Quora users set out to answer that question in a thread on the question-and-answer-based website, singling out the most iconic thing to eat in their homelands. We added in some of our own selections.
From wiener schnitzel in Austria to feijoada in Brazil to katsudon in Japan, don't miss these 50 dishes.
Australia: Pie floater
Often touted as the perfect hangover cure, a pie floater is an Australian-style meat pie that's sitting in a bowl of thick green pea soup. It's sometimes topped with tomato sauce, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Pie floaters are "so fantastic to eat in winter and as a hangover cure," wrote Quora user Kathryn B.
Asado is the term to describe Argentina's delectable grilled meats — and grilled Argentinian steak is especially delicious. "It is true that most of the good meat goes to the so called first world countries via exports, but I can guarantee that if you have a good 'asador' (the guy making the asado) the taste will be priceless, especially if you're in the countryside," wrote Quora user Matias J.
Austria: Wiener Schnitzel
Wiener schnitzel, suggested by Quora user Felix H., is synonymous with Austria. It's a very thin veal cutlet that's breaded and deep fried. It's usually served with lemon and parsley, and is accompanied by a side of potatoes or rice.
Moules-frites (mussels and French fries) may be available in other countries like France and the U.S., but the savory and delicious combination originated in Belgium. Mussels, suggested by Quora user Valentin V., are prepared in any number of ways (cooked with wine, butter, and herbs, or maybe a tomato-based broth) and served with salty, crispy fries. Wash it down with a refreshing Belgian beer.
Brazil is a huge country with varied cuisine so it's difficult to choose just one dish, but the most iconic Brazilian dish is probably feijoada, a stew of black beans and smoked beef and pork. It's usually served with rice, collard greens, farofa (toasted manioc flour), hot sauce, and an orange slice to help with digestion.
Originally from Quebec, poutine is a delicious calorie-fest that will warm you from the insides: French fries topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. Quora user Josianne C. nominated this tasty dish.
It's difficult to select just one dish for such a large and varied country as China, but xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) are certainly one of the country's most memorable foods. Originally from Shanghai, these dumplings are usually filled with some sort of meat and soup broth and steamed in a bamboo basket.
Arepas—flatbreads made from maize or flour that can be grilled, baked, or fried for a delicious pillowy texture—are typically eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack in Colombia. They’re often topped with butter, cheese, eggs, condensed milk, chorizo, or hogao (an onion-based sauce).
Costa Rica: Tamales
According to Quora user Cynthia Salgado, anyone visiting Costa Rica during December will definitely come across plentiful amounts of tamales, as they’re most often made in Christmas. Tamales come in a variety of fillings, including pork, rice, eggs, raisins, olives, carrots, and peppers. They’re wrapped in platano leaves and cooked in a wooden stove.
Croatia: Paški sir cheese
Paški sir is a hard Croatian cheese that's made from sheep's milk. It's made in the island of Pag and is so famous that it's exported around the world. "I live in Croatia. We have the best cheese in the world. It comes from the island named Pag," wrote Quora user Andrija D.
Øllebrød is a traditional Danish Rye bread that is soaked in beer and boiled to a porridge. It is often served with whipped cream, making it seem like a dessert though it is usually eaten a meal. “It’s thick and sweet and tastes of rye,” wrote Quora user Pippi Maria Groving.
Molokhia, nominated by Quora user Amaani S., is served throughout northern Africa, but is especially popular in Egypt, where it's believed to have originated. The Egyptian version of the dish uses Molokhia leaves (a type of bitter vegetable) that are stripped from the stems, then finely minced and cooked with coriander, garlic and stock. It's generally served with chicken or rabbit, or perhaps lamb or fish.
England: Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, proposed by Quora user Godfrey M., is considered the national dish of England. Sop up the flavor of the beefy gravy with the hot doughy bread.
A national dish of France, Pot-au-Feu (pot-in-the-fire) is a rustic dish that used to be stewed throughout winter and topped with ingredients including steak, root vegetables, and spices. Cooks will traditionally sieve the broth and serve it alongside the meat.
Khachapuri, suggested by Quora user Otar C., is a savory, chewy bread that's filled with bubbling cheese or egg from the small Eastern European country of Georgia.
For Quora user Daniel Wiehoff, making one choice for Germany was tough but he recommends Currywurst. The popular fast food dish consists of steamed and fried Bratwurst (sausage)—either served whole or cut into slices—that is seasoned with curry ketchup and served with French fries. Wiehoff recommends getting it with a Nuremberg Bratwurst—made specifically using the area’s official recipe—for the best taste.
Gyros are made of meat—normally beef, veal, pork, or chicken—that is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served with tomato, onion, and a variety of sauces. “It’s better (and bigger) in the north,” says Quora user Andreas Tasoulas. He also notes that in the south, it is customarily served with Tzatziki, while the north tends to serve it with mustard and ketchup.
Holland: Soused herring
Soused herring is a raw herring filet that's marinated in a preserving liquid that might consist of cider, wine, sugar, herbs, and/or spices. The dish, suggested by Quora user Martijn S., is best eaten on a fresh toasted roll and topped with chopped onions.
