9 Underrated Dishes From Around the World

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International cuisine makes the world go round. You’ll find communities in most every city serving dishes from their native country. But even if you are in a city without many international restaurant options, there are many easy-to-make recipes you can try at home. If you’re looking for an alternative to coq au vin, spaghetti and meatballs, or sushi, try some of these underrated dishes from around the world.

1. Paletas

To beat the summer heat, paletas are a must. The difference between a paleta and a popsicle comes down to the ingredients: popsicles typically have way more sugar and additives, while paletas merely require 
pureed or whole fresh fruit, water, and some kind of sweetener, like agave. You can even freeze coffee with your milk of choice for a new way to consume that iced coffee craving.

Find the recipe here.

2. Pancit

A Filipino dish, pancit combines the best of all noodle worlds. Rice or flour noodles are cooked in a soy sauce broth with flavorful vegetables and different meats. It’s not quite a stir fry and not quite a soup. It's topped with a bit of fresh citrus juice and the flavors combine for an easy and convenient meal anyone can make.

Find the recipe here.

3. Kabuli Pulao

Afghani cuisine is barely known outside of its community, but these dishes offer some of the most refreshing and healthy combinations of ingredients you’ll come across. Kabuli pulao is a fragrant rice dish made with a combination of sweet and savory spices, carrots, raisins, and almonds. Each bite provides a blast of flavor that kicks regular rice to the curb. Lamb or ground beef can also be added, but for an easy side dish that is sure to impress, leave the meat out.

Find the recipe here.

4. Ajvar

More of an accompaniment than an actual meal, ajvar is a special red pepper spread from Serbia that brings a freshness and lightness to bread, crackers, sandwiches, and more. It doesn't have the acidity of a tomato spread and is made by grilling or roasting peppers, stripping off the skin, and mashing the flesh into a thick spread. You can add spices if you like, but plain ajvar on its own is just as good.

Find the recipe here.

5. Fish Amok

This Cambodian dish is light, refreshing, and a great way to use leftover meat that’s not quite enough to make into another meal. The combination of fish, fluffy egg, fresh vegetables, and citrus is great on its own, but it’s the amok sauce you’ll want to put on everything. Lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, garlic, and makrut lime, will have you salivating as you mince the ingredients and combine them for a thick spread.

Find the recipe here.

6. Papas Rellenas

Found throughout South America and Cuba, with its own variations depending on which country you’re in, papas rellenas are a small snack that packs a big punch. It’s more than just a potato croquette. Mix in ground beef, raisins, olives, hard-boiled eggs, or another ingredient of your choice, roll it in bread crumbs, and pan-fry it. Skip the utensils and take these on your next picnic.

Find the recipe here.

7. Fesenjān

Chicken mixed with sweet and savory spices is already great, but throw in the tangy-tart-juicy flavor of pomegranate, and you get fesenjān, an Iranian dish that is easy to make but will send your taste buds on a trip of their own. Walnuts add another layer of taste and texture.

Find the recipe here.

8. Anmitsu

Low in calories and sugar, and vegan-friendly, anmitsu is a great alternative to Jell-O in that it’s made with agar. It’s a low-key perfect dessert because you can add whatever accompanying sweets you like: fresh fruit, mochi, ice cream, or a simple syrup made from honey. Cut it into cubes or get out the jiggler molds and get creative with the presentation.

Find the recipe here.

9. Goulash

Goulash is mostly found in Central and Eastern European countries. While the same basic ingredients are used, each region makes its own variation of the dish. The main ingredient of Goulash is meat, mainly beef. It’s then simmered in wine with spices, or thickened into a gravy and served over your carb of choice: bread dumplings in the Czech Republic, spaetzle in Austria, potato puree in the Balkans, noodles in the USA. It’s inexpensive to make, filling, and soul-warming, especially in winter.

Find the recipe here.

Tags: Healthy Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Desserts, International Cuisine

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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