12 Countries That Serve the World's Best Food

tom yum soup

Some countries are just famous for their culinary offerings, and this list of 12 showcases the best of the best. From Italy's rich pastas to Thailand's vibrant street food, these nations provide a taste experience that is as diverse as it is delightful. Explore these culinary hotspots that are known for their exceptional dishes.

1. Italy

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Tagliatelle al Ragù, known as "Spaghetti Bolognese" to non-Italians, is a meaty, hearty dish of freshly ground pork and beef mixed with celery, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and red wine.

Poured over beautifully cooked tagliatelle pasta, which is said to be inspired by the curly blonde hair of Lucrezia Borgia, a 16th-century Italian noblewoman, this 'ragu' sauce is not to be missed. Freshly grate some Parmesiano Reggiano on top, and you have a lovely, authentic Italian meal. Do the Italians a favor, though, and don't call it Spaghetti Bolognese."

Fried Artichoke, or Carciofo alla Guidia in Italian, is a popular treat for any dinner table. This dish is exquisite simply for the time it takes to make and its nutty, crunchy texture.

Tiramisu, which translates to "Lift me up" in Italian, was rumored to come from a brothel. This ever-famous dessert, made from layers of lady finger biscuits that have been dipped one by one in a rich mixture of mascarpone cream cheese and your preference of coffee powders, is the perfect end to any Italian meal. Sometimes people add chocolate powder, but it'll be just the coffee for a 'purist.'

2. Mexico

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Go south of the border with some authentic Mexican food that will make you ache for a visit. If you're sluggish after a long night, try a warm serving of Chilorio with breakfast potatoes for a peppy start to your day. This guisado- any stewed meat that is braised, homey, and delicious- is also perfect for a lunchtime taco.

If you're in a hurry and want a meal when you get home, add black beans, pork ribs, water, rum, garlic head halves, onion, salt, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and crushed red pepper in a slow cooker and let it combine for about eight hours.

The resulting black bean soup is earthy and fantastic for a chilly night. Bunuelos or Cinnamon-Fried Crisps are a light, flavorful accompaniment for fruit, ice cream, or any other favorite treat.

3. Thailand

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Ah, the spicy heat of a great curry or the bursting flavor of peanut sauce. These delights are only part of the delectable options you can find in an authentic dish from Thailand.

Often served with rice and vegetables, Thai food is a major hit with many families no matter where you call home. However, much like Chinese food in the United States, what you get for takeout might not be as authentic as knowing how to make these culturally rich dishes from scratch.

If you're in the mood for curry but don't like the intense heat that comes with Green Curry -- which is the spiciest -- you can take a shot at Panang or Thai Curry.

Another popular dish in Thailand and other regions is Kai Med Ma Muang or Chicken with Cashew Nuts. This stir-fry dish is a simple, vegetable-heavy meal that can be served over rice or with your favorite noodle for a tasty, easy meal.

For dessert, a serving of sticky rice, slices of mango, and sweetened-condensed milk -- known as Kao Niew Ma Muang -- makes for a flavorful treat after any Thai meal.

4. Greece

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When it comes to the small island of Greece, size doesn't diminish the rich flavors of the Mediterranean that will assault your tastebuds when you enjoy a light lunch like a simple Greek Salmon Salad.

Made with a bed of fresh vegetables and Feta cheese with perfectly cooked salmon and a rich vinaigrette, this dish is a can't-miss meal in under 20 minutes.

You can't go wrong with Mediterranean Shrimp Kabobs if you like seafood. They are lightly seasoned with garlic and herbs and easily paired with grilled vegetables, a simple Greek salad, or as the main attraction to a lovely pasta.

Loukoumades are a "bite-sized" Greek donut that's sure to please any dessert lover after a great meal. These 'glazed' donut holes are made with simple ingredients, make enough for the whole family, and are perfect no matter how many you want to eat.

5. Japan

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Sushi is easily one of the most popular dishes in Japan; no discussion of Japanese cuisine would be complete without it. Distinctly Japanese, Sushi used to consist of fish preserved in fermented rice. It is often made with vinegared rice and fresh fish and styled in several ways.

Kaiseki, or 'tasting course,' is the ultimate in fine Japanese cuisine. Comprised of several different edible samples, this delicate entree allows you to have various flavor experiences in one dish.

While Japan boasts delicate desserts like Green Tea Mousse Cheesecake, you should take advantage of their Kasutera or Castella honey cake. Made with just four ingredients, including flour, sugar, milk, and honey, this fluffy desert is a must if you want a traditional Japanese encounter.

6. Peru

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Peruvian culture is a beautiful mixture of European and South American influences and has combined contradictions to create a culture all its own.

If you're in the mood for a generous helping of Peruvian comfort food, you can't do better than a helping of Aji de Gallina or Peruvian Chicken Stew. This dish combines a healthy amount of shredded chicken simmered in a beautifully creamy French-style sauce with Aji Amarillo chili.