A popular dish in Hungary, goulash is in between a soup and a stew, and has a thick consistency. There are many variations on how the hearty dish is cooked, but the traditional recipe includes beef, onions, paprika, tomatoes, green pepper, potatoes, and sometimes noodles.
India: Tandoori Chicken
In India, the cuisine varies tremendously depending on the region, so it's nearly impossible to choose just one dish to sum up the country. In the north, dishes are more meat-heavy with rich curries and flavorful breads. The south has a lot more vegetarian dishes and is known for its intense spices.
There was a lot of debate on the best Indian dish on the Quora board, but if we had to choose just one iconic Indian dish, we'd have to go with Tandoori chicken. The dish consists of chicken that's spiced with tandoori masala and roasted in a tandoor, a type of clay oven. It's often served with vegetables, yogurt sauce, and rice.
Indonesia: Martabak Manis/Terang Bulan
Martabak Manis is a sweet, thick Indonesian pancake. "The top and bottom parts are basically spongy pancake, while what's sandwiched in the middle can be anything sweet you can dream of--ranging from chocolate sprinkles to grated cheese to peanut pieces (or even banana pieces!)," wrote Quora user Jerry A. "But, one thing for sure, they are sooo yummy!" You can buy them from street vendors around Indonesia.
This is an easy one, suggested by Quora user Maria G. Pizza originated in Italy—and Naples, a city in southern Italy, is its birthplace. Neapolitan-style pizza is chewy, crunchy and topped with high-quality ingredients like fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, and any number of meats. Here, pizza is an art and pizzaiolas are the artists.
Sushi might seem like the obvious choice for an iconic Japanese dish, but Quora user Makoto W., who lives in Tokyo, wrote that Katsudon is not to be missed. Katsudon is a crispy, deep-fried pork cutlet topped with egg and condiments and served over a bowl of rice.
Beshbarmak, suggested by Quora user Marat Beksultanov, actually means “five fingers” because of the fact that it is typically eaten with one’s hands. Boiled meat (mutton, lamb or beef) is diced and mixed into boiled noodles before being spiced with onion sauce. It's served in a large round dish with mutton broth served in bowls on the side.
Malaysia: Nasi lemak
Widely considered the unofficial national dish of Malaysia, nasi lemak consists of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. It was suggested by Quora user Shixian T. It's traditionally served wrapped in banana leaves and is often accompanied by sambal chili, ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts, and boiled egg. Many people also believe it cures hangovers.
Mexico: Mole sauce
With up to 100 ingredients, mole sauce, suggested by Quora user Flor I., is one of the most complex and flavorful sauces in the world, resulting in a rich, creamy, chocolatey and spicy flavor. It's originally from the Puebla and Oaxaca regions, but you can find mole sauce—usually doused over chicken or enchiladas—all over Mexico.
Rijsttafel means "rice table” in Dutch. It's an epic feast of dozens of small side dishes like satay, sambal, egg rolls, fruits, and vegetables. Though the dishes are all Indonesian in origin, the meal originated in Dutch colonial times.
Nigeria: Egusi Soup and Pounded Yam
Pounded Yam can be made either by stirring yam flour in hot water or from scratch using cooked white yams and pounding them until they reach a soft texture. Egusi soup is made from the protein-rich seeds of squash, melon, or gourd plants, and typically contains leaf vegetables, goat meat, and seasonings like chili. There are considerable local variations on the dish. “Guaranteed you won’t crave for anything else your entire stay,” Quora user Adamu Shehu wrote.
Rakfisk is trout that's been salted and fermented for a few months. It's then eaten without being cooked, often accompanied by onions and sour cream. "Norway has for long been a poor country on the very border of where agriculture is possible. The long winter has made it essential to gather food before the snow came, and preserve it. Traditional Norwegian food therefore very often is cured, smoked or preserved with other methods. A very typical dish is the fermented trout, which is not everybody's cup of tea," wrote Quora user Hans Christian H.
Adobo may be a popular spice, but in the Philippines it's a dish that showcases some type of meat (pork or chicken) cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and oil. It simmers in the marinade for a while, soaking up the flavors. The dish is so popular that some call it the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. "All I can say is that it is an explosion of flavours," wrote Quora user Raymund M.
Quora user Clinton Koch lived in Poland and notes Zurek as his favorite dish. A ?ur (sour) makes the base for the soup and consists of rye flour that is fermented with water for up to five days. The broth is filled with chopped vegetables like carrots, parsnips, celery roots, leeks, potatoes, garlic, and typically will include eggs and sausage.
Francesinha (meaning "little Frenchie") is a Portuguese sandwich made with bread, ham, linguica (smoked pork sausage), and steak, that's topped with melted cheese and doused in tomato sauce. The sandwich, suggested by Quora user Augusto E., is a carnivore's dream that's best served with a side of fries and a cold beer.
