Can You Name the Country From Its National Dish?


By: Jonnathan Chadwick

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Brian Jeffery Beggerly

About This Quiz

When you have a vast country with a smorgasbord of cultures, like America, for instance, you can argue dozens of foods as the country's national dish. People in Philadelphia might say the cheesesteak is the country's national dish. Marylanders could say the crabcake takes the crown, New Englanders might say it's the lobster roll, and New Yorkers could say it's the bagel. Those in New Orleans are definitely going with gumbo or jambalaya, and people in Alaska and Hawaii? Well, have you ever tried poi or Eskimo ice cream? 

Needless to say, a national dish isn't a scientific fact. Some countries list a national dish, and others don't, but listed or not, certain foods are religiously associated with certain countries. Those are national dishes. Sushi, pasta, cheeseburgers and crepes are near-synonyms for their respective countries, but not all national dishes are that famous or delicious. Pigeon pie, bat soup, goat water and rotten shark are also national dishes around the world, but just because it's a national dish doesn't mean you're going to enjoy it.

It never hurts to know what national dishes belong to what countries. If you're in Mexico, you might want to skip the lasagna and opt for the tacos. If you're in Japan, the word "takos" means octopus, and you might want to skip the Mexican version. You probably shouldn't visit Cambodia for pizza, and nobody goes to Italy for sushi. If you plan to do any traveling, you should learn the local cuisines. See if you can name the country based on the national dish.

Where should you go if you want to try more than 300 different types of pasta?

Italy lists a few national dishes, but pasta is probably the most popular one. There are so many different types of pasta, and almost every meal in Italy consists of pasta. The traditional dish known as "cacio e pepe" is a simple pasta made with just cheese and pasta and is extremely popular.


In what country will you find the best pad thai on Earth?

Thai food is some of the best on Earth, and the herbs, spices and vegetables native to the region lend way to cuisine that can't accurately be duplicated elsewhere. If you're looking for an intro to Thai food, look no further than the country's most famous national dish, pad thai.


Apple pie is virtually the national dessert of what country?

Not only did Europeans bring apple pie to America in the 17th century, but they also brought the apples needed to make the dessert. The apples native to America were sour and small crab apples, but America claims this dessert as its national dessert, even if it's not an official one.


These tortillas folded around meat and vegetables are the national food of what nation?

These tortilla treats are famous all over the world. Americans are aware that the best tacos in the country are made near the Mexican border, and our neighbor to the south has been perfecting the dish ever since Spaniards arrived in the country.


Do you know where this dish of rice and seafood wrapped in seaweed originated?

Tokyo is home more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city on earth, and it is partly due to the fact that some of the world's best sushi chefs perfect their craft in the city. The country invented sushi in the 1800s.


Can you name the country that invented this melted cheese dish called fondue?

This dish is a cheese lover's dream. It is simply a massive pot of bubbling cheese that people dip bread into and eat. The word "fondue" can mean any melted substance (like chocolate) that people dip food into, but it is the official name of this Swiss national dish. The country has other national dishes as well, including cervelat (a type of sausage) and raclette (a type of hard cheese).


Peking duck was first mentioned as a national dish in 1330 in what country?

Peking duck is a Beijing specialty and is known for its light, thin and crispy skin. You can find it almost everywhere in the country and in every metro area. It can take more than a week to prepare the dish properly.


What country invented these thin pancakes that are filled and folded with sweet or savory fillings?

These thin pancakes are known to be filled with fruits and sweets and drizzled with syrups and sprinkled with sugar, but they can just as easily be made with onions, garlic, salt and pepper. They originated in France, where they are known as crepes and are one of the country's many national dishes, but variations of the dish are made all over the world.


The name of this dish translates to "fettuccine for the Pope," making it the national dish of what country?

According to legend, this classy version of spaghetti carbonara was created for Pope Pius XII when he asked for a special version of the traditional dish. Instead of spaghetti, Fettuccine alla Papalina uses fettuccine and also incorporates prosciutto and Parmesan cheese.


This meat stew with vegetables and spices is known as goulash in what country?

This dish is said to have originated in the medieval ages and is rather popular in Europe, mainly central European countries like Hungary, Czechia, Poland and Austria. Most Americans will recognize the dish as beef stew.


Do you know what European country is known for sauteed reindeer, which some consider a national dish?

