A table full of different Lunch foods from Around The World.

The Ultimate Guide To Traditional Lunches Around The World

Are you in a lunchtime rut, munching the same old sandwich day after day? You’re not alone.

Many of us crave variety but often fall back on familiar foods, especially when it’s midday and time is tight.

Yet there’s a whole world of flavors out there waiting to rev up your routine and introduce some excitement to your palate during the most underrated dining moment – lunchtime.

Did you know that what people eat for lunch varies incredibly around the globe? In Japan, bento boxes combine taste with artistry, while in Mexico, tacos al pastor bring bold flavors in a handheld delight.

Our blog sails into this sea of diverse culinary traditions to chart a course for your taste buds’ next adventure.

Prepare yourself; we’re about to embark on an international journey through traditional lunches that will inspire your next midday meal and maybe even transform your lunch game forever.

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional lunches around the world offer a vast array of flavors, from North America’s Philly cheesesteak and Southern barbecue to Africa’s aromatic stews and Asia’s sushi and curries.

  • Meals like Mexico’s chiles en nogada, Brazil’s feijoada, Italy’s spaghetti carbonara, Iran’s Chelo Kebab, and Japan’s bento boxes not only satisfy hunger but also reflect each country’s cultural heritage.

  • Australia melds European techniques with local ingredients for unique dishes such as meat pies and chicken Parmigiana, while Indigenous cuisine adds depth to its food culture.

  • The culinary journey across continents highlights the importance of spices, herbs, fresh produce, and cooking methods in creating traditional lunches that resonate with cultural identities.

  • By incorporating these international recipes into your daily routine at home, you can enjoy a slice of global culture right at your dining table.

Traditional Lunches in Different Regions of the World

A group of people standing in a line at a market.

Discover the diverse and delicious traditional lunches found in North America, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

From hearty American sandwiches to flavorful African stews and aromatic Asian rice dishes, each region offers a unique culinary experience that reflects its rich cultural heritage.

North America

North America’s lunchtime menu is as diverse as its landscape.

Picture biting into a juicy Philly cheesesteak, the savory slices of beef mingling with melted cheese on a fresh hoagie roll – it’s not just food, it’s a piece of American culture!

Head up to Canada and you’ll get cozy with comfort in the form of poutine; those crispy fries loaded with cheese curds and smothered in rich gravy prove that simplicity can be deeply satisfying.

Turn your lunch plate into an adventure across the continent.

Tuck into Southern specialties like collard greens seasoned with spices or dive fork-first into tangy key lime pie under Florida’s sunny skies.

Barbecue masters from Texas to Tennessee slow-cook their meats until they’re tender enough to melt in your mouth, creating flavors that tell tales of tradition passed down through generations.

North America offers every palate an opportunity to explore – don’t miss out on these homegrown delights!

Central and South America

Venturing further south from the bustling cities and BBQ joints of North America, Central and South America greet you with an explosion of flavors that tell stories of tradition and nature.

Here, lunch isn’t just a midday meal; it’s a vibrant celebration on a plate. Imagine yourself in Mexico, savoring authentic chiles en nogada – a dish combining the heat of poblano peppers with the sweetness of pomegranate seeds and walnut sauce.

Each bite is like a fiesta for your taste buds!

Travel down to Brazil and you’ll find feijoada, a hearty stew bursting with black beans, pork, and beef slowly simmered to perfection – it’s comfort food taken to an entirely new level!

Over in Costa Rica, casado plates bring together rice and beans alongside salad, plantains, tortillas—sometimes even spiced up with cilantro or chorizo for those who crave an extra kick.

This patchwork of culinary delights paints Central and South American lunches as dynamic canvases where each country serves its own masterpiece steeped in culture.


A table full of European Lunch Foods on a wooden table.

Europe’s lunch scene is as diverse as its history, with each country offering a unique culinary adventure.

Take Italy, where you can savor the rich flavors of Ragu Alla Bolognese or nibble on an open-faced sandwich in Denmark.

Head over to France for a taste of tradition with their delectable quiches and tartines smeared with creamy brie. Don’t forget Spain, whose seafood paella turns lunch into a festive affair.

