"Official" National Dishes?

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Hi everyone,

Hopefully a simple question....

I'm a writer and am researching the National Dish of every country for an assignment. Are there in fact "Official" National Dishes for each country, and if so, is there a reputable source I may refer to so I can find them? I have assumed with all of the research I've done so far that not every country has an official dish, but they at least have one or two popular dishes that their culture is known for. Are there certain sources or websites that you can recommend?

If anyone (especially if you are a chef or are in the culinary field) can shed some light on this for me, it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks /img/vbsmilies/smilies//smile.gif
 
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I always hear things like kimchi is the national dish of the Phillipines  or hot dogs are the national dish of America or Chicken Tikka Masala has taken over in England as the national dish, but it is up in the air a bit I think.  Every National Dish has a compatriot or two. like Apple pie for America or Roast Beef and gravy for England or Pho for the Phillipines . Not to mention the "Regional National" arguments one will get from people in the same country. Like which apple pie is best, oy.

I am curious and will poke around the web but I have never heard of a single Official List
 
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Gunnar, maybe I've been "mislead", but isn't Kimchi more often related to Korea and Pho to Viet Nam? I always think of Pancit and Lumpia when someone mentions the Philippines, Haggis when someone mentions Scotland, etc.
 
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Apple pie may be claimed as 'Mom's' and therefore American - but, guess what....?  It originated here in Europe -- there are French, German, English and Scots versions..

Haggis, whilst still being eaten in Scotland has versions around the globe.

Scotland is a culture rich in culinary tradition (I know that's hard for foreigners to believe) but our close ties with France in the middle ages means we have versions of many French dishes - even our utensils have a french flavour:  our ashet is from the French 'assiette'.

In other words; it's HARD to use dishes as 'belonging' to one country.

Forgot to add SOME my national dishes

Cullen Skink

Scotch Broth

Scottish lentil soup

Cock a leekie soup

Partan breen

Venison

casserole

haunch of..

Capercaillie

Grouse

Aberdeen Angus beef

collops

steak

casserole

Highland lamb

gigot chops

leg of lamb

Puddings

Cranachan

Tipsy Laird

Apple Pie

Dundee cake

Parliament biscuits

shortbread

black bun

Christmas cakes

Oatcakes

Scones - of all kinds, including bran, drop, sultana

Tattie scones

Cheese scones
 
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Gunnar, maybe I've been "mislead", but isn't Kimchi more often related to Korea and Pho to Viet Nam? I always think of Pancit and Lumpia when someone mentions the Philippines, Haggis when someone mentions Scotland, etc.
You may very well be right. I am more throwing those out as examples as, quite simply, I am not sure.  Quite frankly I think of meatloaf as a national dish for America but that doesn't make it official.
 
Well, a "quick goole search for "National Dishes" led to http://www.thegutsygourmet.net/national-dish.html

no official stamp on this either. doesn't mean they aren''t classic regional dishes but are they "Officially" The National Dish? or just what a lot of the locals eat?
 
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One dish that might be peculiarly American is roasted turkey (for instance, Thanksgiving.)  Not sure other nations enjoy corn-on-the-cob as much as we do either. 
 
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Originally Posted by HomeCook61  
One dish that might be peculiarly American is roasted turkey (for instance, Thanksgiving.)  Not sure other nations enjoy corn-on-the-cob as much as we do either. 
HomeGirl, when you say "American," I hope its continental and includes both Canada and Mexico as well as the US.  Not your fault.  The idea of an "official, national dish" doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. 

BDL
 
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Ishbel,

You have to explain "puddings" to me.  Is that just the word that you use for desserts or sweet foods?  Because when I think of pudding I think of chocolate pudding, rice pudding, tapioca pudding.  But when it comes to Great Britain I hear the word pudding associated with bread rolls, sausages, and blood.  I'm so confused!!
 
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Hi Guys,

Yeah, I looked at that "Gutsygourmet" list.  I had to see it for myself, and yes, there it is under Canada....poutine.  Oh dear.  Mind you I'd have a hard time finding something more identified with Canada (butter tarts? tourtière? rappi pie?).  Either way the text piece for that entry would be generously described as hokum.  