Thin slices of reindeer steak are fried in reindeer fat, seasoned and served over a bed of mashed potatoes in this traditional dish. The dish is also popular in Sweden and Norway and can be prepared in several different ways.


Do you know where this fresh and citrusy salad known as tabbouleh was invented?

This fresh salad is full of zest from parsley, mint and lemon and can be prepared with a variety of ingredients like tomato, onion, garlic and even lettuce. It is known all over the Arab world and can be served alone or as a dip.


What country lists this dish of coconut rice, anchovies, peanuts, egg and curry as its national dish?

Nasi lemak is served as a main course at all times of the day in Malaysia, but it mostly serves as the de facto breakfast for the country. The rice is cooked in coconut milk and pandan or banana leaf, which gives it its unique fragrance.


Pickled and seasoned vegetables (aka kimchi) is the national food of what country?

Both North and South Korea list this as a national dish, which is served as a side dish with almost every meal. It consists of salted, seasoned and fermented vegetables and has been made in Korea since the 16th century.


What country does this veal, beef or pork sausage called bratwurst originate from?

Grilled sausage dates back millennia in Europe and bratwurst recipes can be traced back to 14th century Nuremberg. Today's recipes vary all over Germany, but you can find the traditional dish of bratwurst, potatoes and sauerkraut almost everywhere. It is one of the many national dishes in Germany.


Can you name the country that is home to jerk chicken?

Jerk chicken is just the process of marinating or dry-rubbing meat with a spicy seasoning. It is popular in West Indian culture but is said to have originated in Jamaica back in the mid 17th century. The marinade or dry rub can also be used on pork. Another Jamaican national dish is ackee and saltfish.


Pho is the most popular food in which country?

It's near impossible to visit Vietnam without trying a bowl of pho. Whether you're looking for some cheap and dirty street food or a fancy, high-class dining experience, you will find pho on the menu.


You'll probably have this cold and colorful soup called borscht if you visit what country in the summer?

This is the perfect, perfect, perfect summer soup. You can find different variations all over eastern Europe, and borscht is equally popular in Russia and Ukraine. They both list it as a national dish. If you visit Poland, you'll find chlodnik, which is like borscht but lighter in color.


Do you know what country lists these European dumplings known as pierogis as a national dish?

If you're in Asia, you might call this treat a dumpling, but in central and eastern Europe, they are pierogis. Poland lists the treat as a national dish, but they are also popular in places like Ukraine and Hungary.


Instead of ham and cheese, you can visit what country and get this steak and cheese sandwich known as chivito?

This dish takes the basic ham and cheese sandwich and ramps it up to the utmost level. The sandwich is a thin slice of steak layered on mozzarella, tomato, bacon and mayo. It can be made with any toppings you desire and is usually served with fries.


What country invented the doner kebab?

The doner kebab originated in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire, and today this vertical stack of meat cooking rotisserie-style can be found in major cities all over the world. It can be served several different ways, including being folded in pita bread or atop a bed of rice.


Where will you find this meat, seafood and rice dish known as paella?

You will find paella all over the world as its popularity has grown tremendously, but it is known as a traditional Valencian dish. It is not considered the national dish for all of Spain because there is no one single dish that can embody all the cultures of Spain, so instead, they have several dishes.


What American culture invented this dish of diced raw fish called poke?

Yes, Hawaii is part of America, but to ignore Hawaiian culture and not recognize it is a disservice. Poke is a dish of raw fish seasoned with everything from spices to sesame seed oil. Within the past 10 years, it has moved from the islands and become popular in the lower 48 states.


This dish of fried cod and potatoes dates back to the 1850s in what country?

Being that the United Kingdom sits in the middle of the ocean where many sea currents converge, it is home to a slew of fish like cod and haddock. This meal appeared in the country in the mid-1800s and today is known all over the world. It is one of the national dishes of the country, together with chicken tikka masala and jelly with ice cream (among others).


Where will you find this spongy flatbread called injera served with almost every meal?

Ethiopian cuisine revolves around injera, and it's near impossible to eat a meal without it. It is literally used in place of utensils when eating, and it resembles a spongy pita bread. Its preparation resembles that of a French crepe or Indian dosa.


Where will you find this dish of french fries slathered in gravy and cheese curds?

