10 National Dishes to Try, and the Best Places to Savour Them

One of the perks of travelling is getting to try different national dishes from around the world. But what, you may ask, defines a national dish? In most places around the world, it can easily be any dish that is popular among the people and forms an essential part of a country’s culture and identity.

While some countries such as Peru have an official national dish — ceviche — with a day dedicated to it by the government, many others don’t. But almost every nation does have at least one homegrown speciality that’s a favourite of locals and foreigners alike. From the swankiest restaurants to humble street food stalls and even households, this dish can be found everywhere. For certain gastronomic creations, their phenomenal popularity has gone beyond borders to find its place in kitchens overseas.

Here’s a collection of our favourite national dishes — some of which hold their title unofficially — and the best local places to try them.

Asado, Argentina

10 national dishes you need to try, and the best places to savour them
Asado gets its name from the technique used to cook meat on a grill known as asador. (Image: mercedescolombres/Instagram)

A creation of the gauchos, or cowboys, the asado can most certainly be called one of the most popular national dishes of Argentina. It gets its name from the technique of cooking meat on a skewered metal grill called asador. The meat can be beef, pork, sausages, sweetbreads or lamb. Once grilled, the slightly salted meat is topped with chimichurri, a condiment made from dried oregano, and served on chopping boards as finger food. Eating asado is typically a weekend family affair in Argentina.

If you’re in Buenos Aires, consider stopping by El Ferroviario for your asado fix. It is a grand place with 325 seats and is mostly packed to capacity, especially during the weekends. From families to huge groups of friends, almost everyone in the western province of Greater Buenos Aires appears to have this place as their top destination for special events.

Argentine flags, disco balls and garlic wreaths hang from the ceiling of the building, which resembles a huge tavern from the inside. You can try food ranging from grilled meats (beef, pig and chicken), pastas to empanadas, but the specialty here is asado ancho ribs, which are cooked for three to four hours. A single portion is large enough for a small family. Also, worth tasting is the Playboy salad, which consists of chicken, hard-boiled egg, ham, and hearts of palm and pineapple with cold sauce known as salsa golf.

Salt and pepper squid, Australia

Salt and pepper squid Australia
Squid is fried until crisp after it is layered with salt-and-pepper batter. (Image: brendan_pang/Instagram)

The mention of Australian cuisine and its national dishes typically call to mind succulent meat pies and hearty barbecues. Thus, it might come as a surprise that a dish that is now increasingly being called the country’s national dish is originally a Chinese…

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