Stepping into Greece means indulging in souvlaki wrapped in warm pita bread, while Germany offers hearty bramboráky (potato dumplings) that promise to satisfy any appetite.

Across the continent, from the street food vendors selling aromatic German sausages to cozy cafés serving Swedish meatballs drenched in gravy alongside lingonberry jam, Europe invites you on a mouthwatering journey through its multitude of lunches that are anything but ordinary.

Middle East

The spice market in marrakech, morocco.

The Middle East boasts a rich culinary heritage, characterized by an array of aromatic spices and bold flavors.

Dishes such as falafel, hummus, and kebabs are staples in this region.

These savory delights often feature ingredients like chickpeas, tahini, yogurt, and lamb or chicken.

The use of sumptuous blends of herbs and spices like coriander, cumin, turmeric, garlic, and saffron create the distinctive taste that defines Middle Eastern cuisine.

Moreover the use of ingredients such as eggplant (aubergine), pomegranate seeds, dates and dried fruits adds depth to many dishes.

Whether it’s the tangy flavor of labneh or the nuttiness of tahini-based sweets like halva – exploring Middle Eastern cuisine promises a delightful adventure for your palate.


Moving on to the diverse culinary landscape of Africa, this region boasts a rich tapestry of flavors and ingredients that reflect its cultural heritage.

From the aromatic stews of North Africa to the spicy and flavorful dishes found in West Africa, African cuisine is characterized by its use of bold spices, fresh produce, and unique cooking techniques.

Traditional African lunch options often include hearty stews served with staple foods like couscous or rice, offering a satisfying and flavorful midday meal.

The vibrant colors and complex flavors found in African dishes are sure to captivate your taste buds, providing an exciting culinary journey through this culturally diverse continent.

In addition to savory dishes, Africa also offers delectable sweet treats such as pastries made with coconut milk or fruits like pineapple buns from South Africa.

The variety and depth of traditional African lunches provide a glimpse into the continent’s rich history and gastronomic traditions that continue to inspire food lovers around the world.


An asian street food market at night.

Moving from the diverse flavors of Africa to Asia, prepare to embark on a culinary journey through a continent rich in tradition and taste.

With countries like Japan, India, China, and Vietnam contributing their unique dishes to global cuisine, Asian traditional lunches offer an array of flavors that range from savory miso soup and sushi in Japan to the aromatic spices of Indian curries.

In Asia, you can savor classic dishes such as Chinese dim sum or indulge in steamed bao buns filled with delectable fillings.

Whether it’s Korean barbecue or Thai green curry – Asian traditional lunches are an explosion of vibrant flavors that captivate the senses.


Moving from Asia to Australia, we find a diverse range of traditional lunch options. With its rich culinary heritage influenced by various cultures, Australian cuisine showcases an array of delicious dishes.

From the iconic meat pie, filled with savory fillings like minced beef or steak and mushroom, to the beloved Aussie BBQ featuring grilled meats and seafood, Australians take pride in their hearty and flavorsome lunches.

Additionally, a popular fusion dish known as the “parma” or chicken Parmigiana combines breaded and fried chicken topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese – offering a unique blend of Italian and Australian flavors.

In addition to these classic favorites, Australia’s coastal location lends itself to an abundance of fresh seafood selections such as prawns (shrimp) and barramundi which are often enjoyed in sandwiches or salads.

Detailed Look at Traditional Lunches in Specific Countries

Explore the unique flavors of traditional lunches in countries like Japan, Mexico, Italy, and more to discover a world of culinary delights waiting to be savored. Dive into the rich cultural tapestry of global cuisines and tantalize your taste buds with an array of delectable dishes from around the world.

United States of America

The United States offers a diverse array of traditional lunch options, showcasing the country’s varied cultural influences.

From classic American comfort foods like grilled cheese and tomato soup to regional favorites such as New England clam chowder and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, the USA’s culinary landscape is rich and flavorful.

Indulge in Southern-style fried chicken or savor a hearty bowl of Texas chili, representing the vibrant tapestry of flavors that make up American cuisine.

