List of Ethnic Foods by Country

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Most countries have common dishes that are characteristic of the region.
Most countries have common dishes that are characteristic of the region. (Image: Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Eating the same foods on a daily basis may cause you to experience cuisine boredom. Slightly switching up the food you consume by incorporating ethnic dishes into your meals can infuse variety and culture into your eating habits. Countries such as Mexico, Italy, India and Greece have many signature cultural dishes that may satisfy your palette.

Mexico

Mexico is most known for its spicy dishes, sauces and soups such as mole, posole and tamales. Mole, pronounced “molay,” is a chili sauce made with tomatoes, chocolate and several different types of chili peppers that is poured over chicken, beef or pork. Posole, a Mexican soup made with hominy, that has green chiles, cumin and jalapeño pepper as some of its main ingredients. Chicken or pork is sometimes added to this soup. Tamales are bundles of wet dough called masa harina, which are filled with different types of meat, covered in a corn husk and steamed. They are very common in Mexico, especially as a staple dish for holidays and birthdays.

Italy

Although we easily recognize pizza and spaghetti as common Italian cuisine, this country has many other signature ethnic dishes. Eggplant parmesan, a dish included on many American restaurant menus, consists of lightly breaded eggplant that is sauteed and smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella or parmesan cheese. Gnocchi is potato, flour and egg mixed and made into small dumplings. The dumplings are covered with various types of sauces such as tomato and basil or Alfredo, a thick cream- and butter-based sauce.

India

India, the world’s second most-populous country, boasts many robust, savory dishes characterized by spices, such as curry and cumin. Three of its most common dishes are tandoori chicken, chicken tikka and malai kofta. Tandoori chicken consists of a whole chicken marinated in salt, garlic paste, tandoori masala and yogurt. Indians cook it in a special tandoor oven --from which the dish derives its name -- until the chicken is tender and golden brown. Chicken tikka, one of India’s most popular dishes, features pieces of chicken covered in a heavily spiced cream gravy. It is usually served with rice and a side of naan, Indian flat bread. Malai kofta is a vegetarian dish made with potatoes, various vegetables and paneer, an Indian cheese. The mixed ingredients are shaped into balls, fried and added to a spicy gravy made with tomatoes, onions and masala.

Greece

Greek food offers many dishes infused with ingredients and flavors of the Mediterranean. Spinach pie, called spanokopita in Greek, is a mixture of spinach and feta cheese encased in phyllo, paper-thin sheets of flaky dough. If you like lasagna, you might also like pastisio, which consists of noodles, ground lamb, tomato sauce and cheese layered together and spiced with nutmeg. Greece also offers a variety of ethnic appetizers including, tzatziki, a blend of Greek yogurt, cucumbers and spices and skordalia, a dip made with pureed mashed potatoes and crushed garlic.

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