Travel Global, Eat Local.

1 Lechon

Lechon, derived from a Spanish word for roasted suckling pig is one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines. The slowly-roasted suckling pig is usually stuffed with lemongrass, tamarind, garlic, onions, and chives, and is then roasted on a large bamboo spit over an open fire. It is traditionally served whole on a platter, at celebrations and festive events such as weddings and Christmas. Once the meat is properly roasted and falls off the bone, people tend to eat every part of the pig, and the crispy, reddish-brown, crackling skin is especially beloved. Lechon is often served with a thick and rich liver sauce that is cooked with sugar, fresh herbs, and vinegar. If anything is left after the feast, the leftovers are often made into lechon slaw, slowly cooked with vinegar, garlic, and liver sauce for that extra bit of flavor. Apart from the Philippines, the dish is especially popular in countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Spain. Some famous chefs even named lechon the best pig in the world, so it is definitely worth a try.

2 Space Cake

ALTHOUGH THERE ARE CLAIMS THAT EATING SPACE CAKES CAN LEAD TO PSYCHOSIS OR PSYCHOSIS SYMPTOMS FOR SOME PEOPLE, THERE'S STILL NOT ENOUGH CONCLUSIVE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THEM. Originating from Amsterdam, space cake is a notorious delicacy that belongs to a group of cannabis-infused edibles. Variations on this specialty abound, and any baked good that contains cannabis butter may be called a space cake. This Dutch specialty is usually prepared with typical cake ingredients such as flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, milk, and eggs, which are combined with a certain quantity of cannabis. A great variety of ingredients can be added to the base to enrich the cake, including cocoa powder, chocolate drops, dried fruit, buttercream, vanilla, or various spices, and the baked cakes often come dusted with powdered sugar, glazed, soaked in rum, or stuffed with cream or custard. As with other cannabis intake methods, the consumption of cannabis in the form of space cakes also provides psychotropic effects upon its consumers due to the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and other compounds. In the case of space cakes, the effects are usually prolonged and much stronger, and consumers typically feel high within 3 hours from the consumption. Space cakes with different shapes, flavors, and varying strengths can be savored at nearly any coffee shop in Amsterdam and they’re typically enjoyed alongside a cup of coffee, herbal tea, or beer. When it comes to the legal status of these cakes in the Netherlands, the country’s court allows the sale only of those cakes that are made with crushed weed.

3 Kunāfah

Kunāfah consists of two crunchy layers of shredded and buttered kataifi or knefe dough, filled with a luscious cheese cream that's often flavored with orange zest and cardamom, then drenched in a sugar syrup infused with lemon juice and orange blossom water. Turkish künefe is traditionally made with Hatay, Urfa, or Antep cheese. It is usually topped with pistachios and is best served warm. Elegant and amazingly simple to make, this dessert is nothing short of what cheese-filled pastry dreams are made of. Some authors speculate that it originated from the pre-Islamic Syria, while others claim that the Palestinian city of Nablus is its birthplace - hence the name kanafeh nabulsieh. Nevertheless, this decadent dessert has been a part of a long culinary tradition in Türkiye and Egypt, and it is listed as one of Egypt's national dishes.

4 Pasta carbonara

The carbonara we know today is prepared by simply tossing spaghetti with guanciale (cured pork jowl), egg yolks, and Pecorino Romano cheese. Despite its simplicity, this dish remains one of Rome's favorites, equally popular throughout the country. Even though carbonara is considered a typical Roman dish today, its origins are quite vague and often disputed. The name is said to have been derived from the carbonari, woodcutters and charcoal-makers who lived in the Appenine mountains northeast of Rome, and who supposedly cooked their pasta over a hardwood charcoal fire and tossed it with eggs and cheese. Another popular theory claims that carbonara was invented after the liberation of Rome in 1944, when food shortages were so severe that Allied troops distributed bacon and powdered eggs, which the local population would then mix with water to make pasta sauce.