You can also enjoy iconic dishes like Chicago-style deep-dish pizza or indulge in Louisiana’s famous po’ boy sandwiches, highlighting the unique gastronomic heritage found across different states.

A kitchen with classic American comfort foods on a table.


One dish that represents Canada’s culinary heritage is poutine – a hearty and indulgent combination of crispy fries, squeaky cheese curds, and rich gravy.

This iconic comfort food has gained international recognition for its delicious blend of flavors and textures.

Another Canadian favorite is butter tarts, featuring a flaky pastry filled with a gooey mixture of butter, sugar, syrup, and eggs.

These sweet treats offer a taste of Canadian tradition at every bite.

As we explore the varied landscapes of traditional lunches around the world, our next stop takes us to Mexico where vibrant flavors await in their diverse range of dishes.


Mexico boasts a rich and diverse culinary heritage, with traditional lunch dishes that tantalize the taste buds.

From savory mole sauces to zesty chiles en nogada, Mexican cuisine is a vibrant tapestry of flavors and textures.

Tantalizing dishes such as adobar showcase the country’s use of bold spices and marinades, while cold beet soup introduces cooling refreshment on warm days.

The influence of tomatoes, soy sauce, and matcha in Mexican cooking reflects its openness to global flavors while staying true to its roots.

Incorporating ingredients like bacon and tofu into classic recipes adds an exciting twist, highlighting Mexico’s ability to adapt and innovate within its culinary traditions.

Whether it’s savoring mole or indulging in chiles en nogada, Mexico offers an array of delectable lunch options that captivate both locals and visitors alike.


A buffet of Brazilian foods on a wooden table.

Coming from Mexico, let’s head south to Brazil, where buffets by the pound are a common sight.

This traditional dining concept allows patrons to serve themselves and pay based on the weight of their food selection, offering an array of Brazilian dishes like feijoada (a hearty black bean stew with pork) and churrasco (barbecue).

The vibrant blend of indigenous, African, and Portuguese culinary influences in Brazilian cuisine results in flavorful and diverse lunch options that are not only satisfying but also rich in cultural heritage.

Brazilian cuisine is known for its use of tropical fruits like açaí and passion fruit as well as ingredients such as cassava flour and palm oil.

With distinct regional variations across the country, lunchtime in Brazil presents a colorful mosaic of flavors that reflect the nation’s multicultural identity.


Transitioning from the bold and lively flavors of Brazilian cuisine, we move on to Italy, where food is not just a meal but an art form.

Italian cuisine is revered for its simplicity and use of fresh, high-quality ingredients that celebrate the country’s rich culinary traditions.

From the creamy indulgence of spaghetti carbonara to the soul-warming comfort of molé, each dish holds a story steeped in history and cultural significance.

In Italy, it’s all about savoring life’s simple pleasures – whether it’s enjoying a crispy thin-crust pizza in Naples or relishing the aromatic richness of homemade ragu alla bolognese in Bologna.


A table full of French desserts & pastries.

France boasts a rich culinary heritage, famed for its exquisite pastries, delectable cheeses, and world-renowned wines.

The French lunch tradition often includes a leisurely multi-course affair, typically beginning with an apéritif followed by an appetizer like escargot or pâté.

The main course usually features classics such as coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon, served with a side of crusty baguette and perhaps a refreshing salad drizzled in tangy vinaigrette.

To round off the indulgent meal, a selection of decadent desserts like crème brûlée or tarte Tatin may be offered alongside espresso or digestifs like Cognac.


Greece boasts a rich and diverse culinary heritage, with its traditional lunch offerings reflecting the country’s vibrant history and culture.

From iconic dishes like moussaka, a hearty casserole of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce, to the beloved gyro—a pita wrap filled with succulent grilled meat, salad, and yogurt-based tzatziki sauce—Greek cuisine is an exquisite blend of flavors and textures that delight the senses.

The indulgence continues with spanakopita, a savory pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese, as well as dolmades: tender grape leaves stuffed with a tantalizing mixture of rice, herbs, and often ground meat.

