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This is what comfort food looks like indifferent countries around the world

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While we rely on food to sustain us physically, we also depend on it for its comforting properties; sometimes a dish just knows how to convey so much more than words ever could.

From greasy fish and chips in Great Britain to the lasagna-like moussaka in Greece, here are 26 comfort foods from around the world that everyone should try.

FRANCE: French onion soup

Flickr/ Kojach

French onion soup is winter comfort food as it should be: rich, warm, and blanketed under a generous portion of creamy cheese. It’s best enjoyed with a slice of crusty bread.

JAPAN: Ramen

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From the sodium-heavy instant packs found in every American college dorm to the Michelin-star winning joint in Tokyo, Japan, ramen has developed into a global obsession.

CANADA: Poutine

Guillem Vellut/ Flickr

We have Montreal to thank for Canada’s unofficial national dish, poutine (which also sometimes goes by its informal nickname, “Canadian salad”). The iconic dish consists of crispy, golden fries topped with cheese curds and drenched in gravy.

MEXICO: Chilaquiles

Joy / Flickr

Chilaquiles – which translates to “in a sauce of chiles” from Nahuatl – is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of heaps of crisp tortilla triangles tossed in a pan with salsa, and then piled sky-high with crumbled cheese and crema. Even better, chilaquiles are oftenenjoyed for breakfast.

GREAT BRITAIN: Fish and chips

Modern Fish and Chips/Wikimedia Commons/Attribution

There is no match about just how delicious battered fish and crispy fries taste when dipped in a creamy tartar sauce.

AUSTRIA: Wiener schnitzel

Kobako/Wikimedia Commons

Wiener schnitzel, the national dish of Austria, consists of boneless, mallet-thinned meat (usually veal) that is then breaded and deep-fried until it reaches prime crispiness.

ITALY: Spaghetti alla carbonara

Dan Brian Gerona/Wikimedia Commons/Attribution

Originally from the region of Lazio (which is around Rome), this decadent spaghetti is a creamy mix of crispy bacon, velvety olive oil, fatty egg yolk, and nutty Parmesan cheese.

AUSTRALIA: Sausage rolls

Leon Brooks/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Think of these Aussie favorites as the larger, heartier, and more sophisticated version of pigs-in-a-blanket.

POLAND: Pierogi

Valeria Boltneva/Pexels

Pierogies are boiled dumplings that are typically filled with a mixture of potatoes and cheese curds, and often enjoyed with a generous dollop of sour cream and caramelized onions.

ISRAEL: Matzo ball soup

City Foodsters/Flickr/Attribution

Matzo balls – which are made from matzo meal and eggs, and often consumed during Passover – are doughy, rich soup dumplings that have a delicious tendency to soak up all the flavors of the broth in which they’re submerged.

CHINA: Congee


Ngô Trung/Wikimedia Commons

Congee – a soothing type of rice porridge that is so extensively cooked that the individual grains of rice coalesce into an almost homogeneous base – is popular in many East Asian countries, and is often fortified with different garnishes and ingredients to amplify the flavor.

AMERICA: Grilled cheese

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The simple comfort mainstay known as the grilled cheese sandwich can come dressed up or au naturel – just as long as it comes with a side of tomato soup for dunking.

GERMANY: Bratwurst

Gloria Cabada-Leman/Flickr/Attribution

Arguably Germany’s most widely valued culinary contribution, bratwursts are thick German-style sausages that are frequently paired with stewed sauerkraut and a tall, cool beer.

PHILIPPINES: Kare-kare

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Kare-kare is a nutty and sweet Philippine stew. Its signature flavor derives from a thick and savory peanut sauce.

SPAIN: Paella

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Rich, smoky, vibrant, and nourishing, Valencians take their paella (a rice dish topped with seafood) seriously; it is Spain’s best-known culinary export, after all.

INDIA: Khichuri

Screengrab via NPR/YouTube

Khichuri is an ancient Indian comfort dish made from rice and lentils that is typically prepared in one pot. 

PUERTO RICO: Mofongo

Eugene Kim/Flickr/Attribution

Mofongo, a ball-shaped dish of pickled, fried, and then smashed plantains that are flavored with garlic, salt, and oil in a wooden pilón, is a Puerto Rican staple usually served alongside a hearty stew or broth.

GREECE: Moussaka

Julies/Flickr/Attribution

Moussaka — a baked dish that can be described as Greece’s version of lasagna — typically features layers of fried eggplant, potatoes, ground meat, and spices, all topped off with grated cheese and a cream sauce such as béchamel.

MOROCCO: Shakshuka

Calliopejen1/Wikimedia Commons

Shakshuka is a stew of eggs poached in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions flavored with cumin. While it likely originated in North Africa, it is a popular dish throughout the Middle East.

CUBA: Picadillo

Rinaldo Wurglitsch/Flickr/Attribution

Picadillo, a Cuban-style hash, routinely features a base of ground beef and tomatoes, but you’ll find different renditions of the dish depending on which region you’re eating it in. Some prefer it with olives for a salty kick; others enjoy it with raisins for sweetness. 

HUNGARY: Goulash

Shutterstock/Elzbieta Sekowska

Goulash is a hearty, paprika-flavored stew with cubes of seared beef, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes.

SWEDEN: Äggakaka


Sinikka Halme/Wikimedia Commons

Commonly served straight from the skillet, äggakaka — which translates from Swedish to “egg cake” — is redolent of a thick pancake, albeit a fluffy one. 

PERSIA: Asheh Reshteh

Benson Y./Yelp

Thick, stick-to-your-ribs soups make up the backbone of Iranian cooking — in fact, there are more than 50 varieties. Asheh Reshteh, a Persian noodle soup full of beans, herbs, and yogurt, is arguably the most popular type.

JAMAICA: Ackee and saltfish

Gailf548/Wikimedia Commons/Attribution

Jamaica’s national fruit, the ackee, is the star of ackee and saltfish, the island’s national dish, a salty and savory sautée that’s often served with fried plantains and rice. 

UKRAINE: Borscht

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Borscht — a sour soup with a vibrant red color, thanks to its primary ingredient of beets — is traditionally made with meat or bone stock, sautéed veggies, and fermented beetroot juice, although there are countless variations of the dish.

This story originally appeared on Insider.

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