5 Tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese

Tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese is a traditional Italian dish originating from Bologna, consisting of tagliatelle pasta and a rich ragù made with a mixture of minced beef and pork, and tomatoes as key ingredients. Even though they are often thought to be synonymous, tagliatelle al ragù—one of Bologna's signature dishes—bears little or no resemblance to the dish known as spaghetti Bolognese in the rest of the world. In fact, the world famous Italian ragù alla Bolognese meat sauce is never served with spaghetti in Bologna. Instead, when it isn't served over fresh tagliatelle, you will most often find it topping a bed of some other other ribbon-like pasta, such as fettuccine or pappardelle. Regardless of the type of pasta used, what makes or breaks this classic Emilian dish is the ragù itself. Experts nowadays tend to consider the recipe for ragù alla Bolognese registered by the Italian Academy of Cuisine in October 1982 the most authentic version. However, chances are that every restaurant and trattoria in Emilia Romagna dishes out its own version of tagliatelle al ragù, and each version is surely worth trying.

6 Šaltibarščiai

This refreshing, cold beetroot soup is a part of traditional Lithuanian cuisine. It consists of a creamy blend of pickled or boiled beetroots and tangy kefir or buttermilk, poured over grated cucumbers and hard-boiled eggs. The whole soup is generously seasoned with dill, and usually left to set until all the flavors are thoroughly combined. It is usually prepared in the summertime, and is best served chilled, preferably with potatoes on the side. It can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a light main course.

7 Sushi

Sushi is Japan's most famous culinary representative, typically made with rice and fillings which have been rolled inside a sheet of dry seaweed. However, the term sushi is actually an umbrella term covering a wide range of subvarieties which can be made with a myriad of different ingredients and in as many forms and presentations. Although the dish has become wrongly synonymous with raw fish, the primary ingredient of every type of sushi is only vinegared rice. Originally, sushi was only a method of preserving fish - first developed in Southeast Asia, but it reached Japan in the 8th century. Over time, the dish slowly transformed. Rice was no longer fermented but vinegared and eaten together with fish, and by the 19th century, sushi as we know it today was invented. Besides rice, which can be white or brown, other ingredients include seafood, meat, and vegetables that can be either raw or cooked. Termed as the original type of sushi, nigirizushi is prepared by draping a mound of rice with a sliced topping, frequently with some wasabi in between or on the side, while probably the most popular type of sushi known worldwide is makizushi; small, usually bite-sized cylindrical pieces most commonly wrapped in nori — a sheet of dry seaweed. Other best-known types of sushi include chirashizushi, served as a bowl of rice topped with a selection of raw ingredients; the pressed variety called oshizushi; inarizushi - deep-fried tofu sacs containing a filling; the traditional narezushi made with fermented rice; and temaki, cone-shaped pieces of seaweed filled with ingredients. Sushi can be eaten with chopsticks or fingers, and it is typically served on a platter or in a bento box with a compartment for dips (usually soy sauce). Due to the worldwide popularity of sushi, many variations of the dish developed outside of Japan.

