Sunday, 8 February 2015

My Favourite Regional Cuisines


*Source: World Cuisine Recipes

last updated: February 11, 2016

I'm a foodie fan, and food and culture go well together; it is the heart (and stomach) of one's nation. Good food provides warmth and comfort, after a hard day's work. It brings family, friends and people together. Not only does it provide nourishment, and makes us full, the origins of those dishes have a story behind them, as well as cultural and geographical significance. 

My relationship with food has nothing to do with dieting and weighing myself. I mean, I know when my stomach feels full, I can't eat any more and I am always wary of what type of foods I put in my mouth. 

Living in a multicultural city such as London, I am fortunate enough to be exposed to cuisines and dishes from all around the world, - although I am quite critical of the fast food places that serve burgers, fries, fried chicken that get passed around as the only available type of American cuisine being served to customers.  

The best world/cultural cuisine can be best found in areas in or around the town or city that contain migrant and ethnic communities such as Chinatown around the world, Southall in West London, UK. Sure there are Indian and Chinese takeouts and restaurants outside of the central part London, Manchester, Birmingham, New York etc, but if you want the good stuff, you'd have to travel far. 

I love food, and not speaking in terms of being a fatty - which is something I am not. When people say they love food, it's not always about being greedy and putting on weight and stuffing their faces with unhealthy sugary, fatty foods. It's about being open-minded about the different cultures of food they have been exposed to in person, trying them out and enjoying them. Appreciating the effort being put in to cook it, as well as the final end product and enjoying the taste and flavours.

We all eat for different and special occasions, during breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as during snacking. At weddings, ceremonies, in restaurants, food food joints and at home. I pretty much like any type of cuisine, I'm open with it - I'll try anything and if I don't like a particular type of food or dish, then I wouldn't eat it any more. Such as liver, kidney, sheep's blood and animals that I see as pets, I would not eat those. In Peru, they eat Guinea Pigs and whilst it is one of their signature foods, I see them as pets that are meant to be looked after, - and not as something to be devoured. Cheese is a bit of a weird one for me, as I don't eat it unless it is melted on bread or toast, pasta/spaghetti or on pizza or covered with fish or meat. I'm usually not someone who hates a particular type of food when I haven't tried it, i.e. a picky eater.  

With spicy food, I like it when it is not too hot - I don't mind Indian and Mexican food, as long as it doesn't burn my mouth. Although I still end up drinking water or some other beverage to wash it down. 

Food culture transcends race and ethnicity, nationality, religion, culture, history; it acts as a symbol by signifying a particular culture or region for instance, and thus, it's why people have a strong relationship with food, as it ties in with other things outside of the culinary landscape. Like I said before, trying out and eating different cuisines in turn makes you learn and understand their culture a little better. There is no need to travel overseas just to consume Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Jamaican food, when there are restaurants that serve those types of food in or around where you live. 

American, British, Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Spanish, Brazilian, Italian, Portuguese, Tex-Mex I love them all. Well, with Japanese, it's okay. 

By going in with an open mind, try a bit of every dish and by then, you'll figure out what you like and don't like eating. And the foods you enjoy eating, you'll order them again and again. 



American - the cuisine of the United States of America; American cuisine and Chinese cuisine share one thing in common: the image of its food is that of burgers, fries, fried chicken, doughnuts and sweet and sour dishes, egg rolls, noodles, fried rice. But if anyone is open-minded enough to know that American food is so much more than that and has regional dishes from different States and regions. 

Unfortunately, the American food served here in the UK mostly comprises of fast food, and so therefore, because of places like McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, people in general think American food is crap and just your standard fare of fries, burgers, fried chicken. But it's not, and some of its dishes include vegetables such as Collard Greens, sweet potatoes (Yams), corn. I would like to see more restaurants that offer the type of food that is served in the South, mid-west, north east and central of America. 

I'd take regional American food over the usual fried chicken, fries, coleslaw, burgers, any time. 

