Dining out at restaurants can be a fun experience for the whole family. But if you are tired of eating the same old food from the same old places, you might try mixing up your routine by visiting an ethnic restaurant. Here’s a brief introduction to a few cuisines you may not have thought about trying before:
1. Ethiopian cuisine is extremely vegan-friendly and favors breads, grains, spices, and an onion-based stew known as wat. Wat is generally eaten with injera, a flatbread made from teff flour. The use of utensils is uncommon when dining on Ethiopian food, partly due to the preponderance of bread and flatbread. Oftentimes, a meal of Ethiopian food is followed by a “coffee ceremony,” where strong Ethiopian espresso is served.
2. You might be intimidated by French food because it conjures up images of haute restaurants with high presentation value and equally high prices. In fact, French cuisine is diverse, highly regionalized, and available to any budget. French cuisine combines the herbs, olives, and tomatoes of the Mediterranean with a farmhouse-style apples, pork, and potatoes. Other common meats include poultry, beef, lamb, and duck. Of course, if you’re dining at a French restaurant, make sure you sample some artisan cheese and wine.
3. Lebanese cuisine is a mixture of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and French cuisine. Fruits, vegetables, grains and starches are mixed with fresh Mediterranean seafood or poultry. Red meat is not common in Lebanese cuisine, although there are a few lamb dishes worth any meat-lover’s time. You should also expect ample amounts of garlic, olive oil, and lemon. Mezze is a popular dish, featuring a tapas-like assortment of small dishes, each with a different flavor, texture, or aroma.
4. As befitting its native country and its varied climates, Indian cuisine reflects a diverse palate with a number of influences. As a reflection of predominant Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, there is a large array of vegetarian dishes, mostly involving staple foods like pearl millet, rice, red lentils, and mung bean. If you have heard anything about Indian restaurants, however, it’s probably the abundance of spices. Portuguese-introduced chili pepper is popular, as are cumin, ginger, garlic, coriander, and curry. Sweet foods are often seasoned with nutmeg, cardamom, and saffron.
5. If you’re familiar with Japanese cuisine at all, it’s most likely with sushi, rolls of rice, raw fish, and vegetables. Indeed, seafood is a vital part of Japanese cuisine, having originated on an island nation. For those squeamish at the prospect of eating raw fish, there are countless grilled recipes available, as well as tempura, which is a deep-fried mixture of fish and vegetables. Miso soup is popular too, especially mixed with tofu, seaweed, and traditional vegetables.
Trying a type of ethnic food you haven’t encountered before is a great way to expand your culinary and cultural horizons. Best of all, you might just discover a new favorite dish!