Comfort Foods From Different Cultures
Comfort foods are something we all turn to as a way to trigger the reward system in our brain. They hold sentimental value, nostalgia and are, to simply put it, comforting. Food has the power to connect us to others, improve our mental health and our wellbeing, cultures, and they’re full of enjoyment.
It allows us to feel pleasure and a temporary sense of emotional gratification, especially when we’re going through something or feeling sick.
Because after all, food is associated with childhoods, memories and moments that make up our lives. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out comfort food, whether it be your mum’s chicken curry or the local takeaway’s mixed donner kebab.
Food is made for enjoyment and our ideas of what constitutes as comfort food varies by culture — so I decided to ask around and find out what other people’s cultural comfort foods are.
Mashed Potato and Irish Stew, Ireland
It’s the perfect comfort food for a lot of people! And who doesn’t love mashed potato?
Beans On Crumpets, England
Some of us love our beans on heavily buttered toast or crumpets, with mature cheddar cheese and Lea & Perrin’s sauce. You can never go wrong with this classic British staple.
Chicken Congee, Hong Kong
A perfect “when you’re sick” dish, that is full of nostalgia and childhood memories for many people. It can take up to two days to perfect, so you know it really is a comfort food.
A delicious type of bread that is also super pretty, it can be eaten with anything or even on its own.
Mazto Ball Soup (Jewish Penicillin)
Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food for anything and everything. Add in dumplings and its just perfection.
Welsh Cakes, Wales
It’s delicious warm from the griddle and sprinkled with sugar, and even after. What’s better than this?
Homemade Jam On Toast, Scotland
It’s the ultimate treat especially on cold mornings (or evenings). Nothing beats jam on a warm slice of bread.
Mum’s Chicken Biryani, Pakistan
Chicken biryani is the one Pakistani staple food that only everyone’s mum makes the best, there’s no arguing to it. Nobody else will make it quite like her. With childhood nostalgia attached to the dish, and occasions, it’s like heaven.
Lángos and Gulyás leves, Hungary
Lángos is a deep fried flatbread that’s fluffy and light. It’s every Hungarian’s comfort food. Gulyás leves is a delicious soup with beef and veg.
Pão de Queijo, Brazil
It’s a popular breakfast or snack in Brazil, baked cheese bread. It’s one of the greatest comfort foods to date.
A delicious dish of polenta mixed with cow’s or sheep’s cheese, boiled eggs and a little bit of butter, baked and then topped with sour cream. It’s warm and comforting during those cold and snowy Romanian winters.
Fried Plantains with Kidney Beans, Cameroon
Cooked in onions, garlic, ginger and thyme, it’s full of flavour and is plant-based. A perfect soul food.
Chicken Adobo, Philippines
Apparently it’s the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. Everyone adds their own little twists to this dish, making it a signature comfort meal for every family.
Cheese On Toast (With Indian Twist), England and India
Mixing the English staple cheese on toast with an Indian twist of onions, cumin and green chillies, makes this a comfort food merging two cultures. It’s a sweet reminder of two homes.
Aloo Paratha, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal
Aloo paratha is the comfort food for all South Asians and can be eaten with any and everything, with a steaming mug of tea. It’s divine.
Tea and Cookies, Germany
Nothing tops the comfort that tea and cookies bring. It’s a no fuss comfort food.
Full Fry Up (English Breakfast), England
It’s perfect for any meal of the day and is full of so many nutrients and protein. It’s delicious, hearty and comforting. A classic English comfort food.
Samosas and Fulaw, Bangladesh
Not only is it the perfect breakfast, lunch and snacks on Eid days or whenever there’s a family event, it’s absolute heaven as a comfort food. The perfect thing about fulaw is that it can be eaten with chicken curry or a lamb chops curry with potato. Yum.
The ultimate food for warmth and to feel better — a perfect Sicilian comfort of pastry and delicious ricotta with so many toppings.
Plantain Crisps, Colombia
This is a favourite comfort snack for many Colombians and can be made in so many different flavours. Loro Crisps brought them over to the UK, to connect the two countries and the love for food. It’s a reminder of childhood and home.
Ashe reshteh, Iran
It’s a Persian bowl of legume soup, and full of warmth and goodness.
Every country has their variety of delicious comfort foods and the list, for people, is never-ending.