Cajun and Creole

Clam Chowder


Boston Baked Beans - variety of baked beans sweetened with molasses or maple syrup & flavoured with Salt pork or bacon

Apple Pie

Gumbo

Dirty Rice

source: Johnsonville 

Seafood Boil


Po boy Sandwiches

Jambalaya


Oysters Rockafella

Red Beans and Rice - Louisiana Creole

Soul food 

Black Eyed Peas

Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Okra, Sweet Potatoes



Cobbler

Cobb Salad



Tex-Mex - Texan and Mexican fusion cuisine - burritos, fajitas, quesadilas, tacos, Texas caviar 




Chicken Fried Steak




Can we have more of this type of American food in Britain and around here in London, & less of the Mcdonalds, Burger King and KFCs, pretty please? 

Chinese Cantonese - when people outside of China think of Chinese food, it tends to be of the Cantonese variety from Hong Kong. It is one of the 4 main types of Chinese cooking and is predominately savory that utilizes vegetables, meat, fish, rice and noodles. Cantonese cuisine gets a bad rep, because of dishes such as won ton soup, egg rolls and sweet and sour pork/chicken get more attention and is eaten more often compared to other Cantonese and Chinese dishes. It's flavourful that uses minimal seasoning, the dishes are varied with snacks, rice, meat, fish, noodles that it's more accustomed to my tastes. Cantonese food is more than just sweet and sour, won tons, egg rolls, although I wouldn't touch frogs legs, jellyfish, shark fin soup. 

It is arguably my favourite type of Chinese food, but I also like the other types as well.

Prominent Cantonese dishes include: 

Dim Sum - small portioned dishes that are served during breakfast and lunch time, they range from egg tarts to shrimp and pork dumplings, sticky lotus rice with meat and chicken feet with black beans 




Steamed spare ribs with fermented black beans and chilli


Water spinach with fermented bean curd and chilli 


Ho fun noodles - you can have it fried with Beef, beansprouts, soy sauce and green onions, or with beef, beansprouts in a thick gravy

Roasted and cooked meats - Roast Peking duck, roast pork, crispy pork belly, soy sauce chicken, Orange cuttlefish 



Source: Foodspotting 

Clay pot rice

Steamed Sea Bass 


Broccoli in oyster sauce 

Fried tofu with meat 

Red or Green bean soup 

Milk Tea

Source: Food Spotting

Egg Waffles 

Source: CNN


Lemon Chicken - like the Orange chicken dish that you find in many US Chinese restaurants but with Lemon sauce in place of Orange sauce. This originated in Hong Kong.



Source: City Wok 

Steamed Egg Omelette



Source: Phong Hong Bakes & Cooks 

Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) in Oyster Sauce 



Source: Cafe Nilson 

Fried Hairy Gourd Melon with shrimp and noodles 


Source: Roti N Rice

Lobster Noodles 


Source: Dish Maps 

Turkish

Doner Kebab - I enjoy eating these, especially the chili and garlic sauces that go well together 



Lahmacan - thin flatbread covered with a layer of spiced minced meat, tomato, pepper and onion 


Etil Pilav - rice with pieces of meat 




Iskender Kebab - long strips of lamb cooked in tomato sauce served with rice and pita bread 

Durum - a Turkish burrito of lamb, chicken or beef, it's basically everything you have in a doner kebab - salad, sauce, meat - but in the form of a wrap



Baklava 




Italian

Lasagna and pasta



Source: La Vinoteca Eatery 

Pasta and beans

Ravioli

Pizza

Risotto with lemon and green beans

Cotoletta - breaded veal



Source: Guides Kitchen

Carne Pizzaiola - meat with peppers, tomatoes in olive oil, is served with pasta or rice

Chicken Cacciatore - Chicken with tomatoes, onions and herbs



Source: CBC In The Kitchen

Stuffed calamari in tomato sauce

Panettone 




Korean - first time I tried Korean food was when I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2014; it was nice with flavours that weren't over-powering. I definitely prefer it more than Japanese food, as the flavours, textures and appearance, was and is similar in many ways to Chinese food. Likewise, Kim-chi is similar in taste and texture as Za Choi, which is a type of pickle mustard originating from China. 

Kim-chi

Japchae - noodles that look very much like vermicelli - thin, transparent threads made from sweet potatoes

Gimbap - Korean sushi

Jeon - Pancakes

Galpi - pork or beef ribs 

Bulgogi - beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar, scallions, black pepper and cooked on a grill

Steamed chicken and vegetables with cellophane noodles in Gangjang sauce

Steamed egg omelette 

Brazilian - Whilst my time in Sao Paulo was pretty difficult and not so enjoyable, one of the few highlights was the food. I really liked it - and though it can be too filling for some, who don't like eating too many carbs in beans, rice, there is a wide selection of dishes with a few native desserts as well.

