Taking a couple of drinks after a long day of work seems to be a universal pastime; it’s such a great way to relax and have a little fun after working so hard. In America, we head out to bars to grab a few beers, sliders, and hot wings galore, but… what do the people in other countries eat to accompany their alcohol?
Here’s what the people of 11 countries eat to complement that nice buzz. Try some for yourself.
1. South Korea: Korean Fried Chicken
If you think you’re a fried chicken connoisseur and you’ve never tried Korean fried chicken, you best keep reading. In Seoul, there is a fried chicken store on nearly every block of the city that offers delivery at almost any time of day (or night).
Korean fried chicken offers a bigger crunch and a cleaner, less greasy taste than its American counterpart, and it’s the perfect complement to a bottle (or ten) of soju or beer. It’s usually served with a side of freshly diced radishes and happily washed down with a huge pitcher of Hite (a South Korean brewery brand).
2. Japan: Izakaya
Japan takes their food seriously, and it’s all about tasting every part of a dish to see how each detail contributes as a whole. Izakaya is a type of Japanese pub that offers high-end alcohol with small plates of food.
People often get together after work at an Izakaya and order many rounds of small dishes along with a bottle of beer or sake. These small dishes may include charcoal-grilled skewers, chicken skin, bacon asparagus, takoyaki, roasted gingko nuts, and much more. All of these plates have their own exquisite flavor that can be snacked on with several glasses of hot (or cold) sake for hours on end.
3. France: Apéritif
An apéritif is a time after work when people gather to casually drink and munch on small snacks before actually eating dinner. Those who live in France go to their favorite bars after work, order a few glasses of wine, and eat a few small dishes. Chips, peanuts, and more elaborate snacks are usually served with alcoholic drinks to set the mood for the night to come.
Don’t worry so much about the calories either, because eating like a French person probably won’t make you fat.
4. Spain: Tapas
People in Spain have tapas, which is a style of eating that includes a variety of appetizers. They range from mixed olives and cheese to fried, buttery mussels and are frequently eaten with beer or Spanish wine. The bold seasoning and beautiful presentation of each dish makes the experience all the more fantastic and relaxing.
Over the past few decades, tapas have developed into a sophisticated cuisine, but of course it can still be enjoyed with friends in a casual setting.
5. Canada: Pancakes and booze
That’s right, Canadians pair my two favorite things all the time: pancakes and booze. There are tons of restaurants and bars sprawled across the country that offer good ol’ fashioned buttermilk pancakes with an extremely cold beer that will definitely quench your thirst from a day’s worth of work. I can only slowly blink at the tons of types of pancakes that can be paired with a special beer.
The combination can be eaten at any time of the day, so don’t be afraid to order that beer if you’re ever in a Canadian diner or bar — no one’s judging.
6. India: Nuts
There are regions in India that ban alcohol altogether, but in those that do indulge in a few drinks from time to time, their alcohol is usually not paired with most of their food.
Since spices and flavor are the most important contributor to Indian cuisine, it’s difficult to complement those bold dishes with a beer or mixed drink. But not to worry, people in India drink simpler concoctions such as mojitos or plain vodka to accompany their meals and snacks. If one does resort to a more complex-tasting drink, assorted nuts or chips can be paired with it.
7. Australia: Calamari
I’m assuming calamari made in Australia is made with some sort of magical batter because the fried squid there is absolutely out of this world. The pieces are larger and thicker than the thin ones we’ve seen more of here in America. Both versions are great, and calamari is an extraordinary snack to eat with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc either way.
People in Australia also have a love for steak and beer. It’s casually served in bars across the country and tastes predictably great. A glass of beer filled to the brim and a plate of steak and fries sounds like a meal that will make you feel like a champion.
8. Vietnam: Bê Thui
Bê Thui is a flavorful combo of smoked veal tossed with vegetables and intricate seasoning. The meat in this dish is from a veal calf that has been seared on the outside, leaving the meat inside to be very tender. It’s then sliced very thinly, mixed with Vietnamese coriander and other vegetables, and presented kind of like a salad. The fragrance of the coriander and veal makes you automatically want to grab a can of beer.
The two are great together, and I’m sure you’ll think the same.
9. China: Chicken feet
The menus in some parts of China are becoming westernized, so more fries, chicken wings, and desserts are appearing in Chinese bars. In the northern part of China, many people munch on some delicious chicken feet that can either be fried, broiled, grilled, or more. There must be a reason why chicken and beer can be paired so easily — the crunchiness of the meat balanced with a refreshing alcoholic drink makes the perfect umami duo.
Peanuts or sunflower seeds are also very common and are given as a complimentary appetizer at most bars.
10. Taiwan: Oyster Pancakes
Canada has its sweet buttermilk pancakes, and Taiwan has its savory oyster pancakes. These pancakes are made of oysters, eggs, scallions, and celery leaves, fried to make a thick yet crispy dish. They’re almost like omelets, so there’s no doubt they’re amazing. Pair it with a Taiwanese Beer, and you’ll be set for the evening.
11. Germany: Everything
Germans don’t joke around when it comes to alcohol. They drink beer with every meal as if it’s water, and having alcohol doesn’t always mean there’s some sort of celebration or achievement involved. There’s no type of food they drink with the most because… they pair alcohol with everything.
Even at German bars, they seldom serve food so there’s more room for alcohol.
Knowing what the rest of the world eats with their alcohol makes you kinda want to go to all of these bars, doesn’t it? Well, I don’t blame you, because every country has its own unique flair when it comes to drinking alcohol.
We recommend going to Yelp and trying to find the nearest Izakaya bar or Korean soju house. Explore the bars, eat and drink their unique offerings, and most importantly, enjoy yourself and be safe.