National Dishes

National dishes are a country’s culinary symbols that reflect its cultures and traditions.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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National dishes are culinary creations that epitomize a specific country, serving as a representative symbol or a cherished specialty of that nation. It’s a key element in defining a nation’s cultural identity and self-perception.

Historically, especially during periods of extensive empire-building like in Europe, establishing a distinct national cuisine was a way for countries to set themselves apart from their competitors.

Not all countries have a single national dish due to regional diversity. For instance, Mexico, China, and India, with their varied ethnicities and rich food cultures, are known for having multiple iconic dishes rather than one that symbolizes the whole nation.

Selecting a national dish can sometimes spark intense feelings and debates, as these dishes are deeply intertwined with national pride and identity.

Across the globe, national dishes represent a rich tapestry of cooking techniques, flavors, types of dishes, dietary considerations, and primary ingredients.

To enhance your understanding, I invite you to dive into the world of national dishes, where I’ll explain how they differ from traditional dishes, the impact of history and geography on their evolution, and the list of national dishes by continent.

I will also offer insights through a concise FAQ section. Let’s explore national culinary delights with ease by using the filter function, search bar, or click on each dish!

National Dish Images

List of National Dishes with Filters



Bánh includes various Vietnamese cakes, pastries, noodles, etc., often made from rice or wheat flour, and encompassing both sweet and savory varieties; each has unique ingredients, preparation, and cultural value.

Banh Chung

Bánh Chưng

Vietnam Flag

Bánh chưng is a Vietnamese square sticky rice cake made of glutinous rice, mung beans, and pork, all wrapped in lá dong leaves.

Banh Cuon

Bánh Cuốn

Vietnam Flag

Bánh cuốn is a Vietnamese dish hailing from the northern region and consisting of various savory ingredients rolled in thin rice noodle sheets.

Banh Mi

Bánh Mì

Vietnam Flag

Bánh mì is a Vietnamese sandwich with meats, pickled veggies, and sauces in a short baguette.

Banh Xeo

Bánh Xèo

Vietnam Flag

Bánh xèo is a Vietnamese stuffed pancake consisting of rice flour batter, pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and other toppings.



Kazakhstan Flag

Beshbarmak is a Central Asian dish consisting of boiled and chopped meat and onions on a bed of egg noodles.

Bun Bo Hue

Bún Bò Huế

Vietnam Flag

Bún bò Huế is a Vietnamese spicy beef noodle soup hailing from the city of Hue in central Vietnam.

Bun Cha

Bún Chả

Vietnam Flag

Bún chả is a traditional Vietnamese dish of Hanoi with grilled pork soaked in a diluted fish sauce to serve with rice noodles and greens.

Bun Rieu Cua

Bún Riêu Cua

Vietnam Flag

Bún riêu cua is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of rice vermicelli, a clear crab-based broth, crab cakes, and other toppings.

Bun Thit Nuong

Bún Thịt Nướng

Vietnam Flag

Bún thịt nướng is a Vietnamese dish from the southern region, consisting of rice vermicelli, grilled pork, fresh herbs, and nước chấm.



Kyrgyzstan Flag

Çäkçäk is a doughnut-like, honey-drenched sweet from Russia.

Cha Gio

Chả Giò

Vietnam Flag

Chả giò is a Vietnamese dish featuring deep-fried rolls filled with ground pork and vegetables, wrapped in rice paper.



Chebureki is a deep-fried turnover with a meat filling crafted by the Crimean Tatars people.

Com Tam

Cơm Tấm

Vietnam Flag

Cơm tấm is a Vietnamese dish featuring broken rice grains, typically served with grilled pork and various accompaniments.



Dolmas are a family of stuffed or wrapped vegetable dishes in Ottoman cuisine.

Goi Cuon

Gỏi Cuốn

Vietnam Flag

Gỏi cuốn is a Vietnamese fresh spring roll filled with pork, shrimp, herbs, rice vermicelli, and wrapped in rice paper.

Hu Tieu

Hủ Tiếu

Vietnam Flag

Hủ tiếu is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, and a variety of meat options, often including both seafood and pork.