8 Pizza

The story of the invention of this everyday household name changes depending on how you define it. If you think a pizza is an oven-baked flatbread, its origins lie in the ancient Middle East. If pizza must have toppings, its origins date back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, who baked flatbreads and topped them with available, local spices and olive oil. But the pizza we all know today, made with tomato sauce, cheese, and numerous toppings, originated in Italy. It became popular in Naples in the 18th century as a cheap, nourishing food that was consumed mainly by peasants. The modern pizza as we know it today evolved from early Neapolitan flatbreads topped with lard, salt, and garlic. No one knows when or why the tomato first began being used in the preparation of pizza, but it is known that they were first recorded in Italy in 1544. While most Europeans initially disparaged them as poisonous, the southern Italians embraced them, giving them the name pomi d’oro (golden apples). Although some say that tomatoes have been used on pizza marinara since 1734, others claim that they were not used until the early 19th century. The Italians credit Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi as having invented the first modern pizza in 1889. He was supposed to make a variety of pizzas for the queen, so he made one with lard, cheese, and basil, one with fish, and one with mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. Known as pizza alla mozzarella at the time, this last pizza later became known as pizza margherita, once the queen declared it as her favorite. Interestingly enough, the colors of the margherita are the same as those found on the Italian flag. Pizza crossed over the Italian border shortly thereafter, to Spain, France, England, and the United States, where it was introduced by Italian immigrants. However, it didn’t gain much popularity until after World War II. In the United States, the first pizzeria was opened in New York City by Gennaro Lombardi in 1905, and since then it has become one of the most popular food items in the United States. In an ironic twist of fate, American-style pizza has been re-exported back to Italy, where it is has also gained in popularity today. In 2008, two Italian associations called Real Pizza and the Association of Neapolitan Pizza-makers introduced new regulations on what constitutes a true Neapolitan pizza. According to them, the real, legally-protected Neapolitan margherita should be made with exact amounts of mozzarella, salt, and tomatoes, and it should be baked in a wood-fired oven at 485°C. Today, there are numerous variations of this beloved dish throughout the world, from those with simple toppings such as ham, prosciutto, onions, and bell peppers, to unusual variations such as hot dog or hamburger pizza or decadent toppings such as white truffles, edible gold, lobster, and caviar.

9 Ramen

Ramen is a noodle soup that first appeared in Japan in 1910, when Chinese cooks combined the noodles with a salty broth. These curly noodles were of bright yellow color and more elastic than the Japanese noodles prepared at the time – the dough was kneaded with a sodium carbonate-infused mineral water called kansui. In 1958, its name was derived from the pronunciation of the Chinese word lamian (pulled noodles), and that same year, Nissin Foods produced the first-ever instant version of noodles with a chicken-flavored broth called Chickin Ramen. Shortly after, the dish started to be exported around the world. Ramen should be cooked al dente and eaten quickly while it is still hot. It is not recommended to leave the noodles sitting in the broth for too long, as they tend to become too soft and mushy. The dish can be either kotteri (rich) or assari/paitan (light), depending on the opaqueness and the heaviness of the broth which is usually made using animal bones or dried seafood mixed with onions, garlic, ginger, leeks, and mushrooms. Two most famous types of ramen are ramen of Kyushu, prepared with a boiled pork bone broth called tonkotsu, and ramen of Hokkaido, made with a traditional seasoning called red miso.

10 Pastel de nata

Pastel de nata is a traditional Portuguese egg custard tart that is popular throughout the world. It is believed that for the best result, the filling should not be too sweet and should not have flavors of lemon nor vanilla. Instead, the tarts should be sprinkled with cinnamon and, ideally, paired with a cup of coffee. Originally, this treat was made before the 18th century by Catholic monks and nuns in Santa Maria de Belém in Lisbon. The tart was made from leftover egg yolks that were used in the clearing of wines and starching of clothes. Later on, the clerics made a deal with a nearby bakery to start selling pastel de nata commercially, and the product was a huge success. It is still hugely popular, and the fact can be supported by long lines of people who are waiting on their pastel de nata in front of numerous Portuguese bakeries. However, pastel de Belém's recipe is kept secret, and only the ones produced at the Fábrica Pastéis de Belém can be called pastel de Belém, while all the other egg custard tarts from other producers in Lisbon are called pastel de nata.

11 Éclair

These elongated pastries with an appealing glaze, a crispy exterior, a soft doughy interior, and a sweet, creamy center originated in France at the turn of the 20th century. Most food historians believe they were invented by Marie-Antoine Carême, a famous French chef. Éclairs (French for lightning) are believed to have received their name because of how the light would reflect off of them after a coating of confectioner’s glaze. The oldest recipe for these tasty treats can be found in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, published in 1884. Today, éclairs are becoming increasingly popular in France and throughout the world, and have begun to sport new fillings such as green tea and lemon cream.