Sensory descriptions come into play when savoring baklava—a delectable dessert comprising layers of flaky phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey or syrup.

Spain and Portugal

People shopping at an outdoor Portuguese food market.

Spanish and Portuguese cuisine boasts a rich variety of flavors, often influenced by the countries’ coastal locations.

Spain is famous for paella – a savory rice dish cooked with seafood, chicken, or vegetables.

Another Spanish favorite is gazpacho, a refreshing cold soup made from tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.

Portugal’s culinary delights include bacalhau à brás – a tasty salted codfish dish mixed with potatoes and eggs.

Pastéis de nata are delightful Portuguese custard tarts that make for a satisfying sweet treat.

The vibrant food scene in both countries also features tapas (small shared plates), churros con chocolate (warm fried-dough pastry with dipping chocolate), pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus), caldo verde soup (kale and potato soup), and piri piri chicken.


Iranian cuisine is known for its rich and aromatic flavors, often incorporating a variety of herbs and spices such as saffron, turmeric, and dried limes.

A staple dish in Iran is “Chelo Kebab,” consisting of grilled meat served with steamed rice to create a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Another popular Iranian dish is “Ghormeh Sabzi,” a fragrant herb stew made with parsley, cilantro, and fenugreek cooked with lamb or beef.

In addition to savory dishes, Iranian cuisine also features delightful sweets like “Sohan,” a traditional sweet brittle made from wheat sprout extract and honey.

An essential component of many Iranian meals is flatbread known as “Naan-e-barbari” or “Naan-e-sangak,” which perfectly complements the hearty stews and kebabs that are synonymous with Persian dining.

South Africa

Transitioning from the rich and varied flavors of Persian cuisine, we now delve into the vibrant culinary landscape of South Africa.

This diverse country is renowned for its fusion of indigenous African dishes with influences from Malay, Indian, and European cooking styles.

One iconic dish that encapsulates this blend is none other than bobotie, a fragrant spiced minced meat custard topped with an egg mixture and often accompanied by yellow rice or chutney.

Another popular delight is bunny chow – a hollowed-out loaf filled with curry that originates from the Indian community in Durban – making it an enticing choice for those craving robust flavors with a distinctive twist.

Revelling in South Africa’s coastal location, seafood plays an integral part in their traditional fare.

The beloved snoek fish braai showcases the mastery of open flame grilling combined with aromatic local herbs and spices, resulting in a delightful fusion of smoky goodness.

Not to be overlooked are mogodu (tripe), pap en vleis (maize porridge served with barbecued meat), as well as potjiekos – a slow-cooked stew simmered to perfection over an open fire.


A group of Moroccan people sitting around a table eating food.

Transitioning from South Africa to Morocco, let’s explore the diverse and flavorful cuisine of Morocco.

Known for its rich and aromatic dishes, Moroccan food is a delightful blend of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian, and Berber flavors.

Influenced by the country’s history and geography, Moroccan cuisine features staple ingredients like couscous, tagine (a slow-cooked stew), preserved lemons, olives, and an array of spices including cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, and saffron.

Savory yet sweet dishes like pastilla (a flaky pastry filled with meat or seafood) exemplify the fusion of flavors that Morocco is globally renowned for.

Moroccan meals are often shared in a communal setting where families come together to enjoy an assortment of appetizers known as “mezze” before indulging in the main course.

Some popular traditional dishes include hearty lamb tagine with dried fruits such as apricots or prunes; fragrant couscous topped with tender vegetables and succulent meat; and harira soup served during Ramadan celebrations.


Japan provides a unique lunch experience with its iconic bento box. These compartmentalized containers hold a variety of dishes, from rice and sushi to pickled vegetables and protein like fish or meat.

The artful arrangement in the bento box not only provides a visual feast but also offers a balanced meal that reflects Japan’s culinary heritage and attention to detail.

One popular variation is the ekiben, which are bento boxes sold at train stations across Japan.

Each region features its own specialty ekiben, showcasing local flavors and ingredients such as seafood from coastal areas or mountain vegetables.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong boasts a rich culinary tradition with influences from Cantonese, British, and other Asian cuisines.