Ichlekli is a type of Turkmen meat pie made with meat and various vegetables.



Kyrgyzstan Flag

Lavash is a flatbread popularly prepared using a yeast dough, perfect for serving as a wrap with various fillings.

Mi Quang

Mì Quảng

Vietnam Flag

Mì quảng is a noodle soup from Vietnam originating from the Quang Nam province, made with wide rice noodles, savory broth, herbs, and meat.



Vietnam Flag

Phở is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup with beef or chicken in an aromatic broth.



Turkmenistan Flag

Pilaf is a rice dish (or wheat) popular in many countries around the world, combining grains with various broths, spices, meat, and vegetables.



Qurutob is Tajikistan’s national dish made from qurut yogurt balls, fatir flatbread, and fresh vegetables.

National Dish vs. Traditional Dish: What Are the Differences?

National dishes are iconic culinary representations of a country, celebrated both at home and abroad. They embody deep historical and cultural significance.

Traditional dishes, in contrast, are ingrained in a nation’s heritage and handed down through generations.
While some traditional dishes are also recognized as national dishes, not all reach this level of international fame.

The following is a detailed comparison of national and traditional dishes:

Therefore, it’s essential to know how a dish is recognized as a national symbol, reflecting its journey from traditional roots to international acclaim.

How Is A National Dish Determined?

Determining what factors make a dish become a national dish involves considering various cultural, historical, and social aspects. Here are some key factors:

  • Cultural Significance: The dish often has a rich history and cultural significance in the country. It may be tied to national festivals, traditions, or folklore.
  • Historical Roots: Many national dishes have deep historical roots, often dating back centuries. They may have originated during a significant period in the country’s history or evolved from ancient recipes.
  • Common Ingredients: The ingredients used are typically readily available and commonly used in the country. This availability is often tied to the country’s agriculture and local produce.
  • Popularity: A national dish is usually one that is widely consumed and enjoyed by the majority of the population. It’s often a go-to meal for both everyday dining and special occasions.
  • Representation of Cuisine: The dish often embodies the characteristics of the country’s cuisine, showcasing typical cooking methods, flavors, and ingredients.
  • International Recognition: Often, a national dish is internationally recognized as being emblematically associated with a particular country.
  • Regional Variations: In many cases, a national dish will have different regional variations within the country, reflecting the diverse culinary practices of its various areas.
  • Symbolic Value: Sometimes, a national dish holds symbolic value, representing unity, survival, or prosperity. It may be associated with a significant historical event or national hero.
  • Government Recognition: In some cases, a dish may be officially designated as a national dish by the government or a recognized authority.
  • Adaptability and Evolution: National dishes often evolve over time, adapting to changes in society, technology, and available ingredients, while still maintaining their core identity.

Furthermore, the impact of historical and geographical factors on these dishes cannot be overstated, as they profoundly shape each country’s national dish uniquely.

How Historical and Geographical Factors Impact the National Dishes of Different Countries?

Historical and geographical factors play a crucial role in shaping the national dishes of different countries. Here’s how:

  • Geographical Location: The geographical location of a country determines the ingredients that are available. Coastal regions favor seafood, while inland areas focus on agriculture.
  • Climate: The climate of a region influences what types of food can be grown and produced. Warm climates support fruits and olives, colder climates rely on root vegetables and preservation.
  • Cultural Exchanges and History: Trade, colonization, and migration introduce new ingredients and culinary practices.
  • Economic Factors: A country’s economic status can affect its food diversity and culinary complexity. Wealth impacts food diversity and culinary sophistication.
  • Religious Beliefs: Dietary laws and religious practices shape food choices, like vegetarianism in Hinduism or halal in Islam.

Each of these factors contributes to a unique culinary identity, resulting in a diverse list of national dishes that reflect a nation’s heritage, environment, and cultural influences.