This dish originated in Quebec in the 1950s and is one of those meals that can be eaten at any time of the day. Poutine is so popular in Canada that there are annual celebrations across the country. Its popularity has led to experiments like poutine sandwiches and poutine dumplings.


What country is home to this dish of cold and cured seafood known as ceviche?

This seafood dish originated in Peru but is popular all over Latin America. It's a fresh, citrusy, summer dish made of raw seafood and crisp vegetables like onions and lettuce. It's not always prepared with raw seafood, but should always be prepared with fresh seafood.


What country is known for this messy dish of mud crab smothered in tomato chili sauce?

The two dishes everyone will tell you about when you're in Singapore are chicken rice and chili crab. The chicken rice is a typical dish of chicken and rice, but the chili crab dish isn't really seen outside of the country. It is served with plenty of bread to clean up all the chili sauce.


In what country is fermented shark (aka hakarl) a national dish?

You'll be very hard-pressed to find this delicacy outside of Iceland. This national dish consists of shark left to ferment for several months and can be found all over the country. It is not for the weak-stomached or faint of heart, and it is said to smell like ammonia and taste like urine.


Haggis is illegal in the United States, but what country lists it as a national dish?

How do sheep heart, liver and lungs chopped up and mixed with onion, spice and broth and then wrapped up in stomach lining sound to you? That's the national dish of Scotland. Eating livestock lungs is illegal in the U.S., so you'll have to visit the UK for the real version of this treat.


In what country might you slather this thick, black spread on toast for breakfast, which many think of as the national dish?

Vegemite is a very acquired taste. It is made from leftover brewer's yeast mixed with veggies and spices. The savory spread is religiously used on toast and biscuits at breakfast time in Australia, and you'll surely come across a jar or two if you're ever in the country.


You can eat nasi goreng at any time of the day in what country that lists it as one of its national dishes?

You'll find this dish all over Southeast Asia, but it is the national dish of Indonesia, and you can find it anywhere in the country. It's just fried rice, and a fried egg at its most basic, but is usually served with protein like chicken or shrimp, seasoned with herbs and spices found in the region.


Where will you find these potato pancakes that are usually seasoned with onion and garlic?

These pancakes are just grated potatoes mixed with flour and held together with egg. You might know them as latkes, and they are popular all over Europe, but Latvia lists them as a national dish. They can be sweet or savory, and can even be made with sweet potatoes if desired.


This traditional dish called stamppot that consists of potatoes mashed with vegetables is the national dish of what country?

It's surprising that the simple concept of stamppot hasn't really caught on around the world. The dish is just mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables. Sometimes the veggies are mixed in during the mashing process, sometimes veggies and potatoes are all boiled in the same pot.


In what country will you find black and white pudding as part of a "full breakfast," which many consider a national dish?

Fish n' chips is a national dish of the United Kingdom, but it's just fried fish and french fries. You can get it anywhere in the world. For a truly authentic UK food experience, try a full breakfast in any of the UK countries. A "full Irish," "full Scottish," or simply "full English" breakfast will work.


Do you know what country lists this cheese-filled bread called khachapuri as its national dish?

You may recognize this traditional dish as a cheese boat, and it originated as street food and appetizer in the Eurasian country of Georgia. The cheese boat is known all over the world, and this dish has been spreading to all neighboring soviet countries like Russia and Ukraine.


Where is chicken adobo considered the unofficial national dish of the country?

Philippine adobo is one of the country's most popular dishes and is the country's unofficial national dish. A good adobo comes down to the marinade, and since the Philippines naturally produce coconut, sugar cane and nipa palm vinegar, some tasty marinades can be made.


What South American country is known for this stew of beans and pork called feijoada?

Back in the day, Portugal colonized a lot of lands like Brazil, Macau and Cape Verde, and today feijoada is the national dish in all those countries, but it's not a national dish of Portugal, although that's where it originated. It's a beef, beans and pork stew and the exact recipe varies by region.


In what African country will you find pastilla, a dish that many people call pigeon pie?

The average American wouldn't dream of eating a pigeon, but this dish known as pigeon pie is one of Morocco's most traditional. Chicken or fish can be used as alternatives since pigeon meat isn't the easiest to attain.


Burger and fries are to America as mussels and fries are to __________?

Moules-frites or moules et frites or simply mussels and fries is one of the most popular dishes in Belgium and is considered by many the country's national dish. The mussels can be prepared and seasoned in a variety of ways for this dish.


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