Skip to content

Countries and Dishes

This is the complete list of dishes that I will be cooking plus an explanation of the term “National Dish”.  I have been editing it and adding/subtracting things based on my original criteria.  This list was harder than building the whole blog!

I am going to restate that I am NOT taking a political stand on any of the disputed territories etc. and have chosen not to cook from these areas in this challenge.  I am contemplating a shorter challenge for after the completion of this list.  I may call it “Still Eating Despite the Bombs” or some other such thing and will go into depth on the nature of the conflicts in these areas.  But for now, I am staying completely neutral and simply cooking the dishes of the recognized states from around the world.  I do personally hope that we reach a time when all human disputes are settled by dinner and discourse.

My original number was 193 countries.  It looks like that number has grown a bit. There are a few countries like Vatican City that are sovereign and recognized but will not likely have a local cuisine different from surrounding areas (like Italy).  In that case I may have some fun (i.e. bread and wine with penance for dinner), or I might simply cook some more Italian food, which I love.

There is also the fact that I am not a geographer(amateur perhaps) and have probably overlooked things, missed or added some things I should not have, etc.  So remember that this whole list is highly subjective and is really just the most complete list I could come up with under my criteria.  I will gladly accept reproof from anyone who believes me in error.  Bearing in mind the mission, that should be acceptable to all.

As I am numbering the recipes, I will know the final number on the last day of the challenge.  If you feel like counting them all, please feel free.  I cannot get past about 111 without my eyes going zonky and messing up my count.

In order to define my challenge and make it clear what a tremendously difficult task this will be, I have included the explanation of National Dishes from Wikipedia below this entry and above the list of countries.  I am using quotation marks to give credit.

I have done heavy editing of this list to include many dishes and countries that were not included on Wikipedia (google to the rescue). Also I am leaving the links to the Wiki articles for each country, but have removed the links from the food items themselves as the challenge involves me posting recipes I find online anyhow.

You would find a similar list at this link, but will notice that my list is more complete and has been narrowed to the dish or dishes I am choosing to cook. I will not always choose a dish I think sounds the tastiest.  I want to explore so will try to choose food that I can acquire the ingredients to and that will provide variety.  In many cases the country does not have a “national dish” and I have chosen a popular representative dish to take the place of the national dish.  In the end although this journey is mine alone to create, the thing I most look forward to is sharing it with many friends online and over dinner as well as bringing my immediate family along for the ride. Food is afterall about friends and family.  Send your comments!  They cheer me up and keep me motivated.

Definition: “A national dish is a dish, food or a drink that represents a particular country, nation or region. It is usually something that is naturally made or popular in that country.


“The concept is highly informal, and in some cases the relationship between a given territory or people and certain typical foods may seem vague. Typical dishes can vary from region to region, and the use of the term “national dish” does not always imply the existence of present borders or a “nation” in today’s legal sense or borders; e.g. rösti is the national dish in German-speaking Switzerland and fondue is in French-speaking Switzerland, although the political integrity of the Swiss state is undisputed.

Similarly, countries can share a national dish, because they share a common history and/or language, e.g. traditional food in Austria, the German state of Bavaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic is similar. In several Slavic cuisines in Central and East European countries bigos, borscht, and pierogi are popular and generally associated with one or more of them. Beverages can also be assigned the status of a national “dish”, such as beer in Germany, Belgium or the Czech Republic, wine in France, Italy, Portugal or Spain, vodka in Poland, Finland, Russia or flavoured vodka, Akvavit in Sweden. In Poland beer is also popular as a social beverage choice.

National dishes also function as stereotypes. These can be either autostereotypes, describing a nation’s self-image, or heterostereotypes associated with a nation in the outside world, or both. While most “national dish” stereotypes are positive to neutral, they can also acquire the status of ethnic slurs.

The French are said to have a particular taste for frog legs. The epithet may refer to the supposed origin of the fleur-de-lys in French heraldry as modified from toads; or to the inaccurate French origins in Frisia, where lily pads are a national symbol.

