A journey through the world’s food cultures 3.0

Today we resumes our journey in search of the tastiest dishes of each country.

Our first stop is in a country situaded on the border between Europe and Asia. We are talking about Turkey. Its cuisine has very ancient origins as it dates back to the era of the Ottoman Empire. Due to its geographical position, Turkey has absorbed influences from many countries such as Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, giving life to a rich and varied cuisine that is not limited only to the famous kebabBörek, for example, is a very tasty savory pie made up of pasta sheets and which can be filled in many ways. There are more than three hundred types of köfte (meatballs) that are usually ate with the typical ayran drink, made with water, salt and sheep yogurt. Let’s not forget that Turkish coffee (türk kahvesi) has been recognized as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by Unesco.

If I say würstel, beer and sauerkraut, where are we? In Germany, of course. Unlike what happens in other places, würstel here is not something simple. There is a whole culture about it. In each region there is a different type that differs in shape, type of meat used, color and size. There are bratwurstweisswurstcurrywurst and knacker. Another undisputed queen is the potato, which is cooked in a thousand ways. We find it in pancakes (the kartoffelpuffer), soups, sautéed with speck and onions, in kartoffelklösse (gnocchi), and even in desserts. In addition to meat-based dishes such as roast sheep from Lüneburg, in the coastal area overlooking the Baltic we also find fish dishes such as shrimp salad, herring and one of the typical Hamburg dishes, pannfisch, that is a pie stuffed with fish, shellfish, potatoes and mustard.

Let’s fly now to the Pacific Ocean and land in Japan. Many of its dishes are now known everywhere, with a corner of this country in every city in the world. The best known are undoubtedly sushisashimiramenudon and soba. Japanese cuisine reflects in all respects the traits of its country’s culture, for which tradition, rituality, balance of flavors and aesthetic research are the basis of each dish. Its uniqueness has led it to be included among the intangible cultural heritage of Unesco. Among the less exported but equally characteristic dishes we find okonomiyaki, a street food classic, and tonkatsu, the Japanese version of the cutlet, made with pork breaded in the typical white bread breading (panka) and then fried.

Ay! Ay! Ay! Como pica, amigos! Mexico has the reputation of bringing the hottest dishes to the table, although in reality they can be considered only moderately spicy when compared, for example, to Indian or Trinidad dishes. This idea, however, derives from the fact that chilli is certainly an essential ingredient of Mexican cuisine, where it is used in many varieties. The other basic elements are black beans (frijoles), corn and rice. Tortillas, which derive from corn flour, are the basis of several dishes such as quesadillas, filled with cheese, vegetables, meat or fish; fajitas, stuffed with chicken, beef and vegetables; and enchiladas, filled with chicken, tomato sauce, cheese, chilli and sour cream.

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