Our favourite food from around the world

Travel with your tastebuds and get ready to season your senses with a seat on our culinary world tour...

global food

by Gabrielle Albert |

From Spanish to Indian, Italian to Chinese, us Brits love food from all over the globe, and we love to incorporate foods from around the world into our diet. Here, we round up some of our favourite dishes from some of the tastiest cuisines to bring you fresh ideas for your tastebuds!

Where: The Basque Country, Spain

Spanish cuisine

What it’s like: This part of Spain is autonomous and has a very strong identity, with its own language, strong cultural traditions and unique food.

Unlike the semi-arid landscape of parts of Spain, this region boasts a different type of natural beauty – from luscious forest-covered mountains to stunning coastlines, enchanting waterfalls and rivers. It is this varied environment which has greatly influenced the two kinds of Basque cuisine – one that centres on the coast and is dominated by fish and seafood and one that is ‘inland’, consisting of fresh and cured meats, vegetables and legumes, and freshwater fish and salt cod.

Famous food: In recent years, the region has received much praise for its cuisine and top chefs. San Sebastian is the place to go to sample the very best of their culinary delights and is home to countless Michelin-starred restaurants, fresh food markets and gourmet shops.

It’s commonplace to see many bars at this resort town serving pintxos. Not to be mistaken for tapas, these small pieces of bread are topped with a variety of ingredients and eaten in a much more casual manner. Other iconic regional classics include chicken basquaise – a dish of Mediterranean chicken, peppers and olives –– and San Sebastian cheesecake.

Basque Chicken recipe

Basque chicken

Serves: 4

Prep and cook time: 50 mins

Cost per person: £1.40

Ingredients:

6-8 small or pearl onions, trimmed and scored with an 'x' on their undersides

Bowl of iced water

4 tbsp olive oil, separated

4 small chicken breasts, boneless with skin, cut into large chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 red pepper, cored, seeded and roughly chopped

1 yellow pepper, cored, seeded and roughly chopped

125ml (41/2 fl oz) dry white wine

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp red chilli flakes

500g (18 oz) tomato passata

250ml (9 fl oz) chicken stock

150g (5 oz) black olives

1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish

Method

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the onions for 20 secs. Drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water.
  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a casserole dish set over a moderate heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then add to the dish, searing until golden-brown, turning once or twice, about 4-6 mins. Remove to a plate.
  1. Drain and peel the onions, keeping them whole. Add the remaining oil to the dish followed by the onions, peppers and a pinch of salt, sautéing until golden, about 6-8 mins.
  1. Deglaze the dish with the wine, letting it bubble and reduce by three-quarters. Add the garlic, cooking and stirring for 2 mins before stirring in the paprika and spices.
  1. Cook for 1 min and then stir in the tomato passata and stock. Bring to the boil before returning the chicken pieces (and any accumulated juices) to the dish.
  1. Return to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the olives and cook uncovered until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 mins. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  1. When ready to serve, transfer to a large dish and garnish with some chopped parsley.

361 cals, 8g fat (3g sat fat), 10g sugar, 1g salt

GF, DF, 2 of 5 a day

San Sebastian cheesecake

San Sebastian cheesecake

Serves: 12

Prep and cook time: 1 hr 20 mins

Cooling time: 4 hrs

Cost per person: £1.27

Ingredients:

1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, for greasing

900g (2lb) cream cheese, at room temperature

375g (13oz) caster sugar

6 large eggs

500ml (18 fl oz) double cream

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

40g (11/2oz) plain flour

2 tbsp icing sugar, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Grease a 25cm (10in) springform cake tin with the butter and then line with a double-layer of greaseproof or parchment paper, making sure it overlaps the rim by at least 5cm (2in) all the way around.
  1. Beat together the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and the sugar has dissolved, about 2 mins.
  1. Beat in the eggs, one by one, beating for 15 secs between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the cream, salt and vanilla extract on a low speed until fully combined.
  1. Sift the flour over the mixture. Cut and fold with a spatula until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the tin.
  1. Bake until set and golden-brown on top with a wobble in the middle (about 1 hour).
  1. Remove the tin to a wire rack, letting it cool completely in the tin. Turn out onto a cake stand and dust with icing sugar before slicing and serving.

Per serving: 583 cals, 43g fat (26g sat fat), 37g sugar, 1g salt

Read more: 7 recipe books to help you master batch cook meals

Where: India

India

What it’s like: India’s staple foods include wheat, rice and pulses – particularly dhal. But every region in this vast country has its own unique cuisine indigenous to that area.