In some cases, supposed national dishes are similar to urban legends, especially when relating to countries that are exotic from the perspective of another country; for example, the popularity of fried spiders in Cambodia and dogs in Korea is largely overestimated in the West. Urban legend-like national dishes can also turn into a self-fulfilling  prophecy, as demonstrated by the example of the Scottish deep-fried Mars bar, which is believed to have become at least moderately popular after English media circulated the story of its existence.”

From The original unedited and unrefined list on Wikipedia.

“National” dishes in alphabetical order by country:

A final note:  When there is repetition of a national dish as occurs in Africa and the South Pacific in particular, I will cook the dish one time and try to include garnish native to each country.  This should also help me reach my goal in one year.







31 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 6:29 pm

    What an amazing challenge. I can’t wait to keep checking in to see what you have made.

  2. CityCrab permalink
    January 31, 2010 8:02 pm

    Hey Eric, you gotta add Palestine!!!

    • February 1, 2010 9:34 pm

      Thanks for the comment Lisa! I am glad to see you on here. I have just completely changed my mind in response to your comment. Originally due to it not making the Wiki list of sovereign nations, I was not going to cook Palestine until a later challenge involving the disputed territories. However, I think due to the following info that I will include it here in this challenge:

      Palestine has observer status at United Nations General Assembly and maintains a permanent observer mission at the UN Headquarters[55] The declared State of Palestine is recognized by more than 100 countries, though with varying territorial borders, or even none. In foreign relations, the State of Palestine is represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestinian National Authority is an interim administrative body formed as a result of the Oslo Accords that exercises limited control over parts of the West Bank, the rest of which is controlled by Israel, while the Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas.

      The State of Palestine is unusual in it’s nearly universal recognition to one extent or another as a sovereign nation. I think that it meets the qualifications to be on my list. And this goes to show how fluid the concept of this challenge is.

      Thanks for the comment and I expect you to visit when I do. That gives you awhile anyway!!


      • iman permalink
        August 18, 2011 8:15 am

        Good, but isn’t it enough that the nation/culture/heritage/people exists whether it is recognized by the international community or not?

  3. Jeanne Tucker permalink
    February 12, 2010 4:54 pm

    Hey Eric- Love the site- you KNOW we’re “foodies”. Love to cook, LOVE to eat! Keep up the good work.

    • February 12, 2010 5:01 pm

      Hi Jeanne!

      Glad you dropped in! Luke and I had a few beers the other night when he stayed here and talked about FOOD!

      Stay tuned for much more from this series…


  4. February 23, 2010 9:32 am

    Hey Eric – I am totally impressed with this goal that you have … and plan on keeping tabs on your progress! It’s funny. I compared your beans and rice recipe to the one I made the other day … coconut milk – what a wonderful idea!

    And now, my stupid question …. drum roll, please! Are you planning to travel to each of the countries you have listed and ‘cooked’?

    • February 23, 2010 12:07 pm

      Hi susan,

      Thanks for joining the adventure. We are going to have fun this year!

      I have been on your blog as well and I like your work. Feel free to email me at anytime. Cheers!

  5. February 26, 2010 9:10 pm

    Great concept! I look forward to reading more. (I hate to nitpick, but the national dish for Trinidad & Tobago is roti. Doubles are popular street food. It is like saying that hot dogs are the national dish of the US.)

    • March 1, 2010 12:39 pm

      Hi Elle,

      I apologize for the delayed response. I am just back in from travelling. To answer your question, I chose doubles from the Wiki list, which also listed Roti. They was limited rhyme or reason to the choice. I think I chose that because it was listed first. Such is the fate of trying to choose a national dish from Wikipedia!

      I have made some edits before based on input from readers. I am changing it to Roti, and I appreciate the note. The only question now becomes, which Roti Bread do I choose and how to fill it. If you have suggestions for fillings or recipes, please email me at…Cheers,

  6. June 17, 2010 9:40 am


    Your blog is brilliant! The concept is fantastic and the dishes look scrumptious. Thank you for all your research and supporting world cuisine. Enjoy! Jamie

    • June 17, 2010 9:44 am

      🙂 Thanks Jamie. You know the feeling is mutual. I really enjoyed your post on Rome. Hope you return to MHT frequently.

