We all love food, but we often underestimate how food can change over time and across cultures. After all, chocolate was mostly used to make a bitter drink with chili peppers in Central America long before somebody had the idea of adding sugar to it. One man’s junk food can also be another man’s medicine. Did you know cough drops are sold as candy in some countries? In other words, an ordinary dish can be taken to a whole new level in different countries.
Enlighten has collected some of the most interesting ways foods are eaten and prepared around the world.
1. Chip Butty
In the West, French fries or chips are a common side dish with many sandwiches. A British sandwich cuts out the middle man by actually making a sandwich out of fries in-between 2 slices of buttered bread. Occasionally, other sauces, like mayo or vinegar, are added in.
2. Trekking burger
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Burgers are the first thing people think of when they think of fast food, but there is a way to get it even faster than through your local drive-thru: buy it in a can! Yes, the trekking burger is literally a burger in a can. According to The Adventure Company, you can cook them by immersing the can in heated water.
3. Spaghetti doughnut
Coming from Pop Pasta, this dish is actually inspired by a Neapolitan dish called spaghetti frittata, in which pasta is fried with egg and cheese. The spaghetti donut is kind of a simplified take on this and is said to be good for picnics.
4. Tamago Gohan
Eggs are a popular breakfast staple around the world and there are many ways to cook them: fried, scrambled, etc. In Japan, however, one popular breakfast meal involves eggs without actually cooking them. It is simply a raw egg served over cooked rice. Generally, it is eaten while swirling the egg across the rice using chopsticks. Some toppings include soy sauce, sesame seeds, and occasionally even roe.
Turkey’s answer to ice cream really takes the cake with its thick, stretchy texture. Unlike western ice cream, it is made with a thickening agent. Because of this, the ice cream sometimes needs to be eaten with a knife or fork; some vendors actually have to cut it up like shawarma when selling it. It’s also harder to melt than its western counterpart; that’s right, Turkey basically created Willy Wonka!
6. Tavuk Göğsü
People like chicken. People like dessert. But you would not think that people would combine the 2. And yet, they have. Behold Tavuk Göğsü! It is a Turkish dessert and it combines rice flour, chicken, cinnamon, and sweetened milk. It is said to taste like a cross between chicken and pudding.
Over the years, raw meat has become a staple of more and more dishes, like for example, steak tartare. This Korean dish is similar in practice, but with a slightly different touch. According to Great British Chefs, the meat is trimmed of fat and marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Similar to steak tartare, it is also traditionally served with a raw egg.
Look, if bread bowls can become a thing, then pumpkin bowls are even better! This Thai dish is made by steaming coconut milk and egg inside a hollowed out pumpkin. Popular with street vendors, the dish is believed to be inspired by the Portuguese.
9. Banana Ketchup
In the Philippines, a lack of tomatoes once made ketchup hard to come by, meaning that the locals needed to step down and get creative. Behold: banana ketchup, also known as banana sauce. It is said to normally be sweeter than its tomato-based condiment. Banana-based sauce is also used as a replacement for pasta sauce in the Philippines as well!
10. Fried Butter
The first thing you might ask is wouldn’t the butter melt when it is being fried? The butter, which is frozen beforehand, is actually fried after being covered in dough, and should be thought of as an inside-out pancake. It’s said to be a staple of state fairs and is proof that people will fry anything.
11. Meat Aspic
If you think that gelatin is always meant to be a dessert, think again! This dish is Jell-O’s savory cousin, made using meat stock or consumme, with meat or eggs, as well as vegetables, serving it as a common filling. This actually used to be a popular dish for parties in the 1970’s in the United States. Its cousin was the Jell-O salad, which often contained fruit inside of a Jell-O mold.
12. Beef Tea
When people think of tea, they usually think of herbs in boiled water, not meat flavoring. This British drink isn’t really the same as beef broth and was a traditional remedy for colds. One brand, Bovril, boasts that it will put the beef in you!
If you can’t decide on something cheesy or with chocolate, Indonesia’s got you covered with this dish! Martabak is essentially a stuffed pancake. While there are many variations of it, one popular choice actually involves white cheese melted on chocolate. It’s the best of both worlds.
If it looks like pasta, seems like pasta, but isn’t pasta, the first thing you’d think it was probably wouldn’t be ice cream. Yet, it is. This German dish uses a potato ricer to give it its pasta-like look. In addition, strawberry sauce is added to give the appearance of tomato sauce. And shortbread is sometimes served (instead of garlic bread).
15. Scallion Ice Cream
Once again, there are so many flavors of ice cream that you just have to give up on deciding what is normal and what isn’t, even if vanilla is secretly everyone’s favorite. However, this treat from China takes the cake because it’s the topping, not the ice-cream itself. This ice cream is served with chopped scallion as its topping. We dare you to try it!
So, there you go. Would you like to try any of these (if you haven’t already)? Are there any dishes you think should be added? Let us know!