The southern states enjoy a hot and humid climate, providing the perfect conditions for growing ingredients such as tamarind, asafoetida gum, peppercorns, mustard seeds, nutmeg and coconut – which is used as an oil, a cream and for flavouring as well as a drink.

The geographical position of the northern states of India mean many of its dishes having strong Central Asian influences. Think curries with thick, moderately spicy and creamy sauces. And thanks to the fact that such a variety of fruit and vegetables available at all times of the year, they produce a dazzling array of vegetarian dishes, too.

Famous food: Many of the most famous ingredients we associate with typical Indian cuisine aren’t actually native to India. Chilli, for example, was introduced to India by the Portuguese in the 16th Century. It’s also thought that the Dutch brought potatoes to India primarily to feed other Europeans. Now, however, they are boiled, baked, roasted, stuffed and fried in nearly every kitchen in India.

Indian dhal with spinach raita

dahl

Serves: 4 servings

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 45 mins plus 1hr for lentils

Cost per person: £1.19

Ingredients:

For the dhal:

500g (18oz) chana dal (lentils), rinsed until the water runs clear

75ml (21/2 fl oz) vegetable oil

2 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp brown mustard seeds

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife

2in (5cm) fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 cloves garlic, peeled

31/2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground cumin

To serve:

250g (9oz) plain yogurt

100g (31/2oz) baby spinach, washed

1 tbsp lime juice

1 pinch ground cumin

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp black poppy seeds

1 red chilli

1 medium onion, sliced

Method

  1. For the dal: Combine the lentils with 1.8 litres water in a large saucepan, stirring well. Bring to the boil over a moderate heat, skimming away any scum.
  1. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan, cooking until just tender, about 45-60 mins. Add more water if the pan starts to run dry.
  1. When ready, remove from the heat and give the lentils a good whisk to break them down. Set aside to cool.
  1. In the meantime, heat the oil in a saucepan set over a moderate heat until hot. Add the cumin and mustard seeds, frying until fragrant, about 15-25 secs usually.
  1. Stir in the chopped onions, chillies, ginger and a generous pinch of salt cooking and stirring until golden brown, about 7-10 mins.
  1. As the onions cook, purée the garlic with a splash of water in a food processor. Stir the purée into the onions when ready.
  1. Stir in the ground spices and garam masala along with 200ml (7floz) water. Bring to a simmer, cooking and stirring from time to time until slightly thickened and the oil has risen to the surface, about 20-25 mins.
  1. Stir in the cooked lentils and return the dhal to a gentle simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm over a very low heat.

To serve:

  1. Combine the yogurt, spinach, lime juice, ground cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse several times until the spinach is shredded. Turn out into a bowl.
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan set over a moderate heat until hot. Add the poppy seeds and chilli, letting them fry for 15-20 secs. Stir in the onions and a good pinch of salt, sautéing until softened and golden, about 5 mins.
  1. Pour the onion mixture on top of the dhal and serve with the raita on the side.

741 cals, 29g fat (3g sat fat), 13g sugar, 0.5g salt

Gluten Free, 2 of 5 a day

Traditional Indian masala chai tea

Serves: 2

Prep and cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

2 tsp fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds

1 tsp black peppercorns

4 whole cloves

3 cardamom pods

2 star anise

2 small cinnamon sticks

2 Darjeeling or Assam teabags

200ml (7 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk

1-2 tbsp caster sugar

Method

  1. Combine the ginger, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods and star anise in a saucepan. Lightly bruise with a pestle or back of a teaspoon.
  1. Add 400ml (14 fl oz) water and the cinnamon sticks. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 mins.
  1. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the teabags, letting them steep for 5 mins. Discard the bags and stir in the milk.
  1. Return to a simmer over a moderate heat for 3 mins. Stir in the sugar to taste. Ladle into glasses or mugs and serve warm.

79 cals, 2g fat (1g sat fat), 12g sugar, 0.1g salt

Gluten Free

Where: Australia

What it’s like: As a modern nation of large-scale immigration, Australia boasts a unique blend of culinary influences from different cultures around the world. In addition to speciality restaurants, many Australian chefs are renowned worldwide for fusion cuisine which brings together European cooking styles with Asian flavours.