  7. July 14, 2010 12:00 pm

    Hello, Eric.

    Thanks so much for leaving a comment on my site. But, most of all, thanks for this wonderful around-the-world- culinary blog. As a fellow foodie, I look forward to future posts of yours on the national dishes of countries you highlight.

    I also look forward to linking to posts you put up on the national dishes of African nations, which I hope you do not mind my using them in my “Flags of Africa” posts.


    Four down……………

    …………..fifty more to go.


    • July 14, 2010 12:12 pm

      I am honored to be a small part of your excellent blog. I also plan to use you as a resource if you don’t mind? And yes there are an incredible number of nations in Africa. It can be overwhelming for a food blogger with limited experience in African cuisine. How to get through all the different FuFu recipes etc. What a great challenge! If you come across good recipes for the dishes I have yet to prepare, please send them my way! Glad you are enjoying my posts. 🙂 Peace to you…Eric

  8. Jill permalink
    September 13, 2010 9:13 pm

    Just found your webiste. Love it. I started a similar project (hobby?) a couple years back inspired by Lonely Planets “The Travel Book”. My aim was to learn about each country and then eat its food. The difference is I will eat at a restaurant if there is one in the area, if not, I cook. I have made many of the same dishes you have, poutine, Aussie meat pies,fish and cou-cou and have eaten many of the same dishes at restaurants, like the Colombian plate and ropa vieja. You are only 1 country ahead of me! I look forward to reading more.

    • September 17, 2010 6:45 pm

      Welcome! Thank you for your visit and your comments. I only wish I could actually travel to all of these places as I was cooking them! I guess the mythical “journey by sea” will have to suffice for now.

      Stop by regularly…..:) Eric

  9. Elizabeth Price permalink
    October 19, 2010 6:52 pm

    I have made the saltenas filling so far…so far so good! I’ll let you know how the dough goes…

    • October 19, 2010 8:27 pm

      Saltenas are delicious or delicioso! I hope they are as memorable for you as they were for me…

      I look forward to your update.


  10. Jahmilla Warner permalink
    October 20, 2010 3:54 pm

    have you founded the national food or dish for the U.S. Virgin Islands

  11. October 20, 2010 7:39 pm

    Hi Jahmilla,

    welcome to the global adventure. The national dish of Barbados by my understanding is Fish and Fungi. The two links above are previous postings from both Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda. They are very similar to Fish and Fungi.

    As the US virgin Islands is not a sovereign nation, I am not cooking Fish and Fungi in this challenge. However, my wife is from the Caribbean and I love the food of the islands. I will explore that region more thoroughly at some point in the future. I am especially interested in the migration of food items through colonial empires and from their roots in Africa, South America and elsewhere. The Caribbean is a perfect place to explore the many influences of the people that settled there. I promise I will revisit the US virgin Islands in the future and hopefully have more time to explore the different foods there…

    Thanks for joining us here and stop back often!
    Eric – Myhungrytum

  12. December 1, 2010 6:34 am

    I find this site interesting as I am working on the same project. Only I don’t do the countries alphabetically, I pick one randomly each time. And I don’t limit myself to national dishes, but any dish typical for a country. I’ve done more than 50 countries now, I think 🙂

    Anyway, as a Norwegian girl, I just thought I’d give you a heads up about our national dish, which is not in fact lutefisk, but fårikål. And you should be very happy I told you this before you tried it, because most people I know who actually tried lutefisk hate it, haha. I never tried it myself, and I don’t plan to … ever. Fårikål is “lamb in cabbage”. So easy to make and fairly good. To be served with potatoes.

    • December 1, 2010 8:44 am

      Hi Silje!