One of the iconic dishes is dim sum, featuring bite-sized portions like steamed dumplings, buns, and rice rolls often served in bamboo steamers.

Another favorite is roast goose with its succulent meat and crispy skin. For those craving street food, egg waffles made from eggs, flour, sugar combined to form a sweet treat that’s popular among locals and visitors alike.

Moving on to the next destination on our global culinary journey — China!


A table full of asian food on a wooden table.

In China, a traditional lunch often includes a variety of dishes such as stir-fried vegetables, rice or noodles, and savory dumplings.

Popular ingredients in Chinese lunches include bok choy, tofu, pork, and shrimp.

It’s common to enjoy a flavorful hot soup alongside the main dishes to complete the meal.

When exploring traditional Chinese lunches, you’ll find that each region boasts its own specialties.

For instance, Cantonese cuisine features dim sum and roasted meats like char siu, while Sichuan cuisine is known for its bold and spicy flavors in dishes like mapo tofu and Kung Pao chicken.

From the aromatic flavors of Shanghai to the diverse offerings of Beijing’s culinary scene – there’s an abundance of regional delights waiting to be savored across this vast country.


India boasts a rich and diverse culinary heritage, offering an array of traditional lunch options that vary from region to region.

Influenced by centuries-old traditions and cultural practices, Indian cuisine is characterized by aromatic spices, flavorful curries, and a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

From the iconic street food like samosas and chaat to elaborate thali meals featuring an assortment of small dishes served on a metal platter, India’s lunch offerings reflect the country’s vibrant flavors and culinary ingenuity.

Each state in India has its own distinct specialties, such as biryani in Hyderabad, dhokla in Gujarat, dosa in South India, or butter chicken in Punjab.

With flavors ranging from mild to fiery hot and with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and bold spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and garlic; Indian lunches offer a sensory explosion for any palate.


Kenya boasts a rich culinary tradition influenced by the diverse ethnic groups within the country.

Staple foods like ugali, a maize-based dish, and nyama choma, grilled meat, are commonly enjoyed for lunch.

Kenyan cuisine often features a vibrant array of flavors with spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric adding depth to dishes.

Fresh fruits like mangoes and bananas are popular accompaniments to meals while traditional Kenyan tea is a must-have beverage at lunchtime.

Exploring Kenya’s traditional lunches offers an opportunity to savor unique flavors and experience the cultural richness of East Africa’s gastronomy.

Next up – Russia’s diverse culinary offerings beckon with their tantalizing flavors and distinctive recipes.


Russian cuisine is rich and diverse, reflecting the country’s vast geographical landscape.

Popular dishes include pelmeni, savory dumplings filled with meat or mushrooms, and borscht, a hearty beet soup often served with a dollop of sour cream.

Blini, thin pancakes often enjoyed with caviar or smoked salmon, are also a staple in Russian cuisine.

Additionally, smetana (sour cream) is frequently used to add richness to various dishes such as soups and stews.

Moreover, traditional Russian lunches can feature zakuski – an assortment of appetizers like pickled vegetables, cured meats, and cheeses that are often paired with vodka or kvass.


Having explored the delectable offerings of Russian cuisine, let’s now journey to Spain and Portugal.

These countries boast an array of mouthwatering dishes that cater to a variety of tastes.

Traditional Spanish fare includes paella valenciana, acclaimed for its delightful marriage of saffron-infused rice, fragrant vegetables, and succulent meat or seafood.

Another iconic dish is paella de mariscos, an exquisite medley featuring a bountiful selection of fresh seafood from the surrounding seas.

Venturing further into the Spanish culinary scene, you’ll encounter notable specialties like flan – a luscious custard dessert highlighted by caramel notes.

Cacik and talattouri are refreshing dips that showcase Middle Eastern influences in Spanish gastronomy.


An Outdoor spice market in Turkey.

Continuing our culinary journey, let’s now explore the rich tapestry of flavors and dishes offered by Turkey.

From succulent kebabs to aromatic pilafs and creamy hummus, Turkish cuisine delights the senses with its diverse array of dishes.