This spicy meal will surely hit all your pleasure notes before you even get to dessert, as it pairs excellently with rice, pasta, or roasted vegetables.

If you prefer red meat, Lomo Saltado is the perfect weeknight meal. However, if you're sourcing your food locally, you'll want to find a butcher who can get you some beautiful tri-tip beef sliced no thicker than ¼ inch. Salt and pepper your tri-tip beef to taste.

Add thinly sliced onion, deseeded and skinned tomato slices, and yellow chili pepper for an authentic take on this Peruvian favorite. If you can find Aji Amarillo peppers, these would make this a genuinely authentic Peruvian dish.

Splash on some soy sauce and distilled vinegar, and you've got a beautiful main dish. Pair it with crispy French fries or tater tots, and you'll please even the pickiest eater at your table.

Try Arroz Con Leche or Peruvian Rice Pudding for a wonderfully creamy dessert. This light dessert, made with whole milk, a fresh cinnamon stick, salt, and a healthy dose of patience, is like a small, silky taste of Peru no matter where you live.

7. Chine

Orange Chicken
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As far back as Medieval China, Roasted Peking Duck has been served to everyone from heads of state to foreign dignitaries and is considered a 'royal dish.'

This delicacy, praised for its thin, crispy skin, is often served sliced with pancakes, sweet bean sauce, or mashed garlic and soy sauce.

Either way, this dish is as traditional as China's and is one to take advantage of if you're going for an authentic Chinese meal.

Dim Sum is famous in China and around the world and is much like a Chinese sampler platter. With more than 1,000 dish options, this celebrated meal is usually served during breakfast or lunchtime tea.

Known as Doufa Hua, Soy Milk Pudding is a favorite among Chinese people and is traditionally served at home after dinner.

8. Lebanon

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If you want something authentic, you can't go wrong with Kibbeh, the national dish of Lebanon. These torpedo-shaped, fried croquettes are packed with bulgur, minced meat, onions, and sauteed pine nuts

If you're in the mood for something light, look no further than Tabbouleh. A salad made of mint, parsley, fresh tomatoes, olives, onions, and bulgur or couscous, this colorful staple is excellent as a side or a main dish. 

A crunchy, creamy dessert known as Kunāfah makes a beautiful finish for a traditional Lebanese meal, especially if you like the flavor of citrus. 

9. Vietnam

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Phở is easily one of the most recognizable Vietnamese dishes outside Vietnam. Inside the country, it's an all-time favorite. Named for the noodle in the dish, Phở is a light, earthy broth that allows the noodles to meld with the slivers of medium-rare beef or boiled chicken. 

Cơm tấm is a dish of humble origins made of 'broken' rice or cracked grains of rice that were unsellable. While there are several ways to make the dish, the most common is cơm tấm sườn nướng ốp la.

This version pairs a fried egg with a caramelized grilled pork chop. The dish is slathered in chili, fish sauce, and sugar and drizzled with green onion oil. Add in a side of pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber slices, and tomatoes. Crushed pork rinds and shallots make the perfect garnish for this humble dish. 

If you want a traditional Vietnamese dessert, look no further than Vietnamese Sesame Balls. Crispy on the outside from frying and an outer coating of white sesame seeds, and packed with the punch of mung bean paste, these tiny treats are often sold as a snack by street food vendors in Vietnam. 

10. France

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France is renowned for its exquisite cuisine, earning it a well-deserved spot on the list. From buttery croissants and delicate pastries to rich cheeses and succulent meats, French gastronomy is a celebration of flavors and culinary finesse.

The meticulous attention to quality and the artistry in French cooking have made it a global culinary icon, with dishes like Coq au Vin and Ratatouille captivating taste buds worldwide. Indulging in French cuisine means savoring the legacy of culinary mastery and experiencing the epitome of refined dining.

11. India

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India's culinary heritage is as diverse as its culture and traditions, making it a must-have on any list of the world's best food countries. With a myriad of regional cuisines, India offers a vast array of flavors, spices, and ingredients. From fragrant biryanis and spicy curries to crispy dosas and tangy street snacks, Indian cuisine is an explosion of tastes and aromas.

Each dish reflects a rich history and a unique blend of spices, such as cumin, turmeric, and cardamom. Exploring the vibrant and complex flavors of Indian food is a journey that will ignite the senses and leave a lasting impression.

12. Turkey

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Turkey offers an unforgettable food journey that's a fusion of Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Mediterranean flavors. Imagine sinking your teeth into a perfectly grilled kebab or enjoying the layered richness of baklava dripping with honey.

The country is a haven for street food as well, from savory gözleme to sweet roasted chestnuts. Spices like saffron, cumin, and sumac are generously used, elevating dishes to a new level of deliciousness. And let's not forget the drinks—the robust flavors of Turkish tea and coffee are the perfect way to round off any meal.

From fine dining to street stalls, Turkey's culinary landscape is rich and diverse, making it a must-visit for any food lover.

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