Food With Place Names

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Food with Place Names is a culinary travelogue, bringing you the food and spirit of the world, one bite at a time. Lists of foods named after places have been compiled by writers, sometimes on travel websites or food-oriented websites, as well as in books. Since all of these names are words derived from place names, they are all toponyms. This article covers English language food toponyms which may have originated in English or other languages.

Food With Place Names

There are probably more than are listed here, but this list should be a good place to start. Anybody who can think of more foods please leave a comment below.

Parma ham originated in Parma, Italy
Parma ham originated in Parma, Italy

1. Parma Ham (Parma, Italy)

This fine city in Northern Italy is most famous for its best culinary export: parma ham. The Italian word for their ham is prosciutto, and in Italy it is known as prosciutto de Parma. In the rest of the world, parma ham refers generally to any type of dry-cured ham. It has a rich salty taste and is often eaten with bread or cheese.

Spaghetti Bolognaise comes from Bologna, Italy
Spaghetti Bolognaise comes from Bologna, Italy

2. Spaghetti Bolognaise (Bologna, Italy)

Now not everyone likes spaghetti bolognaise, and it takes a lot of skill to cook it well. But it is certainly one of the best-known foods named after its place of origin.

The city of Bologna gave its name to the meat-based sauce that is commonly used across the world to make the well-known dish spaghetti bolognese. Italians know the sauce as ragu alla bolognese, but in the city itself the dish is known simply as ragu.

Frankfurters originated in Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurters originated in Frankfurt, Germany

3. Frankfurters (Frankfurt, Germany)

Frankfurter sausages, also known as hot dogs in the United States and Europe, are the world-famous culinary speciality of Frankfurt, a city in southwest Germany. The sausages originated in Germany and were commonly served in a bun. Later, they became known as hot dogs, franks, wieners or weenies.

4. Brussels Sprouts (Brussels, Belgium)

The Brussels sprout vegetable originated in Brussels, Belgium, and were named after the city. The dish divides opinion—some people love them whereas others simply cannot bear them.

Essentially, the vegetable is a form of wild cabbage that thrived in the moderate climate of Brussels. The Netherlands later became the largest exporter of the vegetable, although they are currently grown around the world, including the United States.

The hamburger is named after Hamburg, Germany
The hamburger is named after Hamburg, Germany

5. Hamburger (Hamburg, Germany)

Germany has rich history of meats, and its biggest achievement is perhaps the hamburger. Their local snack—a firkadelle—was served alone. But Americans developed the snack by putting it inside a bun with salad. The snack’s popularity soared and has become one of the most enduring foods of the past 250 years.

Yorkshire puddings are from Yorkshire, England
Yorkshire puddings are from Yorkshire, England

6. Yorkshire Pudding (Yorkshire, England)

The Yorkshire pudding is a well-known snack that originates from the county of Yorkshire in Northern England. Housewives developed the dish—which can be eaten with a roast dinner or with jam as a dessert—by mixing flour, eggs, butter and milk into baking trays and cooking them in a hot oven. The food has now become known worldwide.

Edam cheese originated in Edam, Netherlands

Famous Foods Named After Places

01/11Foods named after places!

“What’s in a name? That which we call a Rose / by any other name would smell as sweet” The reference made by Juliet to Romeo which means that names are just the arbitrary labels attached to something and if you actually want to know someone’s worth, it’s through their heart and individual characteristics. With all respect, let’s prove this Shakespeare theory a little outdated now, at least when we are talking food. And when we speak food, we talk some real business here. Some places are known for their scenic beauty, some are known for their patriotism, while some for their sense of style and then there are some places that are solely known for the kind of food they serve. These food items become the only reason why you would keep that place in your travel bucket list. So fellas, grab your board pins and start pinning the destinations as we jot down these places known for their food. Many of the common names like Bailey’s Irish Cream, Hamburger, KFC, Buffalo Wings and Baked Alaska have all got their names from the places they have originated in. Read to know more:READMORE

02/11Yorkshire Pudding

Place: Yorkshire, England

An English food prepared as a pudding by pouring a batter made from milk, flour and eggs.