Influenced by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ingredients as well as Central Asian traditions, Turkish cuisine boasts an impressive variety of flavorful stews, grilled meats, and delectable pastries.

One cannot miss indulging in baklava – a sweet treat made of layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and soaked in honey or syrup when experiencing the delightful tastes of Turkey.

With its emphasis on fresh produce, fragrant spices like sumac and cumin, alongside tantalizing alternative versions of flatbreads such as pide or lahmacun; Turkey offers a vibrant food culture that is sure to leave every food enthusiast satisfied.


Vietnam is renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine that reflects the country’s rich history and culture.

This Southeast Asian nation boasts a wide array of delectable dishes, with a significant emphasis on fresh herbs, aromatic spices, and balanced flavors.

Pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup infused with fragrant broth and tender slices of beef or chicken, is a staple meal in Vietnam.

Another iconic dish is banh mi, a delightful fusion of French colonial influence and Vietnamese culinary traditions – featuring crispy baguette stuffed with savory fillings like pork belly, paté, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.

The vibrant street food culture in Vietnam offers an abundance of tantalizing treats such as spring rolls known as goi cuon or bahn xeo – savory rice flour pancakes filled with shrimp, bean sprouts, and herbs.

With each bite bursting with zesty freshness and layers of flavor complexity,.

Popular Lunches Around The World

Explore the diverse and delicious world of popular lunches around the globe, from Japan’s bento boxes to England’s grab-and-go sandwiches.

Japan: Bento box

Japan’s iconic bento box is a meticulously arranged meal in a single container, showcasing the country’s culinary artistry and emphasis on balance and variety.

These carefully curated boxes are filled with an assortment of delights such as rice, pickled vegetables, fresh fish or grilled meats, tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet), and other small indulgences like umeboshi (pickled plums) or edamame.

Every element is thoughtfully prepared with precision to create not only a delicious meal but an aesthetically pleasing experience.

The bento box tradition embodies the Japanese values of simplicity, harmony, and beauty in both taste and presentation.

Building upon centuries-old traditions, modern bento boxes also reflect contemporary Japanese cuisine trends while staying true to their cultural roots.

Whether enjoyed for lunch at a bustling office or savored during leisurely outings like hanami picnics beneath cherry blossoms, the bento box serves as both sustenance for the body and nourishment for the soul.

India: Tiffin box

Transitioning from the compact and compartmentalized bento box of Japan, we journey to India, where the tiffin box plays a similar role in transporting and organizing meals.

Tiffin boxes are stacked stainless steel containers that hold multiple dishes and are typically used by office workers and school children for lunch.

Tiffin boxes often contain a variety of Indian specialties such as roti (flatbread), dal (lentil curry), sabzi (vegetable dish), rice, pickles, and sometimes dessert.

The convenience of carrying multiple dishes in one compact container makes it a popular choice for those who prefer homemade meals or want to enjoy fresh, warm food during their lunch break.

Costa Rica: Casado

Costa Rica‘s traditional lunch, “casado,” offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Typically consisting of rice, black beans, plantains, salad, and a choice of protein such as fish, chicken, or beef.

The word “casado” translates to “married” in English but in this context refers to the marriage of various elements on one plate.

This simple yet hearty meal is a staple in Costa Rican cuisine and reflects the country’s emphasis on fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors.

Enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, casado captures the essence of Costa Rican culinary traditions with its wholesome simplicity and satisfying taste.

England: Grab and go sandwiches

In England, grab and go sandwiches are a staple lunch option for busy city-dwellers.

These convenient meals typically consist of various fillings such as classic combinations like ham and cheese or popular choices like coronation chicken or prawn mayonnaise, sandwiched between soft bread slices.

Perfect for those in need of a quick and satisfying bite, these sandwiches can be found in local delis, bakeries, and supermarkets across the country.

Additionally, English grab and go sandwiches often feature regional favorites such as the ploughman’s lunch-inspired varieties that incorporate ingredients like mature cheddar cheese, pickle relish, and crisp salad greens.

Brazil: Buffets by the pound

In Brazil, buffets by the pound are a popular dining option that allows patrons to select from a wide array of dishes and pay based on the weight of their food.