One ingredient that is native to eastern Australia is the macadamia nut, which is eaten raw or included in a variety of dishes, from breads to lamb roasts and cakes.

Then there is the ‘bush tucker’ food – still eaten today by Aboriginal peoples in remote areas of Australia – including the likes of kangaroo, emu, crocodile, witchetty grubs, Quandong, bush tomato and yams.

Many of these native foods have been incorporated into contemporary cuisines and you can occasionally find these ingredients on the menu of restaurants and cafés in the cities.

Famous food: As clichéd as it may sound, it is true that no other nation does barbecues like they do Down Under. Rather than sausages or burgers there is focus on prawns and surf and turf – also enjoyed in the UK but not normally on a barbecue.

As for sweet treats, Lamingtons – vanilla sponge smothered in chocolate icing and dusted with coconut – are popular across both Australia and New Zealand and are so iconic they may pass into folklore!

Australian Lamingtons

Lamington's

For 18 servings

Prep and cook time: 1 hr 15 mins

Cost per person: 35p

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

75g (21/2oz) unsalted butter, melted and at room temperature (with extra for greasing)

6 large eggs, at room temperature

150g (5oz) caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g (6oz) plain flour, sifted

For the icing:

80g (3oz) dark chocolate, chopped

11/2 tbsp unsalted butter

90ml (3 fl oz) whole milk

1 pinch salt

125g (41/2oz) icing sugar, sifted

1 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted

To assemble:

200g (7oz) desiccated coconut

Method

For the sponge:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the base of a 23cm (9in) square springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  1. Thoroughly beat together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric whisk until thick and pale, about 6-9 mins.
  1. Stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt then fold in the flour. Fold in the melted butter to complete the batter.
  1. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin, rapping it gently on a flat surface to help settle it.
  1. Bake until the cake is dry to the touch and starts to pull away from the sides of the tin, about 30 minutes. Remove the tin to a wire rack to cool completely.
  1. Once cool, turn out and trim the top of the sponge flat with a serrated bread knife. Cut the cake into 18 even rectangles; each should be 3.75x7.6cm (11/2inx3in) in dimension.
  1. For the icing: Combine the chocolate, butter, milk and salt in a small heatproof bowl. Set it over a half-filled saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.
  1. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the icing sugar and cocoa powder until the icing is smooth.
  1. To assemble: Place the coconut in a shallow dish. Whisk 1 tbsp boiling water into the chocolate icing.
  1. Working one by one, add the sponge rectangles to the chocolate icing, gently turning to coat with a fork before tossing in the coconut to coat on all sides. Arrange on a wire rack as you complete the remaining Lamingtons. Serve straight away for best results.

269 cals, 15g fat, 10g sat fat,19g sugar, 0.3g salt

Where: South Africa

South Africa

What it’s like: South Africa’s culinary diversity reflects its multicultural society. You'll find many dishes influenced by the indigenous population, along with Dutch, French, Indian and Malaysian – creating a unique fusion of flavours.

The coastline is a rich sources of seafood. Inland, the country’s climatic regions range from semi-desert to subtropical and provide a wide range of fruit, vegetables, and livestock. Meat is a central focus of many South African cuisines, but vegetarians and even vegans are increasingly well-catered for, especially in the cities.

Famous food: Braaibroodjie is the South African version of a grilled cheese sandwich. It is traditionally served at the end of a braai (barbecue), where red meat, such as spiced sausages, chops, kebabs, steaks and pork rashers are put over hot coals. Melktert – a sweet pastry with a custard filling – is a popular choice for dessert and is served in many restaurants and bakeries.

Braai broodjie

Serves: 4

Prep and cook time: 20 mins

Cost per person: £1.05

Ingredients:

1 small baguette, or ciabatta loaf

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

400g (14 oz) mozzarella, sliced

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

2 large vine tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced

1 small bunch basil, leaves picked

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat a charcoal barbecue to a moderately hot temperature; until the coals are white and ash forms.
  1. Split the baguette in half, but leave in one piece. Brush the insides with 2 tbsp olive oil before layering on the mozzarella, red onion and tomato slices. Top with basil leaves and season. Brush the outside with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.
  1. Place the baguette on the barbecue with an ovenproof baking tray on top, weighing it down with baking weights. Cook until lightly charred underneath, about 2-3 mins. Remove the weights and tray and then carefully turn the sandwich over, cooking for a further 1-2 mins until golden brown and lightly charred all over. Cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

491 cals, 32g fat (15.5g sat fat), 6g sugar, 1g salt

Where: The Caribbean

The Caribbean

What it’s like: Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of worldly flavours, with its spice rubs, fragrant marinades and cool chutneys in hand tossed salads, grilled meats and slowly simmered one pots. Food here is often eaten on the go from beach shacks or street vendors, who cook up fresh, homemade bites every day. And thanks to the tropical climate, there’s no shortage of fruits like pineapples, mangoes and plantains. Marinated meat is also a big feature in this cuisine – as is the fresh fish that are so readily available in the surrounding crystal-clear waters.

