8 Delicious International Cuisines You're Probably Missing Out On
One of the greatest things about American food is that so much of it comes from or is influenced by other cuisines. All of the international food that is so readily available in the United States really proves that "diversity is the spice of life." It brings depth and flavor to our country in its own right, but also plays an integral role in the elusive thing called "American cuisine."
Certain international cuisines, however, haven't yet hit big in the United States. While we've seen a recent proliferation of certain cuisines that weren't always so popular -- like Filipino and Peruvian food -- some cuisines still haven't caught on.
Here are eight international cuisines that we're missing out on (and hope catch on quickly!):
Laotian food is kind of a cross between Vietnamese and Thai, but has its own, unique sensibility. Common flavors include lime, lemongrass, ginger and galangal. Popular dishes include spicy curry, laap (or laab) or a whole grilled fish. Sticky rice is served with many meals, and is meant to be eaten with your hands. Crunchy coconut rice (Nam-Khao) from New York-based restaurant Khe-yo is pictured above.
Icelandic food is seafood-heavy -- cod, haddock, herring, skate, salmon and monkfish are very common. It's not all seafood all the time, however. Various meats, like lamb and sheep's head -- yes, the whole head -- are popular, as is skyr, a rich, yogurt-like cheese that is just starting to make a splash in the United States. They also eat sea puffin, or lundi, in Iceland.
Sri Lankan cuisine made foodie headlines last year when the New York Times wrote up a Sri Lankan restaurant in New Jersey and Serious Eats wrote a guide for Sri Lankan food in Staten Island. The cuisine hasn't hit big yet, however, in the rest of the country. Sri Lankan food has aspects of both Northern and Southern India. Fish curries with rice are a mainstay, as are other kinds of curry, like jackfruit and daal.
While you may be familiar with Pisco Sours, you may not have heard about other Chilean food, because it's pretty hard to find in the United States. Thanks to a long coastline, seafood, and particularly shellfish, is popular. Stews are common, be it Chupe, a creamy stew thickened with milk or Caldillo de Congrio, an eel stew. You'll also typically find roasted or barbecued meats or seafood served alongside rice or potatoes. For a quick bite, empanadas and hot dogs are the go-to.
One of the most popular Nigerian dishes is a spicy, tomato-based soup that might contain meats -- like goat, chicken or beef -- and/or seafood, like tilapia or snapper. Grilled meats and seafood served alongside rice is also popular. A goat stew from Brooklyn-based restaurant Buka is pictured above.
Robert George Young via Getty Images
Macanese cuisine hails from Macau, the former Portuguese colony in China. Portuguese and Chinese flavors mix with Southeast Asian flavors for a unique and sadly underrepresented cuisine. Pork chop buns are common snacks, seafood with rice a common meal, and apparently the Portugese egg tart is Macau's "most famous food."
Paul Poplis via Getty Images
Hungarian food isn't unheard of in the United states -- a handful of restaurants can be found in the country's major cities -- but the cuisine hasn't permeated the U.S. like others have. Comfort food is the name of the game, with dishes like goulash and stuffed cabbage taking center stage. The next most important part of Hungarian food are the pastries, which range from flaky and fried to layered and chocolaty.
Krzysztof Dydynski via Getty Images
Bolivian food may not be on many people's radar, but that is bound to change now that Noma co-founder Claus Meyer has opened a restaurant in the country. Meyer opened Gusto in the Spring of 2013 in La Paz, Boliva, (and it has the "world's best new restaurant" written all over it). While Bolivia might seem like an unlikely choice, the country boasts one of the most diverse eco-systems in the world, with a huge range of vegetables, fruits and spices. Bolivia is home to 1,200 varieties of potatoes, which makes it a staple food across the country. Stews are also popular, like a creamy peanut-based soup called Soup de Mani.