This unique concept gives diners the freedom to choose small portions of various items or load up on their favorite selections, providing an interactive and customizable dining experience.

At these buffets, guests can savor traditional Brazilian fare such as feijoada (a hearty black bean stew with pork), picanha (prime cut beef), farofa (toasted manioc flour), and pastels (crispy filled pastries).

The buffet format encourages exploration and sampling of different flavors, making it an ideal way to immerse oneself in the rich culinary heritage of Brazil.

Vietnam: Banh Mi

Banh Mi, Vietnam’s iconic sandwich, is a fusion of French and Vietnamese culinary influences.

This flavorful creation typically consists of a crusty baguette filled with various ingredients such as pork belly, pate, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs like cilantro and basil, and mayonnaise.

The harmonious blend of savory and tangy flavors makes Banh Mi an absolute delight for the taste buds.

Whether it’s enjoyed as a quick lunch on the go or savored leisurely, this beloved Vietnamese dish never fails to impress with its delectable combination of textures and tastes.

The beauty of Banh Mi lies in its versatility – from meat lovers to vegetarians; there are endless options to tailor this delectable treat according to one’s preferences.

The delightful interplay between the crispy outside of the baguette and the tender fillings creates a satisfying texture with each bite.

Jamaica: Patty and coco bread

Jamaica boasts a mouthwatering culinary delight known as patty and coco bread. The patty, a savory pastry filled with spiced meat or vegetable filling, offers a burst of flavor in every bite.

This handheld treat is often paired with coco bread, slightly sweet soft bread that serves as the perfect accompaniment to the rich and flavorful patty.

Together, this iconic duo represents the fusion of African, European, and indigenous influences in Jamaican cuisine, showcasing the island’s diverse flavors and cultural heritage.

The combination of flaky pastry, aromatic spices, and pillowy-soft bread creates an irresistible harmony of textures and tastes that lingers on the palate long after each indulgent bite.

Traditional Dishes You Can Make at Home

Explore the world of traditional dishes from different countries and learn how to make them in your own kitchen.

From Moroccan couscous to Canadian poutine, there are plenty of delicious recipes to try at home that will transport you to far-off lands with just one bite.

Couscous (Morocco)

Couscous is a staple dish in Moroccan cuisine, made from steamed and fluffed granules of durum wheat. It’s often served with a flavorful stew of meat and vegetables, creating a hearty and comforting meal.

The preparation process involves rolling moistened semolina wheat into tiny beads before steaming them over simmering water, resulting in light, fluffy couscous that’s perfect for soaking up the rich flavors of the accompanying stew.

This traditional dish reflects the influence of Berber, Arab, and Mediterranean culinary traditions on Moroccan food culture.

Moroccan couscous showcases the vibrant spices and aromatic ingredients common in North African cooking like cumin, cinnamon, saffron, ginger, paprika, as well as dried fruits such as dates and apricots.

Bobotie (South Africa)

Bobotie is a South African dish with spiced minced meat, eggs, and milk.

The blend of flavors creates a savory and slightly sweet taste that’s characteristic of the region’s cuisine.

The dish is often accompanied by yellow rice, chutney, or sliced banana to balance its rich flavors.

Ragu Alla Bolognese (Italy)

Ragu Alla Bolognese is a classic Italian meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy.

This rich and flavorful sauce typically includes a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal cooked with tomatoes, wine, and aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery.

The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together into a comforting and hearty topping for pasta dishes.

In Italy, Ragu Alla Bolognese is commonly served with tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta rather than spaghetti due to its thick texture that pairs well with wider noodles.

The dish is often finished off with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top for an extra layer of savory goodness.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds by exploring this iconic Italian dish!

Poutine (Canada)

Poutine, a quintessential Canadian dish, consists of crispy french fries smothered in rich gravy and topped with melty cheese curds.

This indulgent comfort food has gained popularity far beyond Canada’s borders and is now celebrated worldwide for its irresistible combination of textures and flavors.