Sarmale is essentially pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with a mix of rice and seasoned minced meat. It's consumed during the winter and is very popular in Romania. "It is to die for," wrote Quora user Diane C.
Quora user Nikita B. said any visitor to Russia is "obligated" to try borscht, a soup made from beet roots. It's generally served cold (though it can be hot too) and often topped with a dollop of sour cream. He suggested pairing it with classic Russian vodka.
Saudi Arabia: Kabsah
Quora user Rafif F. suggested kabsah, a flavorful rice dish that's made with lots of spices, like cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaves. It's usually mixed with meat and vegetables, making for a hearty meal. You can find it all over the Middle East, but it's especially popular in Saudi Arabia.
Scotland: Smoked salmon on brown bread
Smoked salmon is a must-have dish in Scotland, says Quora user Derek H. Scots squirt the salmon with fresh lemon and eat it on simple brown bread with either butter or cream cheese.
Slovakia: Bryndzove Halusky
Bryndzove Halusky are little potato dumplings served with a soft sheep's milk cheese (bryndza) and bacon. They were suggested by Quora user Lukas T.
Slovenia: Kranjska klobasa
Kranjska klobasa is a Slovenian pork sausage similar to kielbasa, but a bit smaller. It's made with pork (about 20% of which is bacon), salt, pepper, water, and garlic—and nothing else. It was suggested by Quora user Martina G.
South Africa: Biltong
Biltong is a type of cured meat from South Africa. It can be made with beef or game meats like ostrich. "It's the South African version of beef jerky but it is awesome by comparison. It's strips of meat, salted and spiced, dried out and truly delicious...ask the locals for the best place to get it in the location you're in as quality can vary," wrote Quora user Alan B.
South Korea: Banchan
A traditional meal in South Korea consists of so many small side dishes that it's nearly impossible to single out just one—and no one goes out to eat just one dish anyway. Instead, Koreans love banchan, which basically means small dishes that are served with rice and are meant to be shared. Small dishes might be kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage), guk (soup), gochujang (fermented chili condiment), jiggae (a type of meat or vegetable stew). "Just one dish? It's all about the side dishes in Korea," wrote Quora user Jay K. "Just go to a 'han jeong sik' restaurant in Korea which is basically a restaurant that serves full set meals. It's a really traditional Korean meal."
Spain: Jamón Ibérico
Jamón Ibérico, proposed by Quora user Miguel M., is a savory cured ham that's cut from the hind leg of a pig. It's an iconic Spanish dish best served with a hearty glass of wine, crusty bread, and olives.
Rösti (or röschti) are thinly grated potatoes that are fried in a pan until they get a golden crisp. They were originally eaten by farmers for breakfast in the canton of Bern, until their scrumptious flavor made them popular throughout the country.
Taiwan: Coffin bread
Coffin bread is a piece of super thick white bread French Toast, that is hollowed out and stuffed with something delicious, like three-cup chicken or pepper beef.
Thailand: Phat Thai
Phat Thai (or pad Thai) was invented in Thailand the 1930s and has remained an iconic dish of the country ever since. Thin rice noodles are stir-fried with ingredients like tofu and shrimp and seasoned with sugar, tamarind, vinegar, chili, and fish sauce to create a sweet, savory, and delectable dish.
Shawarma, suggested by Quora user Rohit M., is one of the few affordable foods in the expensive UAE, which perhaps explains why it remains one of the most popular dishes in the country. It's a sandwich on pita bread that's stuffed with shaved roasted meat (usually a mix of lamb, chicken, turkey or beef) and vegetables. It's often topped with tahini, hummus, or hot sauce.
Quora user Denis M. suggested varenyky, or dumplings stuffed with mashed potatoes, cheese, sauerkraut, cabbage, or meat. They can be boiled or steamed, and typically come with toppings like fried salo (pig fat) and onions, along with smetana (sour cream).
The U.S. is so vast and the cuisine so varied, it's nearly impossible to select just one dish to sum up American cuisine. But if you really twist our arm, we'd have to go with the all-American hamburger—especially when you pair it with crispy fries and a hearty milkshake.
Venezuela: Pabellon criollo
Pabellon criollo, proposed by Quora user Nana D., consists of white rice with stewed black beans, and "desmechada" (shredded) meat. It's often served with a fried egg and fried plantains.
“If you’re in the North, i.e. Hanoi, simply do not miss Pho,” wrote Quora user Quý An Nguy?n H?u. The dish is popular throughout the country though, with restaurants that serve the dish hidden in small city alleyways, village storefronts, and rural lanes. Many versions exist regarding the type of meat used, but they each contain rice noodles and a broth seasoned with shallots, fish sauce, ginger, salt, and spices like cardamom, star anise, and cloves. Some versions will also include onions, cilantro, scallions, and black pepper.
Wales: Clark's Pies
Quora user Alan S. suggested Clark's Pies. Lovingly nicknamed "Clarkies" or "Clarksies," they are savory meat pies that were born in Cardiff, Wales. The pies are made with a secret recipe, but they usually contain meat, vegetables, and gravy.