Traditional Food Around The World

Food is one of the great expressions of cultures. At the same time, discovering and trying traditional food around the world is one of the best things about travelling. It let’s you dive right into a culture and enjoy a profound aspect of a country’s history, circumstances as well as everyday life. Oftentimes, typical dishes have a long history and the composition as well as each ingredient can almost be a little summary of the country’s geographic, political and socio-economic background. A very delicious way of learning about cultures!

What is traditional food?

Traditional foods are typical ingredients or whole dishes that people passed down generation by generation. They can also be defined by their specific composition of ingredients or a method of producing the distinct meal. These foods can have very local origins or might be regional specialties or even national dishes. Of course, they can even span across continents or other huge areas that formerly belonged to a bygone empire or share cultural aspects.

While people originally produced or prepared traditional foods and drinks at home by hand, many of them may be available in supermarkets today. Although this may rather hold true for industrialized countries. In rural or remote regions, locals still often prepare and consume traditional dishes  like decades or even centuries ago. Their distinct preparation methods are part of the folklore of a country or a region.

A wide range of different traditional foods – and common patterns!

Of course, traditional food comes in all sizes, shapes, colors and for various purposes. It ranges from typical starters, main dishes or desserts to local snacks and street food. It could be special doughs as base for several dishes or distinct sauces and gravies that refine local meals.

Many factors affect the development of different traditional foods. Among these are location, climate and agricultural habits which influence the availability of raw materials. For instance, regions at higher altitude, have different vegetation compared to lower regions. This again resulted – more so in the past than today – in the cultivation of completely different fruits and vegetables. The climate factor also results in specific traditional dishes for every season – spring, summer, fall and winter. These often contain either seasonal ingredients or those that we associate with certain weather conditions or even festivals.

Countries with access to the sea may employ a lot more fish and sea food in their traditional food. In contrast, land-locked regions may rely more on meat from different live stock. Even religious beliefs have had a great impact on traditional ingredients or processing methods, especially with regards to meat.

Some cultures have generally lighter cuisines like many countries in Asia. Whereas others are hearty and greasier like in Central Europe. Also, the use of animal products and especially meat varies greatly from country to country. Places like India are rather vegan- and vegetarian-friendly with a huge range of meals that traditionally come without meat, dairy or other animal products. Other cuisines, like many in South America, rather center on meats.

Fusion food is not a new phenomenon

Similar concepts of foods and dishes have evolved in history in many countries across the globe. Many were invented simultaneously in different cultures as similar raw materials were available and processing methods seemed obvious. Just think of dumplings, pasta, bread, wraps, meat on skewers, flatbreads, soups and stews among many others. All of these exist in variations all over the world. But of course it wasn’t always serendipity. While traditional foods were often based on the vegetables, fruits and animal products that are native to countries, they were sometimes also introduced through trade or colonialism over the centuries. And with the produce cam processing methods and entire combinations making up certain meals.

Due to the ever growing globalization and internationalization of the food market, this is happening faster than ever. More and more fusion foods are evolving as popular ingredients or dishes from different cultures are mixed to form new amazing creations that combine the best of both worlds. At the same time, however, this causes traditional foods to be at risk of disappearing. Therefore, it is essential to document those original dishes in order to safeguard cultural heritage. Of course, this is an important part of our mission and purpose of SunnySideCircus.

Just writing about this huge offering and the great variety of traditional foods around the world got our mouths watering. Discover all these great dishes, learn about their backgrounds and try them at home with our authentic recipes!