Poutine can be found everywhere from casual diners to upscale restaurants, showcasing its versatility as a beloved staple of Canadian cuisine.

The origins of poutine are steeped in history and folklore, with various regions claiming to have invented the dish.

Despite its humble ingredients, poutine is a symbol of Canadian culinary prowess and ingenuity.

Jerk Chicken (Jamaica)

Jerk chicken, a staple of Jamaican cuisine, features succulent pieces of chicken marinated in a fiery blend of spices.

The marinade typically includes scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, and various other herbs and spices.

After the marination process, the chicken is grilled over pimento wood for that signature smoky flavor.

The result is tender and flavorful meat with a perfect balance of heat and aromatic spices.

Serving jerk chicken often involves pairing it with traditional side dishes like rice and peas or festival—a sweet fried dumpling made from cornmeal.

This mouthwatering dish showcases the bold flavors and vibrant culinary identity that Jamaica is known for worldwide.

Chiles en Nogada (Mexico)

Transitioning from the bold flavors of Jamaican jerk chicken, let’s explore the vibrant and complex dish known as Chiles en Nogada from Mexico.

This traditional Mexican dish features poblano chilies stuffed with a savory mixture of ground meat, fruits, nuts, and spices.

The peppers are then coated in a creamy walnut sauce, representing the green, white, and red colors of the Mexican flag.

Topped with pomegranate seeds for a burst of sweetness and crunch, this dish is a celebration of Mexico’s rich culinary heritage.

The combination of sweet and savory flavors in Chiles en Nogada creates an unforgettable dining experience that captures the essence of Mexican cuisine.

With each bite offering a medley of contrasting textures and tastes – from tender filling to velvety sauce to juicy pomegranate seeds – it’s no wonder that this iconic dish holds such cultural significance in Mexico.

Ceviche (Peru)

Ceviche, a beloved Peruvian dish, consists of fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, cilantro, and chili peppers.

The acidity of the lime juice effectively “cooks” the fish, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish that is often served with sweet potatoes or corn.

Ceviche is not only delicious but also reflects Peru’s coastal cuisine and its use of the abundant seafood found along the country’s Pacific coastline.

As a popular dish in Peru and beyond, ceviche has gained international recognition for its vibrant flavors and refreshing qualities.

Furthermore, it showcases different regional versions as variations can be found throughout Latin America, each one embracing unique local ingredients to create their own twist on this classic seafood delicacy.


A table with bowls of Rice dishes on it.

After exploring traditional lunches from various countries, you now have a diverse collection of recipes to try at home.

Discover the simplicity of creating these authentic dishes for a global culinary experience.

Embrace the practicality and deliciousness of these traditional favorites in your own kitchen.

By implementing these recipes, you can savor flavors from around the world without leaving your home.

Unleash your inner chef and open doors to new cultural experiences through food!

Join us on this adventurous culinary journey as we bring the world’s flavors into your dining room.


1. What’s a must-try dish for traditional Persian food at lunch?

You’ve got to try Mansaf, it’s a mouthwatering dish that’ll give you a real taste of Persian cuisine!

2. Can I find something unique in South African dishes for lunch?

Absolutely! Chow down on some chowda or indulge in shish barak; these South African delights will not disappoint.

3. Is there a classic American food perfect for lunchtime?

Oh, yes! Grab yourself a Philly cheesesteak from Netta Cheta’s on Mill—the gooey cheese and savory steak combo make the ultimate American lunch.

4. I’m curious about German cuisine; what’s typical for their midday meal?

German lunches are hearty—think kartoffelpuffer (crispy potato pancakes) or kaiserschmarrn (fluffy shredded pancake). They’re sure to hit the spot!

5. What would be on the menu if I wanted an authentic Japanese breakfast for lunch?

Japanese breakfasts showcase delicate flavors with dishes like nasi lemak—it’s light yet satisfying and perfect to kickoff your afternoon right.

6. Could you recommend any Middle Eastern ingredients that liven up open-faced sandwiches?

Sure thing! Slather your open sandwiches with flavorful tarator sauce or sprinkle some aromatic spices – they’ll transform any plain sandwich into an exotic treat.