Similarities In Cuisines Across The Globe


For those who judge a country strictly by its cuisine, the following words might be little liberating. Associating beer with Germany or wine with France no longer needs to be absolute, and similarly there may also be some common ground when it comes to food, if looked at more closely.  

In today’s interconected world there is a vast choice of different international cuisines, with many exotic dishes you can only imagine and scarcely pronounce. 

But despite the variety on offer, certain types of dishes exist in most countries. Let’s check them out closely. 


A meal consisting of meat, vegetables, stock, and spices, sometimes also wine.


Beef stew is common in England, but pörkölt is a similar dish – with origins in Hungary – which has been domesticated in the Czech Republic and other parts of the world under the name goulash (while goulash in Hungary is a soup dish).

When we move a little bit to the east, there is a dish called Rogan Josh, from Kashmir, which not only strongly resembles goulash, but the word “josh” literally means stew (rogan josh – stewed in ghee or red stew). Rogan Josh is prepared with lamb or mutton cooked a very spicy sauce.

Rogan Josh

Ragout – a French style stew 



Dumplings appear across the world. Broadly they are small pieces of filling wrapped in dough, steamed or cooked in hot water. 

The name “dumpling” is mainly asociated with heavy, unhealthy meals from Central Europe – the Czech Republic in particular. Here dumplings are an important side dish that hasn’t earned a very good reputation among tourists. Dumplings can be in the form of a rounded shape with filling, but more commonly sliced without filling and served in a sauce. 

Two types of Czech dumplings with sirloin sauce

Very similar are the Austrian Knödel and the Tirolean Dumpling.

Bavarian Dumpling

Chinese dumplings vary with different types of fillings, and with the type of the dough.  Eaten alone or in soups, they are all very delicious. Har gow (dim sum)

Har gow 

Russian filled dumplings are called Pelmeni.

Russian Pelmeni

Italian ravioli can be included in the category of filled, steamed pasta. 

Italian ravioli with tomatoe sauce

Indian dumplings: Kozhukkatta, Manda Pitha, Idli.

Kozhukkatta / Kozhukattai

Japanese: Nikuman, Gyoza.

Japanese gyoza with soy sauce

Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan): Manti 

Fillings can be also sweet.

Nepal: Yomari

Czech republis: Potato or quark dumplings stuffed with fruit 

Dumplings stuffed with plums

India: Modak (Indian Festival sweet food)



Schnitzel, in brief, is a breaded, deep fried cut of meat, which alternatively can also be vegetarian.

Wiener Schnitzel 

The most typical representative of this is Wiener Schnitzel made with veal. From Austria the Schnitzel has migrated not only to neighbouring countries (Schnitzel in the Czech republic is traditionally made from pork, also from chicken, and the national speciality is fried cheese, and Schnitzel made with mushrooms, cauliflower or zucchini), but has also enriched the cuisine in far away Japan, where Tonkatsu has been prepared since 1899. 

Japanese Tonkatsu Schnitzel

Czech Fried Cheese

South American “schnitzel” is called Milanesa and is directly linked to Italy, while in France a similar dish is called Escalope. 

Escalope with spaghetti

Other meals similar to schnitzel are dishes (vegetarian or non-vegetarian) which are battered and deep fried. Typical for most of Asia. 

Chinese Sweet & Sour (Chicken, Pork)

Asia chicken sweet

Indian Pakoras (vegetarian – chilli, zuchini, potato, eggplant)

Indian Cauliflower Pakoras

Indian Fish Koliwada 


While often associated with France, the casserole is a near-universal way to prepare a meal.  A casserole can be a simply prepared meal in one dish, therefore time-saving and economical, while other types are more elaborate. In almost all cases, casseroles are placed in special vessels suitable for baking in an oven. This distinguishes them from stews, which are prepared on stoves (with heat from the bottom). 

Types of casseroles by country of origin:

Tajine – North Africa, Middle East

Sambal chicken tajine

Cassoulet – south of France

French Cassoulet

Moussaka – Middle East, Balkans


Shepherd’s Pie – United Kingdom (originally it was a leftover dish)

Shepherd’s Pie

Lancashire Hotpot – Lancashire, UK

Lancashire Hotpot

Macaroni casserole – Northern Europe

Northern Macaroni casserole

Mac and Cheese – USA

Mac and Cheese

Photos: Shutterstock / Title collage: Martina Advaney

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