List of National Dishes By Continent

This is a curated list of some foods often identified as national dishes sorted by continent:


  • Afghanistan: Kabuli Palaw
  • Armenia: Harisa, Khorovats
  • Azerbaijan: Dolma
  • Bahrain: Kabsa
  • Bangladesh: Rice And Fish
  • Bhutan: Ema Datshi
  • Brunei: Ambuyat
  • Cambodia: Num Banhcho, Fish Amok, Samlar Kako
  • China: Peking Duck, Dim Sum, Dumpling, Hot Pot, Crayfish, Malaxiangguo, Kaolengmian, Tanghulu
  • Georgia: Khachapuri
  • India: Biryani, Butter Chicken, Khichdi, Samosa, Tandoori Chicken
  • Indonesia: Nasi Goreng, Satay, Tumpeng, Soto, Gado Gado, Rendang
  • Iran: Abgoosht, Chelo Kabab, Ghormeh Sabzi, Fesenjan
  • Iraq: Masgouf, Dolma, Iraqi Kebab, Quzi
  • Israel: Falafel, Shakshouka, Israeli Salad, Sabich, Meorav Yerushalmi
  • Japan: Sushi, Ramen, Tempura, Japanese Curry, Wagashi, Sashimi, Miso Soup
  • Jordan: Mansaf
  • Kazakhstan: Beshbarmak
  • Kuwait: Machboos
  • Kyrgyzstan: Beshbarmak, Laghman
  • Laos: Larb, Tam Mak Hoong, Sticky Rice
  • Lebanon: Kibbeh, Tabbouleh
  • Malaysia: Satay, Nasi Lemak
  • Maldives: Mas Huni
  • Mongolia: Buuz
  • Myanmar: Mohinga, Lahpet Thoke
  • Nepal: Momo, Dal Bhat
  • North Korea: Kimchi, Raengmyŏn
  • Oman: Shuwa
  • Pakistan: Nihari, Biryani, Gulab Jamun, Chicken Karahi
  • Palestine: Maqluba, Musakhan, Falafel
  • Philippines: Adobo, Sinigang, Sisig, Pancit, Halo-Halo
  • Qatar: Machboos
  • Saudi Arabia: Saleeg, Kabsa
  • Singapore: Hokkien Mee, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chilli Crab
  • South Korea: Kimchi, Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Jajangmyeon, Tteokbokki, Bingsu
  • Sri Lanka: Kottu, Rice And Curry
  • Syria: Kibbeh
  • Taiwan: Beef Noodle Soup, Braised Minced Pork Rice
  • Tajikistan: Qurutob
  • Thailand: Pad Thai, Tom Yum, Som Tam, Pad Gaprao
  • Turkey: Baklava, Kebap, Kuru Fasulye With Pilaf, Simit
  • Turkmenistan: Ichlekli
  • United Arab Emirates: Harees, Shuwa
  • Uzbekistan: Pilaf
  • Vietnam: Phở, Bún Bò Huế, Bánh Mì, Bún Chả, Gỏi Cuốn, Cơm Tấm, Bánh Chưng, Bún Thịt Nướng, Bánh Cuốn, Bánh Xèo, Hủ Tiếu, Mì Quảng, Chả Giò, Bún Riêu
  • Yemen: Saltah


  • Algeria: Couscous, Rechta
  • Angola: Moamba De Galinha
  • Cameroon: Ndolé
  • Cape Verde: Cachupa
  • Congo: Moambe Chicken
  • Egypt: Kushari, Ful Medames, Taʿamiya, Molokhiya
  • Eritrea: Zigini
  • Ethiopia: Doro Wat
  • Gabon: Poulet Nyembwe
  • The Gambia: Domoda
  • Ghana: Fufu And Soup, Kenkey, Banku, Jollof Rice, Fried Plantain
  • Guinea: Poulet Yassa
  • Ivory Coast: Atcheke
  • Kenya: Ugali With Sukuma Wiki, Githeri, Chapati, Nyama Choma
  • Madagascar: Romazava
  • Malawi: Chambo With Nshima
  • Mali: Tiguadege Na
  • Mauritius: Dholl Puri
  • Morocco: Couscous, Tagine
  • Mozambique: Frango À Cafreal
  • Namibia: Biltong, Potjiekos
  • Niger: Dambou
  • Nigeria: Tuwon Shinkafa, Jollof Rice, Pounded Yam And Egusi Soup
  • Rwanda: Ugali
  • Senegal: Thieboudienne
  • Seychelles: Fruit Bat Curry
  • Somalia: Bariis Iskukaris
  • South Africa: Bobotie
  • Sudan: Ful Medames
  • Swaziland: Karoo Roast Ostrich Steak
  • Tanzania: Chipsi Mayai
  • Togo: Fufu
  • Tunisia: Couscous, Brik/Bric
  • Uganda: Matooke
  • Zambia: Nshima
  • Zimbabwe: Sadza


