by Pika Hrovat Mithans

Food is the energy that each of us needs to live, however we use and enjoy it in our own, unique ways. It differs in terms of productivity, storage, quality, flavour, and our living environment. Food is divided according to several things, like fresh or frozen, healthy, or fast food, sour or sweet, imported, or home-grown and lastly religious or cultural food. Obviously, it also depends on where it comes from as well as which nutrients it contains. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins are familiar to us; however, we will be talking about the diversity of food, coming from different parts of the world.

The first group of food I will talk about comes from the East and is well known as Asian Cuisine. It is further divided into Central Asian Cuisine, which comes from Mongolia, Eastern Cuisine, Northern and Southern Asian Cuisine.

 The use of horse meat, mutton, and beef-like meat as well as the use of yogurt and kumis drink is typical for the Central Asian Cuisine. The East Asian culture includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Singaporean, Taiwanese, and Tibetan food. The most typical dishes are made of rice and noodles and soya or seafood. The culture is linked to North Asia, where people cook similarly to the Russian Cuisine. But Yakuts and Yamal Cuisines are more intense in the taste.

 The cuisine which incorporates Indian skills is South Asian food. It is highly flavoured with extensive use of tea, black pepper and strong basic spices like turmeric and cumin. They eat a lot of lamb, fish, chicken, and goats.  Fish that appears in a form of a sauce comes from the Southeast Asia. Here they use food preparation methods such as frying, boiling, and steaming.

The last and the most extensive is West Asian Cuisine where they use ingredients like ours. Some of them are olive oil, honey, sesame seeds, mint, and parsley but the basic element is cereals. Rice and wheat, barley and corn are the food sources there. Plenty of vegetables are eaten and prepared in different ways. When it comes to meat products, they use lamb and mutton from which they also prepare kebabs. Some of the most famous dishes from Asia are the rice noodle soup and panipuri which is the unleavened Indian bread, stuffed with vegetables. Gau bao is known as the Taiwanese hamburger and Xiaolongbao or the soup dumpling. Sushi is also very popular.

Compared to Asia, Europe has a large variety of food. Central European Cuisines sparkle with veal cutlets and beer as well as the gnocchi, goulash, and various pastas. The most famous delicacies are strudel and our Prekmurska gibanica. We consider Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and many more countries to caucasian or Eastern European Cuisine. The most famous dishes here are Armenian khorovats, Belarusian potato babka, Bulgarian banitsa and yogurt, Ukrainian pampushka and Russian beef Stroganoff. In the north, such as in the countries of Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland and Finland, people eat fish and chips and British breakfast in England, macaroni and cheese, cinnamon rolls, many types of meat and much more. In Southern European Cuisine there are a lot of salads, meat, pasta, pizza, stews, risottos and even kebabs.  The most common desserts are caramel cream, ice cream and »štruklji«. In the West are famous waffles, fritelli, souffles and the French dish ratatouille. This part also includes Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg regions. In everyday meals a lot of spices are included. The most used are saffron, oregano, black pepper, marjoram, rosemary and thyme and the most eaten meat is pork.

In Africa, they use locally produced fruit and vegetables, cereals, milk, and meat products. African food is also rarely imported. It is characterized by various preparation techniques and well-known traditional dishes. Central Africa was influenced by the Portuguese and the Swahili culture as well as by the nearby regions. The main ingredients used here are plantain, cassava, rice, kwanga and jam. These ingredients are also used in the preparation of other dishes such as spinach stews. 

Potatoes are easy to grow so they use them as the main rootstocks. East Africa, however, differs in some parts. It is well known that cattle meat is not used for dishes, although in some parts they regularly use the blood of the cattle, but almost never the meat itself. Cereals and corn thrive there, so they make a lot of stews. Most people here prepare dishes from lemons, limes, peppers, corn, strawberries, lentils, and chili. The typical Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine makes an Injera dish, which is pancake-like bread. 

Travellers and immigrants have influenced North Africa for centuries. Sausages and staple foods have been delivered by them. Most countries have almost the same dishes just with a different name. There are big differences between the cooking methods in different African parts. Very popular spices are saffron, cinnamon and ginger.

 In South Africa they use everything from European to Asian cuisine, so we call it a Rainbow Cuisine. The descendants brought agriculture to this part; therefore, they still grow crops today like beans and pumpkins. The ancestors also left them a love of barbecue.  Beer is popular in a big part of North Africa as they have to offer it to the visitor according to their tradition. 

Milk is also very important besides the seafood, grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. The fruit covers everything from apples, grapes, bananas, papaya, avocados, peaches, and oranges. Alcoholic drinks, which are in the European style, are also typical.  Local cookery uses millet and rice, peas, sweet potatoes, and cocoa by boiling and frying the food. Meals have a very strong ritual significance here.

The availability of food resources in Australia varies by regions but at all parts the most important technique is roasting food on the fire. Many tropical fruits thrive here so they are included in daily meals. The most grown fruits are apples, bananas, kiwis, mangoes, melons, watermelons, and papayas. Moreover, they eat local vegetables seasonally. Spring offers artichokes, broccoli, leeks, rhubarb, and spinach and in the summer, they eat cucumbers, eggplants, zucchini, and tomatoes. When it comes to meat, the most used is chicken or also cutlets and seafood. 

In Australia you can quickly come across lobsters, fish, and crabs as well as many dairy products. But when it comes to drinks, the most popular drinks are tea and coffee. Tea was brought to these lands from the British colonies, and they combine it with cookies or cakes. They often enjoy toast and spreads at breakfast. Yet, when it comes to desserts, the most famous cake is lamington or mango pancake, and many sweets contain coconuts.

In the Northern part of America, different cuisines are popular, for instance Canadian, American, and Mexican. It shows that many Indian, Jewish, African and Asian Cuisines influence the Americans meals. It is also known that there is a lot of fast food and they make a great use of burgers, tacos, donuts, and sugary drinks. They have a lot of spices, but fast food can be quite unspiced. Despite having a lot of fruit and vegetables, the most popular items of food prove to be unhealthy. The South, however, is much more different from the North when it comes to food. 

They offer plenty of fish and tropical fruits as well as seafood from the ocean. Dishes include potatoes and quinoa, beans, beef, and rice. As the main veins are used corn and potatoes. In moist areas they grow sugar cane, lemons, and oranges. Argentine, Chilean, Ecuadorian and Peruvian cuisines are very widespread. Italians and Spanish impacts are also very visible. Food in the South seems quite spicy as there are used to cooking with a lot of chillies.

The food is so similar all over the world, yet still so different. It differs in preparation, ingredients and the culture or history itself. We need to appreciate different flavours as well as authentic dishes. Each part of the world has its own ways but nevertheless very similar ingredients which entirely different dishes are made of.