Anyway  this raises the real problem with pinning down a national dish:  the difference between the view within and without.  These sort of "titles" are more for people outside of the country in question and reflect a romantic idea over facts.  Nothing wrong with that, as a chef I'm selling romantic ideas on a plate.

--Al 
 
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Ishbel,

You have to explain "puddings" to me.  Is that just the word that you use for desserts or sweet foods?  Because when I think of pudding I think of chocolate pudding, rice pudding, tapioca pudding.  But when it comes to Great Britain I hear the word pudding associated with bread rolls, sausages, and blood.  I'm so confused!!
/img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

You make me laugh Koukouvagia.  especially the blood. 

Apart from blood puddings and other such stuff, I believe in the UK they use "pudding" to mean a sweet course at the end of a meal.  While in the states we mean a cooked cream desert, usually very simple, like blancmange or pastry cream, served in a dish and not in any sort of casing.  Or in some cases to a steamed pudding like plum pudding or occasionally something similar like bread pudding.   But I only gather that from the contexts, hearing people saying "oh you made pudding" when they come for dinner or from reading british magazines.  I'm curious to what Ishbel's precise definition is. 

Just as a curiosity, my mother in law called any cake or pie of any kind a "pizza"

She'd say when i brought a really nice chocolate cake with frosting, "Oh, you made a pizza!" 
 
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The word 'pudding' in the UK seems to be a moveable feast!

We have savoury puddings, like Yorkshire puddings, plum puddings (aka christmas puddings), white pudding, black pudding, steak&kidney pudding - but then sweet puddings too, such as bread and butter pudding, steamed puddings, such as spotted dick or syrup sponge puddings.

We often refer to the dessert course of a meal as pudding.

PS - the more I type the word 'pudding' the odder it appears!
 
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There are many definitions depending on the country.The first I could find was a mixture of flour and suet(meat fat) that was eaten on 18th. century ships. The word seems to stem from the word' Boudin' which is French derived and means small sausage which was encased in a starch and steamed or baked..Blood has also been used as a base for a pudding concoction as when heated the protein binds and congeals itself and whatever else is put in it..
 
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In Belgium we don't have an official recognized dish as such, but a big number of very well known dishes that are recognized as typical Belgian.

Just to mention a few;

- frites! Served as is, or with a steak or with mussels....

- stoverij, better known as... carbonnades flamandes

- witloof gratin, or, chicon gratin in french; braized Belgian endives (yumm) rolled in cooked ham, covered with bechamel, cheese and grill until nicely brown

- hutsepot, or a stew very similar to Irish stew

- tomate crevette; hollowed tomatoe filled with a mixture of northseashrimp (see following line) mixed in a bit of mayo. Oh, and frites of course.

Also in summer; garnalen met Rodenbach; northsea gray shrimp= cooked on board of the fishing ship in seawater just a few hours before eating them. Have it on a sunny terrasse, peel shrimp one by one and have a Rodenbachbeer, maybe a few more,  to wash it down. Summery delight!

Also shrimp croquettes.

- stoemp (pronounce "stoomp" in english); mashed potatoes +mashed or carrots, or spinach, or sprouts, or savoy, or endives... have a nice panfried saucisse or any pork with it.
 
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Ed, Ishbel, Koukouvagia, siduri, and anyone else who cares,

Not bad Ed.  But... Maybe not French, and going back a lot further than the 18th C. 

