The timeless question: what should we eat tonight? Automatically, the staples of Italian, Mexican, American, and the classic Chinese takeout come into mind, but what about Burmese? What of the lesser-known cuisines that seemed to have escaped the spotlight?
As a self-proclaimed culinary adventurer, I'm always on the lookout for new foods to try. After all, getting Chipotle every other day gets old fast. Whenever I see a restaurant serving food that I’ve never seen before, I dash for the entrance. These new dishes excite my tastebuds and I’m often astounded: why hasn’t anyone ever told me about this cuisine before? Here are a few lesser-known cuisines that you should try out.
1. Ethiopian: Injera
Ever wonder what those colorful platters of sauce-like mounds on spongy-looking bread is? Those sections are varying stews of lentils, chickpeas, meats, and veggies, and the bread is a slightly sour teff flour flatbread called injera. The dish is served family-style and is traditionally eaten with hands, so be prepared to get a little messy.
2. Moroccan: TaginesOne of the most popular types of Moroccan dishes are tagines, which are slow-cooked stews named after the cone shaped clay pots they’re served in. These stews are often a mix of savory and sweet, sometimes containing nuts and dried fruit. Of course, couscous is always a staple too.
3. Burmese: Tea Leaf Salad
Burmese food has some similarities to other cuisines in the area, yet is distinct in its own way. Their signature dish is tea leaf salad, which primarily consists of tea leaves but may contain cabbage, herbs, and peanuts. The peanuts add a crunchy texture and complement the slight bitterness of the tea leaves.
4. Russian: Borscht & PierogisAlthough many people have heard of beef stroganoff, there are many other dishes that are overlooked. A staple in many households, borscht is a colorful red beet soup that is often topped with sour cream and dill. Pierogis are also a favorite, too. These dumplings are stuffed with potatoes, meat, and various other fillings. If you’re in the mood for dessert, their Napoleon is dynamite!
5. Danish: Smørrebrød & Ebleskivers
Though delicious, danishes aren't actually Danish! For an authentic dish, try their open faced sandwiches, known as smørrebrød. These consist of a base of rye bread and butter, which cradle various meats, cheeses, and spreads. For those craving something sweeter, aebleskivers are adorable spheres of pancake-y goodness.
There are many more underrated and undiscovered cuisines in the world that I have not had the pleasure of tasting yet. Hopefully this list has inspired you to try something new for your next meal. Keep your eyes peeled for new dishes and create some culinary adventures of your own!