Rice and Beans stew with meat called Feijao 




Cheese Bread



Source: PopSugar 

Chicken Croquettes

BBQ meats



Source: New York Streetfood 

Acaraje - deep fried patty made with black eyed peas, oil, onions, filled with peppers, minced beef, onions, prawns/shrimps

Pastel - similar to Cornish pastries filled with assorted meats


Portuguese


Egg Tarts - almost identical to the Chinese custard egg tarts in appearance but flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla 

Piri Piri chicken 



Source: Tourism Kit 

Caldo Verde 

Folhadas - meat or cheese stuffed pastries

Cod fishcakes 

Steak sandwich 

Alheiras - sausages made with bread and chicken 




Source: Catavino

Caldeirada - fish and seafood stew cooked with tomatoes and herbs

Clams

Salame De Chocolate - dessert in the shape of salami sausage made with chocolate, biscuits and eggs

And in addition to this list, here are other cuisines I am very keen on trying out too:

Columbian

Valluna - pork cutlets/chops in breadcrumbs 

Ajicao - A type of Chicken and corn soup 



Source: Recipes 4 Us UK

Bandeja Paisa - similar to an English fry-up in many respects; grilled steak, fried egg, sausage with avocado and banana chips



Source: Bandeja Tipica Columbiana

Tamales - ground corn steamed or boiled in leaves, can contain chicken, beef, sweetcorn & other vegetables 

Manjar Blanco - type of leche, a dessert spread made with milk and sugar 

Arepa - type of cornmeal bread 

Lechona - roast pig stuffed with rice, peas, onions and spices 

Mondongo - soup made with tripe, broth served with rice, avocado, bananas 

Potatoes with cheese 



Peruvian

Ceviche - seafood soaked in lemon juice with chilies 




Tacu Tacu - beans and rice fried topped with breaded fried steak and onion salsa

Arroz Con Mariscos - seafood rice

Causa - casserole of potatoes and avocado that can include meat or fish and/or hard boiled eggs

Lomo Saltado - Chinese Peruvian fusion dish of stir fried beef, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions with soy sauce served with rice 



Source: Huffington Post

Pollo A La Brasa - Peruvian style roast chicken marinated in pepper, paprika, red peppers, garlic, cumin (and soy sauce) 

Choritos a la Chalaca - steamed mussels with vegetable medley and corn 



Source: Cafe Carmo

Rocoto Relleno - stuffed peppers with meat and melted cheese 



Source: Provecho Peru


Dominican Republic 

Mangu - boiled and mashed plantains with red onions

La Bandera - beans, rice and meat stew



Source: Book of Days Tales 

Tostones - fried plantains

Passion fruit juice

Sanchocho - meat and vegetable broth 

Dulce De Coco - coconut macaroons 

Quipe/Kipe - deep fried bulger rolls filled with meat, beans



Source: NBC Latino

Chenchen - ground corn

Habichuelas - dulce made with beans, sweet potato, sugar and coconut

Pica Pollo/Aroz Con Pollo - Dominican fried chicken



Source: Dominican Heat 

Croquetas - chicken croquettes

Chimichurri - Dominican burgers made with ground beef or pork served on water bread and garnished with lettuce and a Marie Rose type of prawn cocktail sauce called Salsa Rosa



Source: Dominican Cooking 

Asopao De Pollo - similar to a gumbo, contains meat and rice 

Lechon Asado - roast pig 

Pastelon De Platano Maduro - version of English Shepherd's pie, only it is topped with mashed sweet plantains instead of mashed potato



Source: El Fogoncito 

Locrio - type of Paella 

Espaguetis or Spaghetii a la Dominica - Spaghetti Bolognese Dominican- style 




British

Beef Stew and Dumplings 



Shepherd's Pie 


Toad in a Hole 

Source: Tesco

Kedgeree

Source: Good Gobble! 

Cornish Pasties

Source: Good to Know

Apple Pie and Custard 


Bread and Butter Pudding 


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