12 Iconic Foods ...


12 Iconic Foods ...
12 Iconic Foods ...

Our cultures are so often defined by our cuisines and some dishes are so iconic they are named after their birthplace. Sometimes it’s best to eat them where they were born but so many have been flattered by mimicry that people serve them up at home. Here is a list of 12 iconic foods to tickle your taste buds.

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French Onion Soup

It’s odd that a cuisine that has set the standard for fine cooking the world over as an iconic food is as simple as an onion soup. This simple soup has been known since Roman times so its exact origin will never be known. The modern version is known to have come from the 18th century.


Yorkshire Pudding

This famous batter dish started life in the north of England as dripping pudding. It was traditionally cooked in the dripping collected under the roasting meat and was designed to make the meat stretch further. In 2008, the Royal Society of Chemistry dictated that a pudding is not a Yorkshire Pudding unless it is at least 10cms tall.


Peking Duck

The first restaurant to serve Peking Duck is still doing so today. It was Bianyifang that gave the world this iconic food back in 1416. It’s probably the only food in the world that uses a bicycle pump in its preparation. The largest Peking Duck restaurant (with over seven stories) in the world is the Quanjude in Beijing which serves over 5000 dishes a day.


Buffalo Wings

I will never ever forget Jessica Simpson thinking that Buffalo Wings came from the buffalo and wondering why they were so small. Actually these deep fried chicken wings covered in a hot and spicy buttery sauce are the brainchild of Teressa Bellissimo of Bellissimo’s Anchor Bar in naturally, Buffalo, NY.


Waldorf Salad

Immortalized in song by Cole Porter’s You’re The Top this iconic food was created sometime between 1893 and 1896 at the now Waldorf-Astoria hotel. It is accredited to maître d Oscar Tschirky who was responsible for much of the hotel’s menu.


Singapore Chilli Crab

This is a fairly new kid on the iconic foods block. It was created in 1950 at the Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant but is now available all over Singapore and is a popular street food.


Mole Poblano

The fable behind the finest mole in Mexico is that the nuns in the Convent of Santa Rosa of Puebla had to feed the Archbishop but were too poor for a feast. An angel inspired them to mix together different chillies, day-old bread, nuts and chocolate and left it to simmer hours. The Archbishop loved it and Mole Poblano was born.


Cheddar Cheese

In 2009, the USA produced 1.5 million tons of cheddar cheese. Not bad for a cheese that started in some caves in a very small village in south-western England where it has been recognised in its current form since at least the 12th century. It is thought to be hundreds of years older though with historians believing the recipe came with the Romans from the Cantal region of France.


Parmigiano Reggiano

What’s a bowl of pasta without some shavings of parmesan? Its name signifies Parma the city and Reggiano for Reggio Emilia, the region in which the cheese is produced. Parma is a centre of iconic foods – this is the home of Parma ham, too.


Kalamata Olives

Although there are a couple of dozen cultivars of the olive it’s the Kalamata that is probably the most well known. It’s got a meaty flavour and is commonly used as a table olive rather than for oil. It is named for the city in Greece.


Chicken Kiev

The origin of this piece of chicken filled with garlic butter and covered in breadcrumbs is attributed to the Ukrainian capital city, although there’s no proof.


Turkish Delight

This gooey confection has been eaten as a sweetmeat in Turkey since the 15th century and is still known as Lokum today. It was christened Turkish Delight by an unknown Briton when he shipped caseloads to Britain in the 19th century. It’s very popular in the UK and continental Europe. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and never tried it – do so.

Well that’s my list of iconic foods from around the world. There are so many I’ve left out like Black Forest Gateau, Salad Nicoise, New York Strip, Belgian Chocolate, Irish Stout, Sachertorte, southern fried chicken etc etc…is your favourite on the list?

Top Photo Credit: Wananga

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