national dishes. Since I already mentioned Couscous in this article, I listed Mechoui as one of the Tunisian national dishes.
It is spit-roasted lamb seasoned with spices, often enjoyed during festive occasions, but it is also a typical household meal. It is a pretty heavy dish, both fat and flavor-wise, so if you want to give it a shot, I encourage you to start slowly.
Turkey has an incredibly rich and influential cuisine. You can find Turkish traditional dishes throughout the Middle East and the Balkans. I selected Menemen, a trendy national breakfast dish.
It is Turkish scrambled eggs with vegetables. The dish includes peppers, tomatoes, onions, eggs, and spices. All are made in one pan, abundant in flavor and texture.
If you want to see all the colors on your plate, go to Uganda and order Matoke. It is a staple in Ugandan cuisine and an incredibly colorful, vibrant, and delicious dish. The main ingredients are bananas, peppers, and tomatoes.
It is a vegan dish, the recipe of which varies depending on who makes it.
When it comes to the national cuisines of Eastern European countries, it is challenging to detect which dish came from where because all dishes have shared ancestry. Some sources state pierogi as Ukraine’s national dish, others state red borsht, and they are all right.
However, the chicken Kyiv is a Ukrainian dish named after its capital. It consists of fried chicken breast served with mashed potatoes.
United Arab Emirates
The colorful and rich cuisine of the UAE is abundant with national dishes that can also be considered a part of the national cuisines of the surrounding countries. Al Harees is the most popular dish in the UAE, according to the local population.
It is primarily a festive dish and is often made during Ramadan. It is a dish made with ground wheat and meat, a true creamy and rich delicacy.
I am sure you already know the national dish of the UK- the legendary Fish and Chips! Some would say it needs to be more creative to be a national dish, but here’s where you would be wrong.
This dish is impossible to copy outside of UK cuisine. Everyone can make fish and chips at home, but it will taste different from the UK version. The secret is the blend of spices and types of fish.
Uruguay’s national dish is a sandwich, believe it or not. But it isn’t just a sandwich, but one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever get the privilege to taste. Chivito is a sandwich with sliced beefsteak, bacon, ham, and various condiments served in a bun.
Since the USA is a vast country encompassing 50 states, I decided to write about the national dishes of each region. So, we will see the national dishes from the Northeast (New England), the Southwest, the Southeast, and the Midwest.
The New England region is famous for the Clam Chowder, which is the most popular dish in this area, but it is also a prevalent dish throughout the US. It is a wholesome, hearty dish made with clams, potatoes, onions, and bacon, all mixed into a cream-based soup.
If you were wondering whether or not the Southwest region cuisine is the renowned Tex and Mex, the answer is yes! It is impossible to name a single dish as the national dish of this region because they have a plethora of equally original and popular dishes.
For this article, I chose Chili, one of the trendy dishes outside the Southwest region. This dish has many recipe variations, but mainly, it includes ground meat (often beef), chili peppers, beans, tomatoes, and spices.
Western US cuisine is meaty, so here we will mention the almighty hamburger! Although the hamburger’s origin remains a mystery, the western US region considers it one of its national dishes.
There are countless hamburger varieties and recipes, but the basic recipe includes a juicy beef patty topped with lettuce and tomato garnished with ketchup and mayo.
The US Southeast dishes are characterized by uniqueness, originality, colorfulness, and vibrancy. Shrimp and Grits is the dish I selected to represent this cuisine. It is shrimp sautéed with garlic and bacon and served over creamy grits.
The Midwestern cuisine is hearty, wholesome, comforting, and very generous. Hotdish is an excellent representation of the Midwestern culture and food. It is a casserole dish typically made with ground meat, vegetables, and starch, like tater tots or noodles.
The national dish of Uzbekistan is Uzbek Plov, a pilaf-style rice dish cooked with lamb, carrots, and spices. It has a very hearty dimension and is a family dish full of flavor, softness, warmth, and comfort.
It is challenging to make it, especially as a newbie in the culinary department. Still, it is an excellent way to learn about the vibrant Uzbek culture and their food and cooking styles.
Venezuela’s national dish translates Venezuelan culture to the letter. It is cheerful, vibrant, colorful, and extremely tasty. Latin American cuisine is the one that binds all palates together, offering dishes that we all love.
The Pabellon Criollo is a delicious dish made with shredded beef, black beans, rice, tajadas (fried plantains), or fried egg on the side.
The Vietnamese national dish is Pho, which is also their most popular household and street food. It is a fragrant soup made with bone broth, rice noodles, and thinly sliced meat (usually beef). The sides vary, including bean sprouts, limes, chiles, fresh herbs, or other garnishes.
The national dish of Yemen is called Saltah, a rich soup made with broth and meat and/or vegetables topped with a fenugreek froth called hilbeh.
It is a popular household dish that Yemenis have as a main or a side dish. It takes some getting used to, but it is a very delicious dish.
Nshima is the national dish of Zambia. It is a type of porridge made from maize meal, served with various accompaniments. It is more of a side dish but a staple in Zambian cuisine. It combines perfectly with various food types, making it an extremely popular choice in Zambian households.
Sadza is the national dish of Zimbabwe, but it carries much more value than you might think. It is a tradition and an entire experience the culture revolves around.
Sadza has been passed down from generation to generation as a significant mark of Zimbabwean culture. It is a staple porridge in Zimbabwean cuisine made from white corn, which is a crucial crop in Zimbabwe.