Ever travel to a new destination and find yourself craving a certain food once you arrive back home? This would be one of your "comfort foods." Traditionally, comfort foods are those that provide a nostalgic or sentimental feeling when you consume them or trigger that insatiable craving for it once you can't get it anymore. As these comfort foods are often some of the most delicious dishes, of course, many of them are also not necessarily the healthiest options.
Foods like apple pie, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, pot roast and a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup are some of the typical items Americans often identify as their comfort foods.
But what about comfort foods from around the globe? Here's a look at a few of the best "worst foods" in the world that we can't get enough of.
Move over chicken noodle soup and make way for Taiwan beef noodles. This hearty one-dish meal is served year-round, even in the sweltering heat of the summer. From simple stalls all over the country to a gourmet option that costs several hundred dollars, there is no denying beef noodles are an important part of Taiwanese culture. Beef noodles are so important there is even an annual Beef Noodle Festival in Taipei to crown a winner of the best beef noodles.
When you order Taiwanese beef noodles, there are typically different options - just beef broth and noodles, noodles with hunks of beef, or noodles with beef and tendon. The soup typically includes Chinese sauerkraut, green onions and sometimes other vegetables.
Popular in Central and Eastern Europe, pierogi are dumplings that are boiled and either baked or fried in lots of butter with onions. Fillings vary, but the most common varieties include ground meat, potatoes, sauerkraut and cheese.The popularity of the pierogi has spread to the US and Canada thanks to European immigrants who brought their culinary traditions with them.
You don't even have to go to the UK to try one of the best British comfort foods, as bangers and mash is a staple at British pubs around the world. This simple dish consists of mashed potatoes and pork or beef sausages. You may find varieties served with onion gravy, baked beans and even peas.
Ask a Belizean what their comfort food is and the answer is almost always going to be rice 'n beans with stewed chicken. What started as a traditional Creole dish is now often referred to as the national dish of Belize. The rice and beans are cooked together for several hours and typically served with some type of stewed meat, chicken being the most popular. The chicken has a distinctive red color thanks to the recado paste used in the cooking process. It's not uncommon to eat rice and beans every day in Belize, sometimes even twice a day!
In the United States, most of us grew up enjoying a big bowl of ice cream after dinner, or have fond memories of chasing down the ice cream truck in the summer. In Italy, the production of gelato is more of an art form. There is even a Gelato University near Bologna where you can enroll and learn the art of making proper gelato if you have dreams of opening a gelateria one day.
In Italy, you don't find people devouring large bowls of gelato either. The more concentrated, rich flavors of a gelato mean you just need a small scoop to really enjoy it. That's not to say that many Italians don't enjoy a scoop or two of gelato multiple times a day.
Popular in many parts of the world, including Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, the meat pie is a crust-top pie filled with a variety of savory ingredients. They can be snack-size individual pies, designed to be eaten on the go, or they may be baked in a large pie tin and cut into slices. Dating back to ancient times, the meat pie has certainly seen evolutionary changes and refinements, including updates from the French and Italians who have turned them into more of a pastry-quality dish.
Ask where you can find good poutine outside parts of Canada and people might look at you a bit crazy. A good poutine can be hard to come by, leaving many Canadians craving their favorite dish when they move to other parts of the world. Poutine originated in Quebec and is a simple concoction of French fries, a thin brown gravy sauce and cheese curds. There are a number of variations, especially in places like Montreal where one restaurant serves 25 varieties of poutine.
Curry is utilized in a variety of cultures, but one of the heartiest has to be the thick Japanese curry found all over Japan. The main varieties are curry over rice, curry over noodles and even curry bread. The main vegetables used include carrots, onions and potatoes. Curry sauces are even used with katsu, breaded deep-fried pork cutlets.
What's your favorite comfort food?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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