12 Picanha

Picanha is a fresh cut of beef that's especially popular and highly prized in Brazil. In the US, it's called sirloin cap, and in the UK, it's known as the rump cap. Picanha is situated on the back side of the animal, above the butt, where it sits on a fat cap. It's mostly used for churrasco – the meat is first grilled, then sliced off of a skewer. This cut holds very little fat in the meat, so it must be cooked perfectly in order not to make it tough. In Brazil, every churrasco has picanha, and all of the best churrascarias feature picanha on their menus. The name picanha is derived from the word picana, referring to the ranchers' pole used for herding cattle in Portugal and Spain. The technique was brought over to Brazil where the word picanha was used to refer to the part of the cow that was poked by ranchers with the pole.

13 Lahmacun

Even though lahmacun is popularly nicknamed Turkish pizza, that name doesn't really do justice to what this crunchy, doughy treat topped with spicy minced meat truly represents. In Turkey, lahmacun is the ultimate street food and a favorite lunchtime snack. It can be found at numerous street stalls as well as in virtually any traditional Turkish restaurant, but also in kebab eateries where they typically serve mini lahmacuns as appetizers. The perfect lahmacun is made by rolling a ball of sturdy semolina dough into a thin disc which is only lightly spread with meat - either lamb or beef, minced to a paste together with chili, onions, and other seasonings. The dish is then shortly baked in a super-hot (and preferably wood-fired) oven. Lahmacun is best served hot with a drizzle of lemon juice. It is traditionally enjoyed folded around the crispy onions and a parsley salad known as piyaz. It is recommended to pair lahmacun either with the salty, cold yogurt beverage called ayran, or şalgam suyu, the barrel-fermented juice of red carrot pickles, which is salted, spiced, and flavored with the aromatic turnip called çelem.

14 Medovik

Medovik is a popular Russian layered honey cake consisting of honey-infused, almost biscuit-like sponges that are coated with thin layers of cream. Although there are numerous variations of the cake, the custard is usually prepared with whipped cream or various combinations of condensed milk and butter. It is believed that the cake first appeared in the 1820s and was initially created for the wife of Alexander I of Russia. The addition of condensed milk probably originates from the Soviet era, while modern variations may include berries or even chocolate. Medovik is traditionally decorated with ground walnuts and is commonly served on various special occasions.

15 Sernik

Sernik is a cheesecake from Poland, stemming from old Christian and Jewish traditions. It is made with eggs, sugar, and twaróg - a type of curd cheese that has been used in desserts for hundreds of years. It is believed that sernik originated in the 17th century, when King Jan III Sobieski brought the recipe with him after his victory against the Turks at the Battle of Vienna. Today, there are many varieties of sernik, some baked, some unbaked, but it is usually made on a layer of crumbly cake. Often times raisins, chocolate sauce, or fruits are also added to sernik, and one of the most popular varieties of the dessert has a sponge cake as its base and is covered with jelly and fruit on top. The krakowski version of sernik has a lattice crust on top to differentiate it from other types of this cheesecake. Sernik can either be prepared at home or found in many Polish stores and supermarkets.

16 Guotie

The pan-fried variety of the Chinese jiaozi dumpling, known as guotie, is a Northern Chinese dumpling typically filled with minced pork, Chinese cabbage, scallions, ginger, rice wine, and sesame seed oil. Crunchy and soft textures are achieved by a special method of preparing; while the bottom of the dumpling is frying, a small amount of liquid is added to the pan which is then covered, thus allowing the rest of the dumpling and the filling to steam. When it comes to the shape, guotie should always be long and straight as it can stand more easily and it does not fall over during cooking. Goutie can be literally translated as pot sticks, so these dumplings are often nicknamed potstickers, especially in North America. Although the first-known mention of goutie dates back to the Song Dynasty, today they are a popular street food, often eaten as a snack or an appetizer, typically accompanied by a dipping sauce.