03/11Taiwanese Fried Chicken

Place: Taiwan

Very popularly known as popcorn chicken is a essential street snack in Taiwan.

04/11Mississippi Mud Pie

Place: Mississippi, United States

Made with pudding, ice-cream, marsh mellows and liqueur present in a chocolate cookie crust.

05/11KFC

Place: North Corbin, Kentucky

The second most popular restaurant chain in the world after McDonalds that sell the juiciest fried chicken.

06/11​Hyderabadi Biryani​

Place: Hyderabad, Telangana

A form of biryani specially prepared in Hyderabad. It is different from other Biryanis as it used raw mutton.

07/11Hamburger

Place: Hamburg, Germany

A beef preparation placed in between a bun and topped with cheese and other toppings.

08/11Buffalo Wings

Place: New York

These deep fried, spicy chicken wings are said to have originated in Buffalo.

09/11Belgian Waffles

Place: New York

This breakfast item was said to have been popularized in the U.S. at the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair by a vendor from Brussels, Belgium. It was originally served with whipped cream and strawberries.

10/11Baked Alaska

Place: New York

The name baked Alaska originated in New York City in 1876 when the restaurant that made it named the dessert in honor of the Alaska Purchase and the newly-acquired territory’s cool temperatures.

Why Are These Foods Named After Places?

Chicken Kiev. London Broil. Peking duck. On the journey from place to plate, the names of many dishes get lost in translation. | By Nevin Martell

Baked Alaska. London broil. Singapore noodles. When a food is named after a city or country, you’d think this would indicate that the dish was either connected to or concocted in that place.

But the reality is often lost in translation somewhere between an actual origin story (Nashville hot chicken, a spicy fried bird with roots in Tennessee’s African-American community) and a marketing campaign (baked Alaska, an ice-cream cake a New York City chef whipped up in 1867 to salute the U.S. purchasing the territory from Russia).

For the most part, food names are meant to win diners and influence eaters. “You want something that resonates with your consumers’ values, and you want to stand out from your competitors,” says food historian Ken Albala of the University of the Pacific. “Association with place is a strong marker of identity—even if you make it up.” Albala, author of culinary history books such as Eating Right In The Renaissance and Nuts: A Global History also thinks some food names come from sheer ignorance. “For example, people initially thought turkey came from Turkey,” he says.

Why did the chicken Kiev cross the globe?

One perfect example is chicken Kiev. The basic recipe: a breaded, deep-fried chicken cutlet stuffed with seasoned butter. It’s pretty decadent and can be dangerous—watch for splattering hot butter when you slice into it. But, it’s not from Ukraine.

Bonnie Morales, chef and co-owner of Portland, Oregon Russian restaurant Kachka, first tasted the dish when her Soviet immigrant parents served her a TV dinner version in the 1990s. They’d never heard of it in their native Belarus. “People don’t make chicken Kiev at home,” says Morales.

Years later, chicken Kiev became a strong seller on the Kachka menu. “We were worried people wouldn’t be down with Russian cuisine, so we honed in on dishes average American diners wouldn’t be freaked out by,” she says. “After all, it’s just fried chicken with butter at the center. Who doesn’t like that?”

Though it didn’t start in Ukraine, chicken Kiev seems to have first appeared on Russian menus in the late 19th century, possibly dreamed up by the French chefs czarist aristocrats loved to employ. It was probably initially made with ground meat–most often pork, but sometimes veal or chicken–and panfried, resulting in what looked like an oval, breaded hamburger.

The chicken recipe gained popularity in early 20th-century Russia (especially at the Intourist hotel chain). And by the 1960s, with a westernized name (chicken Kiev), the dish usually used flattened, rolled up chicken breasts. And it turned into a fancy British and American dinner-party headliner.