Famous food: Despite their close proximity, each country within the Caribbean has their own unique dishes and cooking styles – from the iconic Jamaican jerk chicken to Barbados’ flying fish.

Caribbean potato salad with beans

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 40 mins

Cost per portion: 93p

Ingredients:

1kg (35oz) whole small new potatoes

2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 Scotch Bonnet or Habañero chilli, seeded and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tsp mild curry powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1 pinch caster sugar

400g (14oz) tinned red kidney beans, drained

150g (5oz) kale, chard or cabbage, thick stems removed, leaves sliced into strips

1 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes, adding a pinch of salt, then reduce to a simmer for about 12-15 mins. Drain and cool.
  1. Gently fry the onion and chilli in a casserole dish and add a pinch of salt. Cook until soft, about 5 mins.
  1. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 mins, stirring frequently. Stir in the spices and sugar, continuing to cook for 1 min.
  1. Cut the potatoes in half and add them to the dish along with the kidney beans and 250ml (9 fl oz) water. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook until the beans are tender, about 10-12 mins.
  1. Stir in the greens, cover, and cook over a low heat until wilted, about 2 mins. Stir in the lemon or lime juice and some salt and pepper to taste. Serve straight away for best results.

343 cals, 7g fat (1g sat fat), 6g sugar, 0.1g salt

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, 1 of 5 a day

Where: USA

What it’s like: When we think of American food, our thoughts might turn to steak houses, sandwich shops and burger joints. But American cuisine is often difficult to define, given that it was introduced and influenced by immigrants over the early year.

Being such a vast country, dishes can vary greatly depending on the region.

In the north-east you’ll find an abundance of seafood dishes – such as lobster – thanks to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, dishes down South feature heavier flavours including barbecued meat and fried chicken. The Midwest serves as the centre for grain production, so offers much heartier foods such as bread pudding, deep pan pizza and pork tenderloin sandwiches.

Famous food: A staple of American cuisine, mac and cheese is said to have made its way to the United States courtesy of Thomas Jefferson, who, while visiting France, fell in love with the fashionable pasta dishes served there. Jambalaya – a dish of meat, rice and tomatoes – originates from Creole cuisine in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was an attempt by the Colonial Spanish settlers to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Now, this dish has become a firm culinary favourite in this part of the US.

Prawn jambalaya with cherry tomatoes

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 50 mins

Cost per portion: £1.45

Ingredients:

1 large red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 celery stalks, sliced
1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced

3 tbsp olive oil

11/2 tsp paprika

11/2 tsp ground cumin

1 pinch cayenne pepper

11/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

250g (9oz) long-grain white rice, rinsed in several changes of water, drained

800ml (28 floz) chicken stock

450g (16oz) raw prawns, peeled and deveined

150g (5oz) cherry tomatoes, halved

Tabasco sauce, to taste

1 lemon, juiced

1 handful thyme sprigs, torn

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. In a lidded pan, sweat the red onion, garlic, celery, green pepper in olive oil until soft and starting to colour, about 8 mins.
  1. Mix in the paprika and spices, dried herbs, and rice, and cook for a further 3 mins, stirring frequently.
  1. Stir in the stock and bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cover.
  1. Cook for about 25-30 mins until the rice has absorbed the stock and is tender.
  1. Scatter over the prawns and cherry tomatoes, cover, and cook until the prawns are cooked through, about 4-5 mins.
  1. When ready, season to taste with Tabasco, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Stir through some fresh thyme just before serving.

468 cals,10.5g fat (2g sat fat), 6g sugar, 2g salt

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, 1 of 5 a day

“That’s it from your tour guide! Thank you for joining the Yours food world tour. We hope we’ve inspired you take a culinary adventure of your own and try your hand at all of these delicious dishes from the comfort of your kitchen.” Gabby xx

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