Ackee and guinea pigs and cachupa and oil down and...
March 2, 2009 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Though not usually made official (well, except for Texas*, which designated chili as its official dish in 1977), most countries have a generally acknowledged national dish that represents its history, culture, flora and fauna.**

For Aruba and Curacao: Keshi yena, a stuffed cheese.

Barbados: Cou cou and flying fish.

Bhutan: Ema datsi, a concoction of chiles and cheese.

Brazil: Feijoada, a stew made from black beans and pig parts.

Cape Verde: Cachupa, a stew made from beans and/or corn and meat.

Ecuador: Cuy, aka guinea pig. (Recipe.)

Grenada: Oil down, a stew of salt meat, breadfruit and callaloo.

Jamaica: Ackee and saltfish, ackee fruit cooked with salt cod.

Liberia: Dumboy (according to a 1912 issue of National Geographic).

Myanmar/Burma: Mohinga, fish broth with noodles and spices/aromatics.

Poland: Bigos, a sauerkraut and meat stew. (Recipe and poem.)

Portugal: Bacalhau (salt cod).

Senegal: Ceebu jen, stuffed fish with vegetables.

Sudan and Egypt: Ful medames, a fava bean stew served with pita bread.

Vanuatu: Laplap, a cake made out of pounded taro or yam.

Venezuela: Pabellon Criollo.

* Yes, I know it's not a country. Happy Texas Independence Day.

** The national-dish status of some dishes will undoubtedly be disputed.
posted by mudpuppie (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. This is making me hungry. You had me at "stuffed cheese".
posted by Mister_A at 12:20 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's also a Wikipedia page with an extensive list of national dishes and drinks of different countries and regions.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:22 PM on March 2, 2009

We just had a small "farewell thread" for our late friend and poet, Bill Holm, who used to speak at length about Icelandic "vinarterta" almost as much as Garrison Keillor drones on about "lutefisk". In this case, it's not so much an acknowledged national dish, since it pretty much lost popularity with the general population -- but has kept a symbolic place at the table among descendants of Icelandic immigrants.

I guess that's a long-winded way of asking: Anyone ever try this? Any good? I'm seriously thinking about making a batch.
posted by RavinDave at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2009

I'm of Polish descent but I find their seeming infatuation with cabbage (in all its forms) to be the wall that separates me from my forebears.
posted by tommasz at 1:26 PM on March 2, 2009

That stuffed cheese recipe sounds INCREDIBLE.
posted by pineapple at 1:27 PM on March 2, 2009

In New Mexico, we have an official state cookie. Also, the state question refers to New Mexican cuisine: "Red or Green?"
posted by signalnine at 1:53 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Massachusetts' official state muffin is the corn muffin. I don't like them very much.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:58 PM on March 2, 2009

I've been waiting for years for Zagats to list some restaurant featuring Canadian cuisine to open here in New York because I've so missed it: poutine, pancakes with maple syrup, beaver tail, butter tarts, and Kraft Dinner. Mind you, Pinch and S'Mac has opened in the past few months, widening the public availability of macaroni and cheese to go. Probably close enough to Canadian cuisine not to argue.
posted by A-Train at 2:00 PM on March 2, 2009

Great post, thanks for this.

For my own contribution, here is Wikipedia's take on many national dishes.

Wikipedia lists Korea's national dish as "kimchi," but MeFi already understands that kimchi can be prepared in several different ways. I'd say it was more like béchamel, in that it can go in many different directions from the same basic idea. I may be splitting hairs, here.

TL;DR, it's yummy.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:17 PM on March 2, 2009

I just got off the plane from Warsaw (arrived at 9 am, left at 8 pm from Budapest and back) and let me tel you... Zurek rules among Polish trucker breakfasts.

As for other honorable mentions: Barbados flying fish was the best fish I ever chowed down on, Salt fish and ackee, while dangerous, is sublime, you can buy cuy in Hackensack, NJ (self link!)

Salt cod hold up half the world!
posted by zaelic at 2:30 PM on March 2, 2009

I've been waiting for years for Zagats to list some restaurant featuring Canadian cuisine to open here in New York because I've so missed it: poutine, pancakes with maple syrup, beaver tail...

I'll be happy to let you guys claim poutine, but pancakes and maple syrup are by no means Canadian, no matter what that leaf on your flag is. Beaver tail in some interpretations is universal; to others it is disgusting. Unfortunately my impression of Canadian cuisine is irreparably damaged by the Donair.
posted by TedW at 7:10 PM on March 2, 2009

The wikipedia entry on national dishes for the UK is wrong: the national dish of Britain is the curry.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:49 AM on March 3, 2009

Australia: Thai Food (or perhaps the Meat Pie for the traditionalist)
posted by mary8nne at 5:59 AM on March 3, 2009

Czech: Svíčková - Marinated beef in a sauce and served with knedlíky (dumplings) and of course your favourite beer. Oooooh sooo good.
posted by czechmate at 6:16 AM on March 3, 2009

How odd. I would never have thought of doughnuts or macaroni and cheese among the USA's national dishes.

posted by magstheaxe at 6:20 AM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Amen! Bunnies are much more tender and tasty.
posted by TedW at 7:31 PM on March 4, 2009

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