A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes, and usually connected with a specific culture or geographic region. Regional food preparation customs, and ingredients are combined to create dishes unique to a region. Each cuisine involves food preparation in a particular style, either food or drink of particular types, to produce individually consumed items or various meals.
What influences the cuisine?
Ingredients available locally or obtained thorugh trade impact significantly various cuisines of the world. Regional ingredients are frequently developed and they contribute to a regional or national cuisine, such as Japanese rice in Japanese cuisine or New Mexico chile in New Mexican cuisine. Likewise, national dishes have variations, such as gyros in Greek cuisine and hamburger in American cuisine, or various types of dumplings corresponding to particular cuisines.
Religious food laws also have a great impact on cuisine, such as Hinduism in Indian cuisine, Buddhism in East Asian cuisine, Christianity in many European cuisines, Islam in Middle Eastern cuisine, and Judaism in Jewish and Israeli cuisine.
The types and number of cuisines are endless, and many discussions have been developed as to which ones are the best. According to TasteAtlas, these are the best cuisines in the world:
The top of the list is mostly taken by Asian and European cuisines. Let’s get to know them better.
Asian vs. European cuisine
Asian dishes usually include planty of various fresh vegetables, noodles and a source of protein cooked in a healthy way. European food, on the other hand, provides substantial amounts of meat and animal fat. While Asian food mostly uses rice and noodle as the base of meal, potatoes and pasta are more common in Europe.
Let’s take a look at Asian and European cuisines and see what these terms can mean and include. Keep reading and you will also find out about the health aspects and popularity of both European and Asian cuisines.
The term is very broad so you let’s think in terms of geographical regions. Major regional cuisines from the biggest continent can be categorized as Central Asian, East Asian, North Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and West Asian.
Eastern and Southeastern regions of the continent include meals that are based heavily on rice as well as ginger, garlic, soy, sesame seeds, chili, dried onion, and tofu. The main cooking methods include stir-frying, steaming, and deep-frying in oil. Even the rice itself varies widely, there are medium and long-grain categories, and various color types, such as brown, yellow, white, and black .
When talking about South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, one of the dishes that will come almost to anyone mind is curry. While its origin can be traced back to India, the many varieties including coconut milk and yogurt are spread throughout the Asian continent.
In general, the Chinese cuisine influenced heavily the whole Asian cuisine. You will encounter fresh vegetables, particularly because of their perceived medicinal properties, being a staple of all types of dishes ranging from noodles, soups and many other meals. The flavors that you can expect include lemongrass, basil and chilies in East and Southeast Asia.
Central Asian cuisine is not as famous as its southern and eastern parts, but you will also find there a number of interesting dishes. Cuisines of this area rely on local stock, such as mountain goat and hearty vegetables like turnips and carrots. Another popular ingredient of this cuisine is a great range of varieties of bread, such as flatbreads and roti.
The western side of Asia, with countries such as Turkey and Syria feature lamb, rice and heavily seasoned meals with a robust flavor in their cuisines. A switch to olive oil as well as vegetables like eggplant, chickpeas, lemon, garlic and honey definitely contrasts with what people tend to use in Asia.
Europe and other Western countries, including Russia, have a wide range of foods with a lot of different ingredients and types. The term may sometimes be known as Continental cuisine, and includes the western half of the Eurasian landmass. The distinction where Asia becomes Europe and vice versa is an arbitrary geographical convention, so it can be debatable when we are still talking about the European food and when not anymore.
Frequently, the cuisine and its ingredients also relies on the climate. Since the term European is broad, its cuisine is very diverse. It spans into very cold, and mountainous regions, but also include very warm climates like Spain. However, in general, in terms of ingredients, you can expect much more meat than Asian cooking. While many Asian cooking styles involve numerous small bowls of different foods, European food is frequently served on a single plate in a large serving size.
Sauces and seasoning are crucial to European cooking, and the basis of any good sauce often include animal fats. Therefore, you can expect a large usage of dairy products including milk, cheese, or curds. The carbohydrate and starch sources in European food are mostly based on potatoes and wheat. You may find some usage of other cereals, such as cornmeal, that are particularly popular in the Balkans.
Just like Asian cuisine, European food is influenced heavily by the animals and vegetables available locally. The large coastlines and access to large fishing areas means seafood is a major constituent of breakfast, lunch and dinner in many Mediterranean countries.