      So glad you visited and left a comment. I am going to add a section to my homepage with other Global Cuisine Blogs you may want to check out. Your link will be on there…

      Also thanks for the note on Lutefisk. I have to say, I was not looking forward to that dish. It will not be a hard decision to change it to fårikål. I really appreciate that information. If I am in Norway someday, I will try Lutefisk so I can say that I have, but I also hear it is a tough one…

      Talk to you soon,

  13. Ashish permalink
    December 6, 2010 9:59 am

    this site is really very interesting. I haven’t been through everything but I started with the country of my own. Seems like you have listed Nepal’s name on your site. Thanks a lot for remembering our tiny little country. Anyways, the food that we eat everyday is listed as dal-bhat. It is missing Tarkari. Tarkari is one of the most essential part of our daily meal. tarkari could be curried vegetable/meat. It is in fact the best part of the meal. Now the confusion comes in when we generalize the word tarkari as a part of national dish. In fact, tarkari is not just a dish, it is a common name for thousands of dishes. To tell you the truth, same goes with dal. Dal could be so many different kinds. But if you do want to cook something special try pulau, cauli flower curry, tomato curry, chicken curry, goat curry, (Chik) peas curry, and any kind of dal. This makes a very good meal!! 🙂

    • December 6, 2010 3:44 pm

      Greetings Ashish,

      Thank you very much for helping me form a better understanding of Nepalese cuisine. The list of national dishes is always up for modification especially when I have the input of a person from that country.

      I will certainly modify the list to include Tarkari, especially the cauliflower curry which sounds delicious.

      My email address is If you have a recipe for that or another dish that you like, please include it in an email and I will credit you for the recipe. Cooking the recipes submitted by readers is especially fun and gratifying.

      If you have not already, please add your email to the subscription box on the front page to receive regular email updates when I make a new posting…

      Eric Ackerson – Myhungrytum

  14. March 5, 2011 3:34 pm

    Hi Eric – I was looking for recipes for Kiribati and came across your blog. I have been doing something similar myself (well, I am bit of an amateur, I like food but I am not a trained chef or anything like that). I started in 2002 and I have been cooking from countries of the world in alphabetical order except I pick a country per letter and then every time I get to the bottom of the alphabet, I start again.
    I really like your blog!

    • March 5, 2011 6:30 pm

      Welcome, As with all fellow global food bloggers, you have made the blogroll under the “Cooking The World” category. We joke about the reunion someday so perhaps if it happens you can join us?!

      I happen to be a long time food industry guy, but don’t hold that against me. I do this project out of my love for cooking. I did not love cooking professionally and so now only cook for VIP’s (friends and family).

      You can always reach me at if you have questions or just want to chat….


  15. Diane permalink
    August 4, 2011 3:46 pm

    Eric, I happened to be looking up national dishes, and was led straight to your blog. It turns out you and I have similar goals, that is, to try national dishes from all over the world. I have a family of six and think this is a great, fun way to get my family to experience other cultures right in our own home. Thank you, I’m sure I will continue to enjoy your blog.

  16. iman permalink
    August 18, 2011 8:17 am

    I found this when I looked up Armenian dishes. Looks like I am bookmarking this page.

  17. Roberto Sánchez Revuelta permalink
    September 14, 2011 1:51 pm

    Hi Erick, (My english is so bad). I want to say, that I was discovered your blog, and i think it´s really really really amazing and so good!!!!!!!!!.(great data info about country and food). I´m appasionated of world cuisine, and i was making a list of more to 200 national dishes of every country, and your list helped me so much…Particularly in african dishes…..
    From this moment, I will read your blog. I put in favorites. Saludos desde Caracas, Venezuela.
    Pd: For me Pabellón and Hallaca are the national dishes, The national one is Pabellón, so, I love Hallaca. I have a great list of Venezuelan dishes(in spanish, if you´re interested , notified me…)————–

  18. January 3, 2012 4:10 pm

    I love cooking and exploring dishes from different countries. Recently I thought, I should try cooking ntaional dishes across the globe and I was doing my research and lo and behold!!! You are already completed most 🙂 Congratulations. I will try out the recipes! Great work!


  19. January 3, 2012 4:18 pm

    I love cooking and exploring dishes from different countries. Recently I thought, I should try cooking national dishes across the globe and I was doing my research and lo and behold!!! You have already completed most 🙂 Congratulations. I will try out the recipes! Great work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: