Whether you love to cook or you just love to eat, many of us think we know our favorite types of cuisine. Maybe we’d pick Italian, Mexican, Chinese, or even classic American food. If those are the only types of cuisine you’ve tried, however, it’s time to start exploring a few new cuisines, cooking styles, and restaurants. You might be surprised what you’ll discover when you try something a little less familiar, a little outside your comfort zone, and a little more bold. Below are 5 of our favorite types of cuisine for cooking and eating.
Incorporating various traditions blended together over time, Caribbean cuisine is a delightful fusion of other types of food, including African, Creole, and Latin American. Fish, chicken, and pork are commonly made into delectable stews and curries as well as roasted or grilled. Beans and rice are staples, along with coconut, bell peppers, limes, tomatoes, yams, plantains, and yucca (a starchy root vegetable). Caribbean spices, marinades, and seasonings often make the dish and may include tropical fruits as well as garlic, hot peppers, onion, cilantro, rosemary, tarragon, tamarind, and marjoram.
Vietnamese food reflects the culture’s desire for balance and the yin and yang, with a focus on finding the perfect mix of spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and sweet. Likewise, they strive to incorporate five colors, appeal to the five senses with meals, and combine cooling elements with warming elements. Soy sauce, shrimp paste, a fermented sauce called nuoc mam, rice, fruit, vegetables, and meat are prevalent, while dairy and oil are rare. Known for their use of fresh herbs, Vietnamese cooks commonly add ginger, mint, lemongrass, coriander, cinnamon, chili, lime, and basil to dishes.
Korean meals are built around rice, vegetables, and meat that may be grilled, steamed, or raw in the case of fish. Expect an abundance of flavorful side dishes, including Kimchi—spicy fermented vegetables containing cabbage and radish—at nearly every meal. Prevalent seasonings include sesame oil, fermented bean and chili pastes, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes. Mung beans and bean sprouts are also popular, and may be sautéed or made into porridges, noodles, and pancakes.
German food is far from the healthiest, with bread and meat at nearly every meal. Still, traditional hearty German food is quite enjoyable, from appetizing dumplings to Wursts (sausages) to delicious pastries. Spatzle, thick German pasta usually topped with cheese, and potatoes fried with oil, bacon, and onions are common sides to meaty dishes. Carrots, turnips, spinach, peas, beans, and cabbage are commonly added to soups and stews, while asparagus is another common side dish. Outside of mustard or horseradish condiments, dishes are rarely spicy and tend to use herbs like parsley, chives, and thyme.
Though Indian cuisine varies greatly by region, some commonalities exist across the country. Many dishes are vegetarian, and beef in particular is very rare. An impressive diversity and complexity of ingredients, spices, and flavors is characteristic of Indian cuisine, with the average dish containing at least 7 ingredients. Spices are essential in cooking including cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, chili pepper, cardamom, and cayenne. Meat or vegetables with curry sauce is a staple, along with rice, dal (cooked lentils), and a bread called naan. Dairy is also used frequently, including a delicious homemade white cheese called paneer.