Back in Kyiv, the recipe wasn’t on chefs’ radars until the 1970s, when tourists began requesting it at restaurants. To meet the demand, Kyiv embraced Kiev cutlets.

Now, visitors can chomp the chicken recipe as a handheld snack (it resembles a corndog sans stick) at the city’s Rebra & Kotlety or a version dressed up with foie gras and cauliflower foam at Vogue Café in the glitzy Fairmont Grand Hotel Kyiv. And in 2018, an approximately dinner-plate sized bronze sculpture of the now-iconic dish went up in the central city, just steps from—where else?—Chicken Kyiv restaurant.

Selling a taste of tiki

Some food names are just blatant marketing ploys. Take crab Rangoon, those deep-fried dumplings stuffed with crab, cream cheese, and dashes of chili and HP sauces.

In Yangon, Myanmar (formerly known as Rangoon, Burma), very few markets carry the cream cheese needed to cook the little pupu platter favorites. And besides, crab Rangoon was created a couple of oceans away by midcentury California restaurateur Victor J. Bergeron, whose tiki-themed Trader Vic’s restaurants appropriated South Pacific decor and misappropriated a range of Asian and Polynesian foods on its menus. In many cases, like the dumplings, Bergeron merely namechecked far-flung locales—squab Cathay, Tahitian flambé (a slightly tropical ice-cream sundae). “You brand a product with a place so there’s an instant association in consumers’ minds,” says Albala.

First served at Trader Vic’s in the 1950s, crab Rangoon is still a top-selling appetiser at the chain’s 17 outposts from Atlanta to the UAE. “It was a fusion food that took exotic ingredients and combined them with European techniques,” says Eve Bergeron, Trader Vic’s spokesperson and the granddaughter of its founder.

Other dishes with monikers better travelled than what’s on the plate include London broil (an American steak-cooking technique) and German chocolate cake, which actually originated in Texas. The latter name didn’t even come from the Lone Star State’s large European immigrant population. The recipe—which went Eisenhower-era viral after running in the Dallas Morning News in 1957—used Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate. The chocolate was formulated in the 1850s by American confectioner Samuel German.

And while baked Alaska sprang forth in New York City, much like chicken Kiev, it eventually wandered homeward. The meringue-topped ice cream cake now figures on many dessert menus in the 49th state, including at the Alyeska Resort in the Chugach Mountains.

Truth in advertising

Sometimes a Peking duck is just, well, a Beijing bird, cooked and eaten in the city where the recipe first took flight. It’s much like Buffalo wings, which, yes, were born in 1964 in the northern New York State city of the same name, at the Anchor Bar. And, for the record: Belgian waffles were invented in Belgium, and the Philadelphia cheesesteak comes from the City of Brotherly Love.

About those Chinese fowls? The roasted quackers have been hanging on hooks in duck houses for eons: the first version of the dish was hatched in Peking, now known as Beijing, and served to the Emperor of China in the 13th century. A Peking duck first appeared in print in Hu Sihui’s Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages, published in 1330.

Today’s Peking duck is usually a Pekin breed that’s been fattened up before the slaughter. The whole duck is then cleaned, prepped, dried, glazed with maltose and spices, dried again, and roasted. The multi-day process results in golden, crispy skin and juicy meat. The duck is traditionally carved tableside and served in three courses: skin and a dipping sauce; meat with vegetables and diaphanous little pancakes; and the remaining bits in a broth. The presentation method—like the recipe—has migrated to Chinese restaurants around the world.

Bianyifang, the first restaurant specializing in Peking duck, opened in 1416 in current-day Beijing. A spinoff location came in 1855 and is still operating today. You can try the duck there or at Quanjude, in business since 1864. The restaurants diverge slightly in their preparation methods: Bianyifang roasts birds in a closed oven, the latter cooks them in an open oven.

Locals constantly debate which restaurant’s recipe is better. But what isn’t in contention? Where Peking duck was created. In this case, the name is the true story of the dish.

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