What do you eat for dinner every night? While the “typical” American meal usually consists of a protein, a starch and a vegetable (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans, anyone?) there really is no “typical” in our country. What people cook often has more to do with their heritage than the fact that they live in one of the 50 states. In my house, we might fire up the grill for burgers, or have a meatloaf night, but we’re more likely to have meatballs and pasta, or chicken cutlets, thanks to my Italian upbringing.
In other countries around the world, more often than not, you won’t find the same variation across the board as you do here. Our cultural melting pot is quite different from people who grow up with the same cuisine as everyone else in their country. We can probably guess what “typical” meals would be served in several countries without much hesitation: Italy, pasta; Poland, kielbasa; Greece, lamb. But what about the others?
Here’s what’s for dinner around the world.
If you were living in Sweden, meatballs would often be a part of your meal (yes, your trips to Ikea have taught you well). They would be served with a cream sauce and lingonberry jam. If you lived in the north part of the country, reindeer would be pretty common, as would other game. Salmon, herring, fresh vegetables, and boiled potatoes are also commonly found in meals across the country.
As in other Latin cuisines, arepas (cornmeal bread, like a pancake, pictured above) are often found on Colombia plates. Empanadas (stuffed pastries that are either filled with meat or something sweet) are popular, as are tostones (twice-fried plantain slices), and tamales. In Colombia, the tamales are wrapped in banana leaves. Sudado de pollo (chicken stew) is a scrumptious option as well.
In Ghana, you and your family would dine on waakye (cooked rice and beans), palm nut soup (pictured above), and kelewele (fried plantains with spices). Some nights, you might enjoy kenkey (fermented corn and cassava dough, usually served with fish and soup), or suya (spicy shish kebab).
In America, it is generally not too difficult to find the delicacies of Austria. Wiener schnitzel (pictured above) has made its way west, as have spätzle (soft egg noodles) and strudel (layered pastry with a sweet filling). But if you were Austrian, you might also enjoy tafelspitz (beef or veal boiled in broth) for dinner, and marillenknödel (apricot pastry with powdered sugar) for dessert.
A good meal in Mongolia might include khorkog (a BBQ dish that is a hot container consisting of meat, hot stones, and water, that is also heated from the exterior), boortsog (fried dough, pictured above), or buuz (steamed meat dumpling). Curry is also popular, and yak butter is used often.
If you’re Norwegian, you’d better like fish, fish and more fish. Because there, it is smoked, grilled, cured, poached, salted and dried. Some fish dishes include rokt laks (smoked salmon), fiskesuppe (fish soup), and sild (pickled herring). Boiled potatoes and vegetables, and krumkraker (a traditional pastry) round out dinner, and gomme (sour cream porridge) is served for dessert.
Curry goat with rice and peas would be an important part of your diet in Jamaica, as would a lot of seafood and tropical fruits. Fried dumplings, ackee fruit and cod, and fried plantains might also be served for dinner, and the meal would finish with some soursop fruit ice cream.