Around the Table in 80 Days: Cultural Foods You May See At Lunch

Around the Table in 80 Days: Cultural Foods You May See At Lunch

By Kristen Tomazic, Staff Writer

As we arrive back into the full day schedules, lunch time is back into our daily lives. So far we made it through a whole month of schooling with unit lunches. As we make new friends or sit near new people, different cuisines are emerging as Gen Z continues to embrace our cultures at home and bring them to school. As you look around your table, hopefully you can identify various dishes from cultures around the world as we delve deeper into traditional dishes. Here are some traditional dishes from various countries around the world to help you identify some new dishes or even try them. This is part one of two because there were so many countries to include!

    1. China – Peking Duck

Peking Duck is the national dish of China stemming from Beijing in the Imperial era and is by far the most popular dish on a menu. Although Duck seems to deter many people away, it truly is a delicious meal. The dish provides a crisp duck coated with soy-sauces and the the five-spice powder. It is typically served with pancakes, cucumber, sweet bean sauce, and other side dishes.

    2. Egypt – Koshari/Kushari

Koshari(or Kushari based on different translations) is a comforting dish common in Egypt. This would include staples such as spiced lentils and rice which is combined with chickpeas and small pasta. It is then covered with tomato sauce(with some vinegar in it to add to flavor), and is topped with crispy thin onion rings. This national dish is commonly seen as a street food and can also be seen with a cumin sauce on top.

    3. India – Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a dish that contains chicken, tomato sauce, garlic, ginger, and various spices(of which include cumin, cloves, coriander, and garam marsala). While the chicken marinates in a lemon juice along with several other spices, it is later cooked in a tandoor traditionally. This dish was created through mixing chicken tandoor and a tomato sauce in the 1950’s and has blossomed into a popular dish for many Indian households.

    4. Honduras – Plato Típico

This national dish is typically seen at social events and as individual dishes. The dish includes meats marinated in various juices and spices, accompanied by chimol salsa. One of the many reasons it is enjoyed is due to the wide variety of foods on the plate that can satisfy anyone. This plate can also include fried plantain, pork sausages, rice, and stewed beans.

5. Mexico – Mole

Mole, the national dish of Mexico, is a sauce that is typically a chocolate-brown sauce but can come in other colors each with a different flavor. Although this is a sauce, it can be paired with several different types of meats and served as a dish itself. The story of this dish actually stems from another story about how nuns were trying to prepare a dish for an archbishop who was visiting. They did not know what to make him so they threw mole together overnight. Some say that it is just a myth while others say it is true.

    6. Nigeria – Jollof Rice

Yet another national dish is jollof rice. This dish includes rice soaked in a tomato sauce allowing it to absorb all of the flavors possible. The most common ingredients include the tomato sauce and rice, as well as pepper, salt, and onions. Other meats, fish, or vegetables can be paired with this rice and can even include other toppings such as coconut milk.

    7. Philippines – Lumpia

Lumpia is a traditional spring roll filled with pork and vegetables, and sometimes seafood. The rolls are typically served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. This dish is similar to other spring rolls from other countries since it is a very common in Asian cuisine. However, this is not to be confused with the Americanized version known as an egg-roll, which is bigger and differs from Lumpia.

    8. Venezuela – Arepa

Arepa is a dish that dates back to pre-columbian times and is a grounded maize dough of which can be folded to hold several fillings. These fillings can include cheeses, chicken or other meats, and several types of vegetables. The dough is typically a round and flat patty of maize that can be cooked in a variety of ways. That can include grilling, baking, frying, steaming, or boiling. This makes for a great base in several other dishes.