Iconic Dishes from around the World

From a bowl of ramen in Japan to jerk spiced chicken, a popular street food choice in Jamaica, every country has a favourite dish that has come to form part of the nation’s identity over the years. I’ve rounded up 14 of the most drool-worthy national dishes from around the world

Braised Beef Noodle soup


Every nook and corner of Taiwan is dotted with tiny eateries serving this very moreish dish made of braised beef brisket, vegetables, and noodles cooked in beef broth. Once steaming hot and ready to serve, it is finished with a good helping of chilli oil and garlic for added flavour. Braised beef noodle soup is also said to be so popular that Taipei, the capital of Taiwan holds an annual beef noodle soup festival in its honour at which chefs and restaurants compete for the title of the ‘Best Beef Noodles In Taiwan’.



A rustic dish made with any kind of meat from pork to rabbit or venison and spicy Polish sausage, bigos is commonly known as ‘hunter’s stew’. It is traditionally stewed in a pan over open fire with sauerkraut and fresh shredded cabbage.


United States of America

Quintessentially American, the hamburger is a dish that is widely-known and loved across the continent. This simple sandwich of a succulent ground beef patty between two pieces of bun today, has multiple variations from one end of the country to the other, the most common of which features cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and ketchup. 



Consumed by the rich and poor alike, the ubiquitous Khichdi is considered the national dish of India with every state across the nation dishing out its own version. The meal made with a base of rice and dal (lentils) is pepped up with aromats or a tadka and is at times cooked with vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, peas or potato. Despite it being deemed as a meal for the sick and ailing, khichdi continues to be a much-loved comfort food.


Saudi Arabia

A mixed meat and rice dish, kabsa is prepared in various ways and each preparation has its own uniqueness. Whole spices such as pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, saffron, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg give this dish its very distinct taste. A final garnish of almonds, pine nuts, onions and raisins elevates the flavours and visual appeal of this delicacy.



Syria’s national dish of minced beef, burghul (bruised grain) and seasonings, kibbeh is a versatile snack or appetiser and a core component of mezzes. The best version of kibbeh is the torpedo-shaped fried croquette stuffed with minced beef or lamb. Other varieties of kibbeh may be shaped into balls or patties and baked or cooked in broth. 



Kimchi, a spicy and fermented dish more so a condiment, is very popular in Korea. Made with cabbage, kimchi gets its spicy kick from a paste of red chilli powder, garlic, ginger, red pepper, sugar and its tangy flavour from fish sauce. Kimchi is so loved that every November as a tradition Koreans prep the brine for its fermentation. If this obsession is not evidence enough, instead of saying “cheese” when taking a picture, Koreans say “kimchi.”



A recipe that is handed down from generation to generation, moussaka is a hearty dish composed of several layers of meat and eggplant and is present at most dinner tables in Greece. A bottom layer of sliced eggplant is sautéed in olive oil and topped with a layer of ground lamb or beef lightly cooked with chopped or puréed tomatoes and is finally topped with a bechamel sauce. 

Nasi Lemak


Nasi Lemak, a rice based dish cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaf has a creamy texture and is usually served with chicken or beef curry. First consumed as a farmer’s meal, this dish is topped with multiple garnishes that include fried peanuts, sliced cucumber, wedges of hard boiled egg and sambal. Throughout the years the recipe has been improvised by many to suit taste buds.

Pad Thai


Pad Thai, a popular version of rice noodles is relished across Thailand for its salty, sweet, spicy and bitter flavours. The dish is usually prepared with stir fried eggs, tofu, tamarind paste, fish sauce, garlic and palm sugar. It is garnished with red chili pepper, lime wedges, spring onions and topped with a sprinkling of peanuts. Popularising the dish was one of several measures taken by Thai authorities to modernize and westernize their country.



An exotic Valencian dish of meat, seafood and vegetables, paella has always held a place of honour in Spanish homes for centuries. Cooked in a special pan over an open fire, saffron is an integral part of the dish. Socarrat, the caramelized and toasted bottom crust is the key for a perfect paella. It is served with a good Spanish wine, crusty baguette and a light salad. 



The Russian version of dumplings, pelmenis are little pasta pockets filled with succulent minced beef, pork or lamb. The meat is seasoned with aromats and various spices like pepper, onions and garlic. Pelmenis are best served with sour cream and dill. It is tradition to serve these dumplings for guests in a single large bowl to symbolize the unity of everyone at the table.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding


Regarded as a traditional British dish, no Sunday roast in Britain is complete without the roast beef and yorkshire pudding served with lashings of gravy. The best cut for making the perfect roast beef is the loin. The history of this dish however, is shrouded in mystery and its origins are virtually unknown. 

Ragu alla Bolognese


The classic ragu alla bolognese, a delightful slow-cooked meat sauce from Bologna served with tagliolini pasta is the traditional dish of Italy. The rich and mouth-watering sauce is prepared with the sauteing and braising of meat (pork or beef) onions, carrots, pancetta (Italian bacon) and butter.