  • Albania: Flia, Tavë Kosi
  • Andorra: Escudella
  • Austria: Wiener Schnitzel
  • Belarus: Draniki
  • Belgium: Frites, Chocolate Mousse, Waterzooi, Carbonade Flamande
  • Bosnia And Herzegovina: Ćevapi, Bosnian Pot, Burek
  • Bulgaria: Shopska Salad, Banitsa
  • Croatia: Zagorski Štrukli
  • Cyprus: Kleftiko, Souvla
  • Czech Republic: Svíčková, Vepřo Knedlo Zelo
  • Denmark: Smørrebrød, Stegt Flæsk
  • Estonia: Kama
  • Finland: Karjalanpaisti, Lohikeitto, Rye Bread
  • France: Beef Bourguignon, Pot-au-feu, Crème Caramel, Blanquette de veau, Baguette, Steak Frites, Crêpe
  • Germany: Bratwurst, Currywurst, Schnitzel, Schweinshaxe, Döner Kebab, Sauerbraten, Eisbein
  • Greece: Moussaka, Horiatiki, Fasolada, Kokoretsi, Gyros, Souvlaki, Magiritsa
  • Hungary: Goulash
  • Iceland: Hákarl, Lamb
  • Ireland: Irish Stew, Breakfast Roll
  • Italy: Pasta, Pizza
  • Kosovo: Flia
  • Latvia: Jāņi Cheese, Sklandrausis, Layered Rye Bread
  • Liechtenstein: Käsknöpfle
  • Lithuania: Cepelinai, Bigos, Šaltibarščiai
  • Luxembourg: Judd Mat Gaardebounen
  • Malta: Stuffat Tal-Fenek
  • Moldova: Mamaliga, Sarmale
  • Monaco: Barbagiuan
  • Montenegro: Njeguški Pršut
  • Netherlands: Stamppot
  • North Macedonia: Tavče Gravče
  • Norway: Fårikål
  • Poland: Pierogi, Bigos, Kotlet Schabowy, Rosó, Barszczł
  • Portugal: Bacalhau, Cozido À Portuguesa, Sardinha Assada, Caldo Verde, Pastel De Belem
  • Romania: Sarmale, Mămăligă, Mici
  • Russia: Borscht, Chicken Kiev, Beef Stroganoff, Kasha, Pierogi, Pelmeni, Pirozhki, Shchi
  • San Marino: Torta Tre Monti
  • Serbia: Pljeskavica, Ćevapčići, Gibanica, Sarma, Karađorđeva Steak
  • Slovakia: Bryndzové Halušky, Pierogi
  • Slovenia: Štruklji, Idrijski Žlikrofi
  • Spain: Tortilla De Patatas
    o Galicia: Polbo Á Feira
    o Valencia: Paella
    o Catalonia: Pa Amb Tomaquet
  • Sweden: Surströmming, Köttbullar, Ostkaka, Kräftskiva
  • Switzerland: Cervelat, Raclette, Fondue, Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, Muesli, Rösti
  • Ukraine: Borscht, Pierogi, Chicken Kiev, Varenyky
  • United Kingdom: Chicken Tikka Masala, Fish And Chips
    o England: Sunday Roast
    o Cornwall: Cornish Pasty
    o Scotland: Haggis
    o Northern Ireland: Ulster Fry
    o Wales: Cawl


