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15 Cultures With the Best Food on Earth

It’s incredible how different cultures around the globe curated such unique and beautiful cuisines. They devised other preparation methods, cooking techniques, and flavor combinations that define the culture’s culinary traditions. From the coziness of Italian cuisine to the vibrancy of Mexican dishes to the elegance of French food, each culture has inspiring elements that excite its culinary offerings. Below are ten of the best cuisines from around the world that every foodie needs to try.

1. Italian

Woman eating Carbonara
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For many, Italian food is the definition of comfort food. Italian cuisine is all about onions, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs, resulting in rich and warm flavors that always hit the spot. And, of course, pasta is a quintessential part of Italian food, from lasagna to carbonara to gnocchi. That doesn’t even cover the many brilliant sauces like pesto, marinara, bolognese, alfredo, ragu, and more.

2. Japanese

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Japanese food has a certain aura of elegance and finesse, only using the highest quality ingredients and advanced techniques. Foods like sushi, udon, ramen, tempura, teppanyaki, and takoyaki are unique items from Japan. Japanese cuisine is sublime, from the fresh, raw fish to the carefully rolled sushi to the filling soups layered with flavors.

3. Indian

Indian food
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When it comes to flavor, Indian cuisine reigns supreme. Indian dishes are simultaneously flavorful and cozy, with bold spices and decadent textures that excite your taste buds and warm your belly. Daring curries, delicious nann, soft paneer, and crispy onion bhajis are just a few of the best foods from India that everyone needs to try.

4. Spanish

Pulpo a la gallega
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Spain is the land of tapas, so it had to make the list. Some of the most enticing and tasty tapas include patatas bravas, pulpo a la gallega, pintxoz, and cazuelas. But their big dishes are just as flavorful and vibrant, like paella and gazpacho. Not only do Spanish dishes offer vivid and zesty flavors, but they’re also visually stunning, with bright colors and diverse ingredients.

5. Korean

Korean Bibimbap
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Korean food is definitely in a league of its own with some of the most loved foods in the world. We can thank Korean cuisine for irresistible foods like kimchi, bulgogi beef, bibimbap, and japchae, all bursting with savory and complex flavors. They use various techniques, such as fermentation, to create unique and compelling flavor profiles that stand out.

6. Thai

Pad thai
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Thai food is another Asian cuisine that packs a punch and keeps you returning for more. They use a brilliant combination of earthy herbs, rich proteins, and umami sauces to create sensational dishes like pad thai, tom kha gai, tom yum goong, khao soi, and various bold curries. Many of these dishes balance sweet, savory, and spicy, making every bite a delight.

7. Cajun

Gumbo
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Cajun food is all about zesty flavors and spicy ingredients. They don’t hold back in seasoning and have perfected the art of seafood. Some of the best Cajun dishes include gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, seafood boils, boudin sausage, corn choux, and even meals made with alligator! Cajun food puts the pedal to the metal in the seasoning department, using striking spices like cayenne, black pepper, garlic, chile, and cumin, to name a few.

8. French

Beef Bourguignon
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Like Japanese food, French food requires a lot of finesse and thoughtfulness. French dishes are executed with advanced kitchen techniques, like sous vide, flambé, and poaching, which takes a skilled hand. Beloved French dishes include croque monsieur, beef bourguignon, chicken confit, coq au vin, dacquoise, crepes, ratatouille, and tartare.

9. Chinese

Homemade Fried Crab Rangoon Wontons with Dipping Sauce
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Of all the incredible Asian cuisines, Chinese food is likely the coziest, with warm, meaty flavors and indulgent dishes. Foods like chow mein, lo mein, Peking duck, wonton soup, kung pao chicken, mapo tofu, and crab rangoons are the ultimate comfort items when you need something cozy and delicious.

10. Mexican

Burritos
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Mexican cuisine is impressive because there are so many diverse dishes that utilize the same ingredients. The beauty of Mexican food is in its genius simplicity. Mexican dishes can also be highly customizable, such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tamales, chilquiles, and guacamole.

11. Greek

Greek salad
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Greek cuisine is a treasure trove of flavors, using fresh ingredients like olive oil, vegetables, grains, fish, and meat. Dishes such as moussaka, souvlaki, tzatziki, and spanakopita showcase the Mediterranean diet’s healthful and flavorful essence. Greek salads with feta cheese and Kalamata olives are a refreshing treat, while sweet baklava provides a delectable dessert.

12. Brazilian

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Brazilian food is a vibrant amalgamation of indigenous, African, and Portuguese influences, resulting in a diverse and flavorful cuisine. The national dish, feijoada, is a hearty black beans and pork stew. Brazil is also famous for its churrasco, a type of barbecue where different cuts of meat are grilled to perfection. Other notable dishes include moqueca (a flavorful fish stew), pão de queijo (cheese bread), and acarajé (a street food made from black-eyed peas). The cuisine often features tropical fruits and ingredients like cassava, making it unique and delicious.

13. Peruvian

Peruvian Ceviche
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Peruvian cuisine is a fusion of indigenous, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and African culinary traditions, creating a uniquely diverse and flavorful cuisine. Ceviche, made with fresh seafood, lime juice, and spices, is a national favorite. Other notable dishes include lomo saltado (stir-fried beef) and aji de gallina (creamy chicken), and they use native ingredients like quinoa and potatoes in innovative ways.

14. Turkish

Turkish Pide Food
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Turkish cuisine is a rich fusion of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and Balkan cuisines. Famous for dishes like kebabs, mezes, and baklava, Turkish food is both diverse and intensely flavorful. Doner kebabs, various types of borek (filled pastries), and the sweet delight of Turkish delight (lokum) are just a few of the culinary treasures in Turkey.

15. Vietnamese

Girl eating noodles
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Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its use of fresh herbs, its balance of sweet, sour, salty, and hot flavors, and its overall lightness and emphasis on vegetables. Pho, a fragrant noodle soup, is perhaps the most famous dish, but other delights like spring rolls (both fresh and fried), bánh mì (a unique Vietnamese sandwich), and cao lầu (a regional noodle dish) showcases the range and depth of Vietnamese cooking.

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Traveling is about finding the best local dishes and knowing which foods to avoid for a safe and healthy trip. Our article, “15 Foods to Avoid When Traveling,” sheds light on common culinary pitfalls travelers often encounter. From questionable street food to certain raw items, we guide you through the types of foods that might be best left off your plate, helping you enjoy your journey without any unwelcome food-related setbacks.

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Balanced Diet
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Older Woman
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