Here's part of the entry from the OED (which you've pretty much got to take as the ultimate authority on etymology).  I'll give a couple of their primary definitions and examples as they seem to relate.  Be patient when you read this, it's the OED for God's sake.  To cut to the chase a little, you can see says that the derivation going beyond middle English (ME) and the connection with French in either way is uncertain..
pudding  [...] n. Forms: 3­4 poding, 4­6 podyng, (6 -ynge), puddyng; 5 podding, -yng, (6 -ynge); poodyng; puddingh; 5­6 puddynge; 6 pooding, pooddyng, Sc. puding; 6­ pudding, (6 -inge, 6­9 dial. and vulgar pudden, -in, 8 puden).
[ME. poding, puddyng: derivation uncertain: see Note below.]
I. 1. a. The stomach or one of the entrails of a pig, sheep, or other animal, stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, suet, oatmeal, seasoning, etc., boiled and kept till needed; a kind of sausage: for different varieties, see black, hog’s, white pudding. Now chiefly Sc. and dial.
c1305 Land Cokayne 59 þe pinnes beÞ fat podinges Rich met to princez and kinges.
1377 Langl. P. Pl. B. xiii. 62 He eet many sondry metes, mortrewes and puddynges.
c1430 Two Cookery-bks. 42 Puddyng of purpaysse..putte Þis in Þe Gutte of Þe purpays.
c1440 Promp. Parv. 220/2 Hagas, puddynge (S. hakkys, puddyngys).
[Note: Þ is a pronounciation symbolf for the "th" sound.  It's actually a pictogram of the tongue between the teeth.  The excerpt, Puddyng of purpaysse..putte Þis in Þe Gutte of Þe purpays, would be rendered into modern English as, "Pudding of porpoise:  Put this in the gut of porpoise."]

But Wait!  There's More!!!
II. 6. A preparation of food of a soft or moderately firm consistency, in which the ingredients, animal or vegetable, are either mingled in a farinaceous basis (chiefly of flour), or are enclosed in a farinaceous ‘crust’ (cf. dumpling), and cooked by boiling or steaming. Preparations of batter, milk and eggs, rice, sago, tapioca, and other farinaceous substances, suitably seasoned, and cooked by baking, are now also called puddings.
The earliest use (connecting this with 1) apparently implied the boiling of the composition in a bag or cloth (pudding-bag or -cloth), as is still often done; but the term has been extended to similar preparations otherwise boiled or steamed, and finally to things baked, so that its meaning and application are now rather indefinite.
a. with a and pl., as an individual thing. Now usu. in British English, the sweet course following the main course of a meal, ‘afters’.
1544 T. Phaer Regim. Lyfe (1545) 80 b, Take oyle of roses, crumes of bread, yolkes of egges, & cowes mylke, wyth a litle saffron, seeth them togyther a lytle as ye wolde make a pudding.
1589 Rider Bibl. Schol. 1162 A pudding made of milke, cheese, and herbs, moretum, herbosum moretum.
1692 Tryon Good House-w. ix. 75 In Puddens it is usual to mix Flower, Eggs, Milk, Raisins or Currants, and sometimes both Spice, Suet, the Fat or Marrow of Flesh, and several other things.
Getting back to the origin of the word,
[Note. ME. poding, mod. pudding, and F. †bodin, boudin, have so many points in common that, but for the difficulties of form, they would at once be identified as the same word. They both appear first in the 13th century, had at first exactly the same sense (still retained in Sc.), and agree to a great extent in their transferred uses. Even the difference of form is not insuperable; p for Fr. or L. b occurs also in purse, L. bursa, F. bourse, and the existence of Eng. words in pud- (see below) might by a species of folk-etymology facilitate the substitution here; final -in might be identified with Eng. -ing; the interchange of -ing and -in is actually seen in the later puddin, pudden. The identity of the words, though highly probable, cannot however be held to be proved, and the matter is rendered more uncertain by the absence of any certain derivation of the Fr. Word. In the same sense, It. has or had boldone (Florio), and L. botulus; the former appears to be closely akin to F. boudin; with the latter connexion is more difficult, though to its stem bot- some would refer boudin and bouder to pout the lips. Leaving the Fr. aside, the origin of the Eng. word has been sought in a stem *pud- to swell, bulge, inferred from rare OE. puduc, ‘struma’, wen, Westphal. dial. puddek lump, pudding, LG. pudde-wurst black-pudding, puddig thick, stumpy (Brem. Wbch.); cf. also Eng. dial. pod, Sc. pud belly, poud boil, ulcer, and podge, pudge; but it is not at all certain that the notion of swelling enters into the original sense. Mod.F. pouding (1754) and poudingue, mod.Du. podding, mod.LG. pudding, pudden, buddin, Ger. pudding, Da. budding, Sw. pudding, are all from the Eng. word in its current sense; the Irish putog and Gael. putag (in this sense) are also from Eng.]
Whatever source gave boudin as the root, flies in the face of the OED -- always a mistake in matters of this sort.  As a matter of scholarship, If it says, "beats me," we should just live with it.

