Inspired by the World Cup currently taking place in Russia and the range of food products our Fuji Packaging Machinery wrap every day, we thought we’d take a look at some of the standout cuisines from countries participating in this year’s competition. Below are some interesting examples. See if any take your taste buds’ fancy.
This year’s hosts have attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists from all corners of the world to celebrate football in all its glory. Whilst foreigners might know Russia best for its cold climate, vodka and Matryoshkas, otherwise known as Russian dolls, many of us might not know one of its most well-loved dishes, ‘borscht’, a beet soup that is full of vegetables and meat and typically served with sour cream. Soup is a staple food in Russia due to the cold climate and it is typically eaten in the afternoon. Fans in Russia might also sample ‘Blinis’, a popular fast-food which can be eaten sweet or sour, similar to pancakes or crepes. They are often served with a variety of fillings ranging from jam to cheese and onions, or chocolate syrup.
One of this year’s favourites to win the competition, Belgium is located in Western Europe and best known for its medieval towns and Renaissance architecture. You might also associate it with waffles, fries, Belgian chocolate and beer, but another widely common Belgian dish is Mussels with fries, which you will find in just about any café or brasserie in Brussels.
Costa Rica is a small country in Central America bordering the Caribbean and Pacific oceans and is best known for its beautiful beaches and national parks. Traditional dishes in Costa Rica consist of rice and beans mixed with chicken or fish and a variety of vegetables. The most common dish is known as ‘Gallo Pinto’, which consists of rice and black beans served with sour cream, scrambled eggs and fried plantain, and is most commonly served for breakfast.
Uruguayan cuisine has a strong European influence, especially from Italy and Spain; however due to the country’s significant production of beef, you can expect to find an abundant variety of meat dishes on most menus. An ‘asado’ is otherwise known as a barbeque over an open fire with a large assortment of meat consisting of all types of cuts including organs. Beef is the most popular choice of meat but lamb and goat is often used too. The meat is seasoned and slow cooked in salt, oregano, garlic and paprika then served with bread, salad and other side dishes.
Iceland have a reputation for punching above their weight at tournaments, and attract many supporters as a result. However, when it comes to sampling traditional fish dish, Hákarl, we are not convinced it will be so popular. No longer typically eaten by the population, the dish has become something of a rite of passage for tourists visiting Iceland. Hákarl is shark meat which has been cured through a particular fermenting process, then hung outside to dry for 4-5 months. It has a strong ammonia smell and a very distinctive fishy taste and you are advised to pinch your nostrils when trying it for the first time. It is often served in cubes on cocktail sticks alongside a glass of Icelandic schnapps to diminish the after-taste.
Well known for being home to the world’s most populated metropolis, Tokyo, their large export of tech, cars and gadgets and the spectacular Mount Fuji, Japan has a well-established global reputation for its unique and exquisite cuisine. We often associate Japan’s food palette with sushi, ramen and various rice dishes, but another common favourite you may not already be aware of is ‘Okonomiyaki’, a mixture made with flour, yam and egg, topped with the likes of onions, beef, shrimp, vegetables and cheese. The mixture is cooked on a griddle and in some restaurants the dish will be prepared and cooked in front of you, also referred to as Teppanyaki, which has become a famous style of cooking in Japanese restaurants world-wide.
Having won the FIFA World Cup a record 5 times, Brazil is well known for having one of the most successful football teams in the World, with a plethora of the game’s best players; Pele, Ronaldo, Neymar and Ronaldinho just to name a few, all having been part of the team at some point in history. Without a doubt, they are strong contenders for this year’s competition. However, in addition to football and being home to the world famous Rio Carnival, Brazil exports a collection of tasty national dishes, with culinary influences from Portugal and West Africa. ‘Feijoada’ derives from the Portuguese word feijão meaning ‘beans’, and is considered to be Brazil’s most famous dish. Brazilian nationals have different takes on the dish, but it is essentially a stew of beans with beef and pork mixed with vegetables, such as okra, pumpkin and sometimes even banana, along with a blend of spices and chillies. The result is a thick stew with plenty of flavour and enjoyed all year round.
Situated on the West Coast of Africa, Senegal is a country that is often over looked by tourists. Not only does it have a generous offering of key attractions, such as the unusually pink Lake Retba and Senegal’s vibrant capital, Dakara, which is full of colourful markets, music, beautiful beaches and a bustling restaurant and nightlife setting, but the Senegalese also know how to produce exquisite cuisine with multi-cultural flavours from all over the world. Common dishes found in Senegal include an array of soups, stews, rice dishes and salads containing a rich blend of fresh and local ingredients. The national dish, ‘Thiéboudienne’, is a spicy stuffed fish, fresh or dried, simmered with vegetables, tomatoes, chillies, garlic and onions and served with rice. Other additions commonly include sweet potato and cabbage and other Senegalese seasonings.
We hope this has given you some inspiration for pushing your culinary boundaries in the future!