  • American Samoa: Luau Palusami
  • Argentina: Asado, Empanada, Matambre, Locro
  • Bahamas: Crack Conch With Rice And Peas
  • Barbados: Cou-Cou And Flying Fish
  • Belize: Rice And Beans With Stew Chicken
  • Bolivia: Salteñas
  • Brazil: Feijoada
  • Canada: Poutine, Kraft Dinner, Butter Tarts
  • Chile: Empanada, Pastel De Choclo, Marraqueta
  • Colombia: Ajiaco, Bandeja Paisa
  • Costa Rica: Casado, Chifrijo, Gallo Pinto, Olla De Carne
  • Cuba: Ropa Vieja
  • Dominica: Mountain Chicken (Historical), Callaloo
  • Dominican Republic: La Bandera (Rice, Beans, and Meat)
  • Ecuador: Encebollado, Guatitas, Fanesca
  • El Salvador: Pupusa
  • Greenland: Suaasat, Seal
  • Guam: Spam, Kelaguen
  • Guatemala: Pepián
  • Guyana: Pepperpot and Chicken Curry
  • Haiti: Griot, Soup Joumou
  • Honduras: Baleada
  • Jamaica: Ackee And Saltfish, Jerk Chicken
  • Mexico: Taco, Mole Poblano, Chiles En Nogada
  • Nicaragua: Gallo Pinto, Nacatamal, Vigorón
  • Panama: Sancocho
  • Paraguay: Sopa Paraguaya, Chipa Guazú
  • Peru: Ceviche
  • Puerto Rico: Mofongo, Lechon
  • Suriname: Pom
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Callaloo, Doubles, Pelau, Bake And Shark, Roti Wrap
  • United States: No officially acknowledged national food, but suggestions include Hot Dog, Hamburger, Apple Pie, Salisbury Steak, Fried Chicken, Turkey
  • United States Virgin Islands: Funji
  • Uruguay: Chivito
  • Venezuela: Pabellón Criollo, Arepa


  • Australia: Roast Lamb, Meat Pie, Pavlova, Vegemite On Toast
  • Fiji: Fiji Kokoda (Fijian Ceviche)
  • Marshall Islands: Macadamia Nut Pie
  • Micronesia: Pohnpei Pepper (Piper Ponapense)
  • Nauru: Coconut Fish
  • New Zealand: Meat Pie, Bacon And Egg Pie, Lamb, Pavlova
  • Palau: Bat Soup (Fruit Bat Soup)
  • Papua New Guinea: Mumu
  • Samoa: Palusami
  • Solomon Islands: Poi
  • Tonga: Ota Ika
  • Tuvalu: Pulaka
  • Vanuatu: Laplap

Additionally, make sure to check out the commonly asked questions regarding national dishes.

National Dishes FAQs

There are indeed countries that do not have an official national dish. In these nations, certain dishes may become highly significant and are considered de facto national dishes, even though they are not officially designated as such.

While many are traditional, some national dishes have evolved or been modified over time, and others may be relatively modern inventions.

Yes, national dishes can evolve due to changes in societal preferences, availability of ingredients, and outside cultural influences.

Yes, in many countries, national dishes are popular street foods, enjoyed for their convenience and authentic taste.

Adam Sam

Adam Sam

Senior Food and Drink Editor


Food Writer & Recipe Developer, Recipe Tester, Bartender, Cooking-video Maker, Editor In Chief


  • University of Gastronomic Sciences – Pollenzo (Italy) (MA Food Culture, Communication & Marketing)
  • Johnson & Wales University (US) (Baking and Pastry Arts)
  • Professional Bartender at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Adam Sam, an experienced food writer and recipe developer, is passionate about blending diverse culinary traditions, national dishes, and innovative beverages, showcasing his proficiency in both traditional and modern recipe testing.

As the Editor-in-Chief, he elevates culinary content from street food to fine dining, focusing on Western cuisine and types of drinks at, and is professional in creating engaging cooking videos that simplify complex dishes and ingredients.

His passion for food is evident in his writing, where he uniquely merges various cultures, traditions, and contemporary trends, skillfully combining classic recipes with modern cooking methods.

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