Asian cuisine is rich, spicy and a banquet of delights featuring the gastronomic cultures of countries from India to China and from Singapore to Japan. Asian cuisine is known for its distinctive flavors and signature cooking techniques. Dishes such as spicy Indian Curry, Japanese Shabu Shabu, Korean Bibimbap, Chinese Dim Sum, Thai Spring Rolls, and Singapore Hainanese chicken showcase the diversity and intricacy of Asian cuisine. Discover how easy it is to create dishes in your own kitchen and the joy of eating Asian food can be experienced regularly rather than as an occasional treat.
African cuisine has played a large influence both directly and indirectly among many countries throughout the world. The Mediterranean rim countries of Northern Africa have spread their influence with such foods as couscous and succulent lamb dishes. Curry and rice dishes that were brought to Africa long ago from India and Arabic countries were further spread to the Americas during colonial times.
In South Africa there are myriad indigenous delicacies such as biltong (dried, salted meat), bobotie (a much-improved version of Shepherd’s pie) and boerewors (hand-made farm sausages, grilled on an open flame).
Central Africa covers a large portion of the continent, from eastern Somalia to western Senegal to northern Mali and the southern Congo. Grains of paradise, sorghum, pilau spice, egusi and groundnuts (peanuts) are common ingredients used in many Central African dishes.
Each country and region throughout Africa have distinct styles of cuisines that are largely based on long historical traditions. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lamb, goat, rice, root vegetables, chile peppers, and a huge amount of spices are quite common in most parts.
Caribbean cuisine has been influenced by the cultures of the world, but each island adds its own special flavor and cooking technique. Jamaica is famous for jerk chicken and pork, and you’ll find jerk all over the island. Barbados is known for its “flying fish,” while Trinidad and Tobago is famed for its cascadura fish and crab. Pasteles are wrapped green banana stuffed meat pastries, traditionally served at Christmas time in Puerto Rico. If you like fried chicken, try Chicharrones de Pollo, the Dominican version of fried chicken.
Latin American cuisine has become very popular with Nuevo Latino cuisine as one example of the fusion of traditional Latin flavors with global food trends.
Empanadas probably came to South America with the Spaniards, but they quickly took on their own distinctive style and flavor in the New World. Staple dishes such as arepas (cornbread), tamales, various pasteles (casseroles or savory tarts) are made with corn a key ingredient in Latin American cooking. Peppers (Ajis) are the most important seasoning ingredient in Latin American cooking. There are both sweet and hot varieties, and they are used in many creative ways, like in the colorful marinades for ceviche. Latin American cuisine makes great use of the incredible assortment of tropical fruits including coconut, cherimoya, mango, guava, pineapple, papaya and passion fruit. If you have not explored them already, new or old, don’t miss out on culinary experiences like the wonderful potato soup ajiaco and the incredible meat orgy of a meal called bandeja paisa from Colombia or chimichurri sauce from Argentina.
European cuisine has many regional similarities especially in adjacent countries. But when you’re comparing fruit pastries, dried sausages, cheeses, or potato dishes, you’ll find that each European country has a unique culinary signature.
France and Italy are the two giants in European gastronomy. Italian cuisine brings us pasta, in its limitless forms, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, risotto and polenta, pizza, the divine dried ham, prosciutto, and let us not forget gelato, its famous ice cream!
In France you’ll also find a tremendous variety in local cuisine, from dairy-rich Norman cooking to the garlic-infused, African-influenced Provencal dishes, and from the alpine region near the Swiss border and Germanic Alsace come countless classics.
Spain is perhaps best known for olives and olive oils, cheeses, and tapas, the tiny dishes of delight served with aperitifs. Paella is a seafood or meat and rice stew with accents of saffron and olive oil.
Portugal offers a luscious variety of foods, including its well-known bacalhau, dried and salted cod. Moorish, African, and Spanish influences have combined over the centuries into a wonderful mix of flavors.
Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus are all known for their versions of tapas or meze a large assortment of small savory dishes to begin the meal. Their mastery cooking lamb, beef, and seafood are a meat lovers delight. The extensive use of vegetables, cheeses, seeds and nuts, makes this cuisine is a pleasure for vegetarians as well. Maltese dishes blend Mediterranean and African flavors: Try patizzi, a vegetarian filled pastry, or the fish and vegetable pie, lampuki.
Far from the stereotypical picture of cuisine in the USA consisting solely of fast food, the variety of immigrant populations, ingredients and regions has led to an exciting and diverse cuisine.
New England cuisine is based upon the wonderful seafoods found in abundance on the coast while firm favorites are clam chowder, Boston baked beans and lobster thermidor. Many dishes are typified by the use of dairy products and slow cooking methods.
In the Midwest food is based on uncomplicated dishes such as pot roasts, sausages, ribs and, of course, the BBQ. In many parts of the Midwest there are also strong Polish and German influences on the cuisine.
Cajun cooking can be found in the area known as the Acadian triangle, ranging from West Texas to the Mississippi and diners can sample delicious typical dishes such as Jambalaya. Creole, originating from the area in and around Louisiana and the river plantations, offers delights such as delicious gumbo, red beans and rice to name just two among a wide range of choices.
Although there is often an overlap in dishes, the main difference between Cajun and Creole cooking lies in style, Cajun is based on rustic French cooking while Creole is derived from more classic French cuisine.
Texmex is found all over the States but originates in those states closest to the border with Mexico. The dishes to be enjoyed in this style of cooking are enchiladas, burritos and chilli con carne.
Native American cuisine uses corn in many of its dishes and there are delicious offerings such as succotash and pone as well as plank grilled salmon.
The Pacific coast is noted for its fresh cuisine from the fertile valleys to the ocean’s and rivers there is no shortage of fresh ingredients available in all seasons. Vegetables, fruits, and berries from the Northwest region’s vast agricultural areas, its great wealth of distinctive seafood, and its vital wines, all play a part in the cuisine. The region is also an active part of the food culture of the Pacific Rim and looks to Asia for many culinary influences. The abundance of rain in the forests of the northwest make ideal environments for the growth of wild mushrooms like morels, chanterelles, matsutakes, boletus and hedgehog.