One of the joys of life is tasting dishes from different countries, and while every cuisine is different in terms of ingredient combinations, spices, and methods of preparation – all of them have something in common. There are certain foods that are universal and can be found all over the world, but everyone cooks them differently, infusing them with various flavours and spices. Let’s take a look at universal foods that you can find in almost every culture.
Rice is a staple in Asian and African cuisines, but these days you’d be hard-pressed to find a cuisine that doesn’t incorporate rice dishes. No matter what country you visit you will always be able to find rice in the supermarket and there’s usually a dish with rice in most countries. China has popularised stir-fried rice, Japan is known for sushi, Indian cuisine uses rice as a base for curry dishes and so on. We use it in soups, stews, risottos and even as a dessert with rice pudding.
There are many kinds of beans and a lot of countries tend to prefer a certain kind of bean, usually one that can be grown locally. Beans are an integral part of many cuisines all over the world and a good source of plant protein. Some like them in soups and stews, others serve them with rice and veggies, brits love beans on toast for breakfast and green bean casseroles have become universal at this point.
Potatoes are so versatile. There are many kinds that vary in sizes and colour, and while they’re generally seen as a savoury food, we all know and love sweet potatoes too. They’re popular all over the world and there are too many ways of cooking them to count. Can you even pick a favourite kind of potato dish when there’s mashed potato and fries, and hash browns and baked potatoes and roasted potatoes, etc?
The humble corn started out in South America but has since taken over the world. And while you might immediately think of canned sweet corn or corn on the cob, let us remind you that corn is a huge part of breakfast. That’s right, you like cornflakes, don’t you? And that thing that makes pizza all crunchy? Yeah, that’s cornmeal in the crust. It’s good in stir-fries, salads, soups and it’s widely used in many cuisines.
Listen, we know most people don’t think much of lettuce, but you can’t deny that every culture has a whole bunch of salads that use it as the base. But even if you’re not a fan of salads you can’t deny that it adds a nice crunch and a hint of freshness in wraps, burgers and sandwiches.
Cities are generally built around water, be it the ocean, the sea or a river, and water means fish. So almost every culture out there has fish dishes in their cuisine. Fish is great because not only is it a good source of lean protein, but it also is full of good healthy fats. And of course, every cuisine has its own way of cooking fish, be it frying, steaming, boiling or just marinating it and eating it raw.
Is there anything better than chicken? Chicken is the most popular food all over the world. No matter where you are in the world, chicken is everyone’s safe and delicious option. Unless you’re vegetarian of course. And chickens obviously come with eggs, everyone’s favourite breakfast food, but also a key ingredient in a lot of baked goods and desserts.