Food For All Nations

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Food For All Nations

Whether it’s your goal to visit every country in the world or to simply sample the food each considers its national dish, we have spent hours salivating over all the must-try dishes.

While some places have tried-and-true recipes that stem from limited options, others have foods influenced by a conflux of explorers, colonists and ex-pats. You may be surprised to learn how many of the most faraway locales share the same tastes you do: Comfort food is a uniting commonality.

There are many countries to visit, so we’ll get right to our list of the very best thing to eat in every single country on Earth. (Warning: You may want to eat before you begin!)

China: Peking Duck

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Population: 1.43 billion

Of course rice dishes are plentiful across the giant country of China, but if there is one must-try-in-your-life food in the nation (or really, anywhere), it’s the Peking duck.

Originally created during the Ming dynasty, this delicacy hinges on two key steps. Step 1: Pump the duck with air so the skin separates from the meat. Step 2: Roast it until the skin becomes thin and crisp. A sweet bean sauce often provides accompaniment.

If there’s a more perfect dish than this, we know not what it is. 

*Our list of nations is per the UN. Countries are organized from most to least populated. 

India: Khichdi

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Population: 1.37 billion

There isn’t a national dish of India, as its various regions can be so different and enjoy their own flavors. But one of the most popular dishes in the country is khichdi. This rice and lentils meal varies by region in terms of ingredients, with ghee and tamarind often making an appearance. It pairs particularly well with an omelet. 

Khichdi is such a staple that it is often the first solid food enjoyed by infants.

Other names: Khichadi, Khichuri

United States: Apple Pie

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Population: 329.1 million

Barbecue, hot dogs and hamburgers are commonly associated with the U.S., but nothing says American like good old-fashioned apple pie!

Americans have their favorite apple types for fillings, and no one way is wrong. In any case, the pie typically features sugar and cinnamon in a flaky crust that, when cooked right, melts in your mouth. 

Eat it hot or cold, with or without ice cream. Whatever you do, just eat it.

Indonesia: Nasi Goreng

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Population: 329.1 million

Nasi goreng is similar to fried-rice dishes found across Asia, but is a bit thicker and sweeter. Using a soy sauce that is, as its name implies, more like ketchup (kecap), the rice gets filled with pickled cucumbers, acar and carrots.

It is often topped with a fried egg, a touch that very much works.

Other name: Fried rice

Must-Eat Foods From Around the World

Pakistan: Nihari

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Population: 216.6 million 

What is it about stews that we love the world over? The first stew on our list is just one of what will be many across the world. Easy to make and incorporating multiple ingredients, stews are definitely comfort foods from Africa to Asia, South America to North America and Europe to Australia.

In Pakistan, people go gaga over nihari, a shank meat stew with lamb, mutton, goat, chicken or beef, cooked with masala, ginger, fennel and onions. It’s a hot dish mostly made with beef, and a must-try when dropping into the Asian nation.

Brazil: Feijoada

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Population: 211 million

Bean and rice dishes are a staple in South America. In Brazil, the national dish is feijoada, a black bean and meat stew delicacy that delivers the goods.

Most times, the meat is beef tongue or pigs ear, tail or feet, but sometimes fish is the main ingredient — anything that’s cheap that can be flavored by the beans will work.

While many countries have similar dishes, feijoada’s flavors differ based on the amount of seasoning and spices used.

Nigeria: Jollof Rice

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Population: 201 million

Rice dishes are especially popular in Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa. Jollof is a popular one-pot dish found in numerous African nations, varying slightly by country.  It’s good no matter where you try it. 

In Nigeria, the rice is mixed with tomatoes, tomato paste, onions and the meat of cow or goat for a yummy concoction of flavors.

Other names: Benachin, Ceebu Jen, Zaame, Riz au Gras

Bangladesh: Hilsa Curry

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Population: 163 million

Is it any surprise that the national dish of Bangladesh is Hilsa curry? Made with a type of herring known as Hilsa fish, this curry of yogurt and poppy seeds is one of the most popular dishes in the Asian country located on the Bay of Bengal (where the fish is abundant).

Other name: Ilish Machher Jhol

Russia: Pelmeni

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Population: 163 million

In a country that extends 5,600 mile from east to west, there is one thing its people can agree on: pelmeni. This dumpling meal, said to originate in Siberia, is a staple of the cuisine of Russia. The dumplings are filled with ground beef, chicken or pork and served with sour cream. Perfection. 

Mexico: Chilaquiles

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Population: 127.6 million 

Yup, corn tortillas are popular in Mexican dishes, especially chilaquiles, featuring fried corn tortillas cooked in salsa. This breakfast dish gets topped with queso fresco or creme fraiche. It can be made with red or green salsa and sometimes includes avocado pieces, as well. (Fun fact: Its colors are those of Mexico’s flag!)

Japan: Sushi

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Population: 126.9 million

Sushi is synonymous with Japan and millions around the world have the country to thank for creating this healthy and delicious dish in the mid-1800s. Using vinegared rice wrapped in thin sheets of seaweed, cucumber, shiso or soy paper leaves, sushi isn’t always a fish dish; it’s anything rolled with the rice, from veggies to meats to, yes, raw fish (sashimi).

In any case, it’s traditionally dipped into soy sauce and, for a kick, a hint of wasabi.

Ethiopia: Doro Wat

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Population: 112.1 million

A traditional staple of every family growing up in Ethiopia is wat, a stomach-filling stew jam-packed with beef, lamb, chicken and spices (including berbere and niter kibbeh).

Hard-boiled eggs are also a prominent feature of this dish that is served year-round.

Other names: Wot, Wet, Tsebhi

Philippines: Adobo

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Population: 108.1 million

A way of cooking introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese led to adobo, a traditional Philippine dish. Chicken or pork are marinated and cooked in white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves, then poured over rice for a flavorful combination.

Other names: Carne de Vinha d’Alhos, Adobar

Egypt: Koshari

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Population: 100.4 million

This classic street food can be found everywhere in Egypt. And we mean everywhere! The mixture of rice, pasta and beans known as koshari gets topped with a spicy, yet sweet, creamy tomato sauce. The dish originated in India as khichri and was brought to Egypt with the British.

Other names: Koshary, Kushari

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