Top 10 National DishesHamburgers usAlthough the origins of the hamburger are disputed, there is no argument over the popularity of this classic dish. Toppings and accompaniments varyfrom region to region, but for an original version visit Louis’ Lunch in New Haven,Connecticut, which has been serving hamburgers since 1900 andclaims to be the oldest hamburger restaurant in the U.S.Planning: Louis’ Lunch is open most days for lunch, and some days until the early hours of the morning.Ackee and Saltfish, JamaicaDespite ackee’s unhappy origins as slave food, Jamaicans have reclaimed it as part of their national dish. A nutritious fruit with a buttery-nutty flavor,ackee resembles scrambled egg when boiled. Jamaicans sauté the boiled ackee with saltfish (salt-cured cod), onions, and tomatoes. Sometimes thedish is served atop bammy (deep-fried cassava cakes) with fried plantains.Planning: Jake’s, Treasure Beach, is renowned for ackee and saltfish and also offers cooking classes.
Coo-Coo and Flying Fish, BarbadosA polenta-like cornmeal and okra porridge, coo-coo pairs perfectly with flying fish—once abundant but now overfished and scarce—which is eithersteamed with lime juice, spices, and vegetables or fried and served with a spicy sauce.Planning: The Flying Fish restaurant overlooking St. Lawrence Bay claims to be the Barbadian national dish’s home.Bulgogi, KoreaBeef bulgogi (fire meat) is a dish of thinly sliced, prime cuts of meat marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, onions, ginger, sugar, andwine, and then grilled. It is often eaten wrapped in lettuce or spinach leaves and accompanied by kimchi (fermented vegetable pickle). Many Koreanrestaurants have miniature barbecues embedded in tables where diners grill the meat themselves.Planning: Seoul’s upmarket Byeokje Galbi chain is a bulgogi sensation.Kibbeh, Lebanon/SyriaDining well Levantine-style often means sticking to the delicious mezes(appetizers). Kibbeh, a versatile confection of ground lamb, bulgar, and variousseasonings, is a core component of mezes. It is often fried in torpedo or patty shapes, baked, boiled, or stuffed, but is tastiest raw. Planning: Aleppansin northern Syria are kibbeh’s greatest innovators, flavoring it with ingredients like pomegranate or cherry juice.
Goulash, HungaryGulyás—Magyar for “herdsman”—became a national dish in the late 1800s, when Hungarians sought symbols of national identity to distinguishthemselves from their partners in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A filling stew of beef, vegetables, red onions, and spices, goulash gets its flavor fromthe use of slow-cooked beef shin, or similar richly flavored cuts, and paprika.Planning: For a lighter version, sample gulyásleves (goulash soup).Wiener Schnitzel, AustriaMade with the finest ingredients and served fresh, this simple dish of pounded veal cutlets breaded and lightly fried is Austria’s food ambassador,despite the dish’s Italian origins. Austrians typically eat Wiener schnitzel garnished with parsley and lemon slices, alongside potato salad.Planning: Vienna’s leading Wiener schnitzel purveyor, Figlmüller, has two outlets within a few blocks of Stephansplatz (St. Stephen’s Square). Expectgigantic helpings.Pot-au-Feu, FranceOriginally a rustic dish that was stewed continuously all winter and topped up as needed, pot-au-feu (pot-in-the-fire) is a warming, fragrant dish ofstewing steak, root vegetables, and spices. Traditionally, cooks sieve the broth and serve it separately from the meat.Planning: In downtown Paris, Le Pot au Feu at 59 Boulevard Pasteur (Métro: Pasteur) specializes in its namesake.
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, EnglandDespite England’s increasingly cosmopolitan cuisine, this dish remains a much-loved Sunday lunch and national symbol. Named for England’seponymous county, Yorkshire—or batter—puddings originally served as fillers before the main course for those who could afford little beef. Today, thetwo are usually eaten together alongside gravy-soaked roast potatoes, vegetables, and horseradish sauce.Planning: Try the traditional British restaurant London’s Rules, founded in 1798, or country pubs.Irish Stew, IrelandOriginally a thick broth of slow-boiled mutton with onions, potatoes, and parsley, Irish stew nowadays often incorporates other vegetables, such ascarrots, and many cooks brown the mutton first. It is a staple of Irish pubs worldwide.Planning: One place in Dublin to enjoy Irish stew and other traditional fare isShebeen Chic, in George’s Street.