TheDailyMeal.com has compiled a list of 150 of the world’s most iconic foods. When I looked it up, I was thinking I’d make it one of those games we play with lists – you know, I’ve read x number of the books on this list or seen x number of these movies, and I bet it’s more than you have read or seen.
I started with North America because it’s the region I know best. The U.S. dishes were so predictable they were boring: Philly cheesesteaks, BBQ, chicken-fried steak, hamburgers, hotdogs and apple pie. What about the great iconic dishes of New Orleans like jambalaya and gumbo? New England’s great seafood dishes – please tell me how clam chowder didn’t make that list! New Mexico’s green chile stew, Dungeness crab from the Pacific Northwest, smoked fish dip from Florida … As you can see, regional cuisine is one of my great passions.
Many of the dishes from elsewhere in North America were predictable – poutine in Quebec, conch in the Bahamas, ropa vieja in Cuba, ackee and saltfish in Jamaica. But I was surprised at how many I not only haven’t tasted but haven’t even heard of – cou-cou and flying fish in Barbados, butter tarts in Canada, pupusas in El Salvador, doubles in Trinidad & Tobago.
I quickly gave up on checking off that list. But if you’d like to see how well you fare with foods of the world, here’s the list.