Top Ten Great National Dishes

Most countries have a favorite or national dish. Popular with residents and forming part of a country's identity, they are an essential experience for visitors.
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Top Ten Great National Dishes: Hungarian ghoulash
Veal goulash with artichokes  (Eising/Photodisc/Getty)

10) Irish stew, Ireland
Originally a thick broth of slow-boiled mutton with onions, potatoes, and parsley, Irish stew nowadays often incorporates other vegetables, such as carrots, and many cooks brown the mutton first. It is a staple of Irish pubs worldwide.

Planning: One place in Dublin to enjoy Irish stew and other traditionalfare is Shebeen Chic, in George's Street.

9) Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, England
Despite England's increasingly cosmopolitan cuisine, this dish remains a much-loved Sunday lunch and national symbol. Named for England's eponymous county, Yorkshire or batter puddings originally served as fillers before the main course for those who could afford little beef. Today, the two are usually eaten together alongside gravy-soaked roast potatoes, vegetables, and horseradish sauce.

Planning: Try the traditional British restaurant, London's Rules, founded 1798, or country pubs.

8) Pot-au-feu, France
Originally a rustic dish that was stewed continuously all winter and topped up as needed, pot-au-feu (pot-in-the-fire) is a warming, fragrant dish of stewing steak, root vegetables, and spices. Traditionally, cooks sieve the broth and serve it separately from the meat.

Planning: In downtown Paris, Le Pot au Feu at 59 Boulevard Pasteur (Métro: Pasteur) specializes in its namesake.

7) Wiener schnitzel, Austria
Made with the finest ingredients and served fresh, this simple dish of pounded veal cutlets breaded and lightly fried is Austria's food ambassador, despite the dish's Italian origins. Austrians typically eat Wiener schnitzel garnished with parsley and lemon slices, alongside potato salad.

Planning: Vienna's leading Wiener schnitzel purveyor, Figlmüller, has two outlets within a few blocks of Stephansplatz (St Stephen'sSquare). Expect gigantic helpings.

6) Goulash, Hungary
Gulyás Magyar for "herdsman" became a national dish in the late 1800s, when Hungarians sought symbols of national identity to distinguish themselves from their partners in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A filling stew of beef, vegetables, red onions, and spices, goulash gets its flavor from the use of slow cooked beef shin, or similar richly flavored cuts, and paprika.

Planning: For a lighter version, sample gulyásleves (goulash soup).

This Top 10 List is just one item on the menu in FOOD JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe. This beautiful new book from National Geographic presents hundreds of delicious destinations spotlighting specialties and ingredients, markets, seasonal delights, great food towns, kitchen secrets, ultimate luxuries, and the best in desserts, wine, beer, and more.

Published: 20 Oct 2009 | Last Updated: 12 Oct 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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