food travel

9 Famous National Dishes That Are Not What You Think

Our perceptions of different countries are shaped by our perception of their culture, architecture and cuisine. You can’t imagine going to France and not eating a croissant, or going to America and not eating a burger. However, many of the products we associate with certain countries are not entirely true. Some of them the locals just don’t eat, and some you won’t even find on the menu. Let’s take a look at some famous dishes that the locals don’t eat.

1. Italy
Many people think that spaghetti and meatballs are an Italian dish, but the truth is that you will never see spaghetti with meatballs in Italy. It just doesn’t happen like that. These are two different dishes and they are served separately. Americans came up with this combination.

The same with the Caesar salad, yes, it was invented by an Italian, but by accident. Apparently, he was in Mexico at the time and didn’t have the necessary ingredients, so he just improvised, and that’s how the Caesar salad was invented.

2. Sweden
When you think of Sweden, you probably immediately think of IKEA and Swedish meatballs. It makes sense, Sweden is very proud of its meatballs, but the truth is that it’s not exactly a Swedish dish. Now, you might think that this is a variation on Italian meatballs, but that would also be wrong. The recipe that the Swedes use today came from Turkey in the 18th century.

3. France
Chances are, you’ve heard frogs’ legs mentioned whenever the subject of France comes up. Everyone talks about it like it’s their national food and you just have to try it while you’re there. But you won’t actually find frog legs on a French menu, it’s not what they eat and it’s not what’s popular in France. In fact, you may have to travel to a very specific Domb region to even find them. While in Paris, you’re much better off trying a French croissant (which, by the way, is actually Austrian, but let’s not get into that).

4. Japan
Most people think of Japan when they think of sushi and tempura, and rightly so, these tempura shrimp are delicious. But it turns out that tempura is not Japanese at all. It’s something the Spanish invented during Lent, possibly to make fish and seafood taste better. Japanese cuisine does not like deep-frying at all.

5. India
Vindaloo sounds Indian, doesn’t it? And it seems to have all the flavors we associate with Indian cuisine. But this is not a dish that was invented in India, in fact it was brought to India from Portugal by explorers and then Indians made it their own by adding more spices and making it what it is now.

6. China
Depending on your interests and familiarity with Chinese culture, when it comes to Chinese cuisine, you’ll think of egg rolls or some weird fried insects. Both of these stereotypes are wrong. Chinese people don’t eat fried insects regularly, in fact most of them don’t eat such things at all, it’s shocking only for tourists, and there are fried insects in Thailand at all. And egg rolls aren’t Chinese either, even though you’ll see them on most Chinese menus around the world. The Chinese have spring rolls, but no egg rolls. And those fortune cookies you’re used to taking out with you – they actually come from Japan.

7. Mexico
You can’t talk about Mexico without mentioning their cuisine, it’s damn delicious. But did you know that fajitas are not a Mexican dish? It’s a dish that was invented in Texas in 1930, and is actually a prime example of Texas-Mexican fusion cuisine.

8. Germany
Those who love desserts and chocolate in particular have probably heard of the German chocolate cake. This is a delicious chocolate cake that is basically a sweet tooth’s dream. However, the name German Chocolate Cake is misleading. It is not German at all, it was invented by the American Sam Herman and named after him.

9. Denmark
It’s a big misconception that Danish pastries, or Danish pastries as most people call them, are actually Danish. They actually originate from Austria and were known as Vienna bread until the 1840s. The concept of Danish pastries was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers, and Danish pastries have made it their own.

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