17 Tapas

Popularly known as Spain's greatest food invention, these small finger foods are usually accompanied by a few drinks at lunchtime or in the early evening, led by the philosophy "eat when you drink, drink when you eat." The name originates from the Spanish verb tapar, which means to cover, and the dish stems from the region of Andalusia where drinkers would cover their glasses with slices of bread or meat to keep out the dust and flies. Today, the popularity of tapas has brought them across the borders of Spain, and tapas bars can now be found in nearly every developed country. Classic tapas were all about shellfish, originally consisting of a few olives, mussels, or anchovies served on a tiny plate. Today, however there is no end to the variety in modern tapas, which can be assembled from almost any type of ingredient served in small portions, with virtually no rules as to what goes with what. In southern Spain, tapas include shellfish, squid, eggs, shrimp, mixed breaded seafood, and fried fish marinated in saffron. Tapas in the north often consist of béchamel-based croquettes and battered prawns, while Madrid loves tripe, anchovies cured in vinegar, and ham tapas. Other common varieties include olives, meatballs, stuffed mussels, green peppers, cured cheeses, and thinly sliced salted cod. Regardless of the variety, tapas are a staple in Spain, amazing bar food worldwide, a way of eating, and a way of living.

18 Gyros

Gyros is one of the most popular Greek street food dishes, consisting of meat such as pork and chicken (in Greece) or lamb and veal (popular in other countries) cooked on a vertical spit. The meat is sliced in thin shavings and is then usually placed in a pita bread along with sauces such as tzatziki and vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and cucumbers. Gyros is derived from the Greek word gheereezo, meaning to turn, referring to the constantly rotating vertical spit on which the meat is cooked. Some believe that gyros originated during the time of Alexander the Great, when his soldiers skewered the meat on their swords and cooked it over a fire. Others claim that gyros was introduced to Greece in 1922, with the refugees from Constantinople and Smyrna. Many of the refugees became merchants and opened their shops with tiny holes in the wall, where gyros was sold. After WWII, gyros gained popularity and spread to Europe, Australia, and the United States. Today, gyros is known as one of the most popular street food varieties around the world.

19 Païdakia

Grilled lamb chops are a traditional Greek dish that is popular throughout the country and usually enjoyed as the main course. Lamb chops are usually marinated in various combinations of olive oil, lemon juice, and a variety of fresh herbs before they are grilled on traditional charcoal barbecues. They are commonly paired with potatoes, salads, or the creamy and refreshing tzatziki sauce.

20 Tiramisù

Even though tiramisù is actually a fairly recent invention, this dessert of coffee-soaked ladyfingers layered with mascarpone cream enjoys an iconic status among Italian desserts. Its name stems from the phrase tirami sù, an Italian expression which literally means pick me up, a reference to the uplifting effects of sugar, liquor, and coffee. The origins of tiramisù are heavily disputed between Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions, but it is often suggested that the first was made in Veneto in the early 1960s. The earliest documented recipe for tiramisù (interestingly, without alcohol!) was printed in the 1981 spring edition of Vin Veneto magazine in an article on coffee-based desserts by Giuseppe Maffioli, a renowned food critic and member of the Italian Academy of Cuisine. However, in August 2017, Friuli-Venezia Giulia's tiramisu was officially added to the list of traditional regional dishes, but a Veneto local won the Tiramisu World Cup in November 2017, so the playing field is somewhat levelled once again. Regardless of these disputes, the perfect tiramisù should always deliver a serious caffeine kick from a shot of strong espresso, while brandy-fortified Marsala wine adds a nice sweet buzz. In 2021, Ado Campeol, the owner of the restaurant where tiramisù is widely thought to have been invented, has died.