International foods

In today’s world of instant communication and travel, it is important to have a global understanding of other cultures. Learning about food customs of other countries reveals much about the history, climate, and geography of a region, as well as the lifestyles, religions, and traditions. This knowledge of how other cultures are similar and/or different from our own also helps promote understanding between peoples.

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of restaurants featuring foreign foods. Even fast food establishments have joined the bandwagon to meet the growing demand for exotic foreign foods. Some new American favorites have actually been created. Foods such as tacos, cheese fondues, stir fries, gyros, and croissants are a few examples of “imported” foods that have become very popular.

The Foods Around the World chart gives a short “world tour” of the kinds of foods people from other cultures eat. There are many books, magazines, travel folders, foreign restaurants, and videotapes that can provide additional information about a country, its people, and the food they eat.

The chart summarizes foods popular in the respective country. Keep in mind that different regions of a country may prepare foods differently. In China, for example, there are five basic regional cooking styles:

Mandarin cooking and Shanghai cooking are not regional designations, but the terms are used to describe cooking styles.

- Mandarin means “Chinese official;” mandarin cooking suggests an aristocratic cuisine than gleans the finest elements from all regions.

- Shanghai cooking refers to a cosmopolitan combination of many Chinese cooking styles.

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