You said you wanted to know,

BDL
 
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Just out of curiosity, Boar, how did you determine it flys in the face of the OED, which says (your excerpt) that boudin is a probable, but not proven, origin: The identity of the words, though highly probable, cannot however be held to be proved,?

Earlier in the same excerpt it says they are likely the same word: Note. ME. poding, mod. pudding, and F. †bodin, boudin, have so many points in common that, but for the difficulties of form, they would at once be identified as the same word.

So, the OED seems to support the notion that boudin might be the root.

Moving away from the dictionary, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (and perhaps both earlier and later), boudin refered, in common usage, to the intenstines of an animal and to sausages that used them as casings. Indeed, in Lousiana, there is still a popular sausage made of pork, pork liver, rice, and seasonings that is called boudin. It's not hard to see a connection between the sausage-puddings of an earlier day and anything made in a similar manner.

As a matter of historical interest, the second favorite food of the Mountain Men, during the American Fur Trade, was to open the body cavity of a freshly killed buffalo. Two Mountain Men would start on either side of the gut, which they called boudins, gulping them down as fast as possible.

One possible contribution to the popularity of these boudins is that the only vegetables (well, fiber anyway) those people ate was the green matter in the intestines.

Pudding is one of those strange words anyway, one which is used to describe disparate dishes. On one hand, savory sausages can be puddings. But so, too, are creamy sweets. And most authorities take a dish like luchen kugle and translate it as noodle pudding---which, in form, is a long way from either of the other two.
 
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 BDL, don't tell me you have your very own copy of the OED.  Now I'm REALLY envious.

I would go with the "boudin" hypothesis, going by Italian usage, budino, budella (pudding, intestine) - both are diminutives of the "root bud" (pronounced bood, like in boudin).  It wouldn;t be the first case of a word that sounds like an ing ending and is transported into english with the ing when it originally ended in -en or -in. (Can;'t remember which, though, off hand) .  And thinking of blood puddings and medieval puddynges, they were often encased like sausages in gut. But it would be surprising if this same root meant both in italian and not in the other parallel languages. 

I never realized the thorn (I don't know how to make the symbol with my keyboard) is a tongue sticking through the teeth.  Is it really?  Pretty clever.
 
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KY -- The OED says they don't know.   Whether the word started as OE and merged into French, or started as OF and merged int  ME they don't know and we don't know either.  If you want to call that "might," that's jake by me.  But might is a very elastic term.  Yes, "pudding" might have come from "boudin." But then again it might not.  Which is more likely?  On what bases?

What I meant by "flies in the face," was that Ed's "seems to" is of dubious scholarship (presumably not his as he was most likely referencing someone else's).  "Seems to" and "don't know" (the OED's express position) are very different.   

If we were translating the OED's uncertainty into statistics meta-language, it would be fair to say they handicapped boudin -- or some related common OF ancestor -- as an origin at a roughly 50% probablility either way, with a high error bar and low level of confidence.

Siduri -- Yep.  Got my own (disk).

BDL 
 
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If I can ever find out what spices go into "Sauerbraten Seasoning",  I'll send you a very authentic recipe for sauerbraten.  If there were going to be a national dish for Germany, it would be sauerbraten, in my opinion, but I'm sure there would be others equally qualified.  There are many recipes for sauerbraten out there and most of them, though tasty, I'm sure, really miss the mark when it comes to the real thing.  For one thing, it takes 3 days of marinating.  For another thing, you cook up some vegetables that are used just for a mash that is strained to obtain the liquid that is used in making the sauce which contains crushed ginger snaps!  It's quite a process.  If you know what spices go into that "sauerbraten seasoning", let me know!
 
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