Countries with Delightfully Different Ethnic Cuisines

When it comes to ethnic cuisine, everyone immediately thinks of Chinese, Greek and Italian, which of course are the most popular when it comes to eating out. Every city has a huge offering of each of these types of foods -- some great and some not-so-good, but there are other countries with delightfully different tastes to explore. Obviously, you can’t be expected to travel the world to visit each of these countries, but you can search online or watch your favorite food channel on cable television to get recipes to try at home.

korean bibimbap

Don’t have cable in your area? Try looking at some DISH promotions to get the very same cable networks, and more, delivered via satellite so that you can actually watch how each is prepared. The internet can give you the ingredients, but there’s nothing quite like watching chefs from around the world prepare some of their most popular dishes. Here are a few delightfully different ethnic cuisines you must explore!

Vietnamese Cuisine

vietnamese flat rice noodles
Vietnamese Flat Rice Noodles
Photo from Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila

Let’s start with an Asian cuisine, which is in some respects similar to Chinese and Japanese cuisine, but in many important ways so very different. Most similar to Thai cuisine, which we’ll explore in a moment, the taste is a bit less sweet and much less hot than native Thai cooking, but most of the ingredients (sans sugar and Thai red peppers) are the same. You’ll want to try:

Phở – A type of noodle soup with a chicken broth base, noodles and fresh greens
Gỏi cuốn – Light and crispy spring rolls typically stuffed with chicken, crab or shrimp
Cha Ca – Sautéed mild white fish fish cakes flavored with green onions

Also, you might want to try Vietnamese curry which is quite different from Indian or Thai curry. Again, it will be less sweet or hot than the Thai version and a lot lighter than Indian or Pakistani curry.

Thai Cuisine

tom yum gung
Tom Yum Goong

If you love hot, sweet foods, you are simply going to adore Thai cuisine. Few peppers are hotter than Thai peppers and the taste of Thai basil is so very different from sweet or Genovese basil that you won’t believe it’s really in the basil family of herbs. To many who scratch and sniff fresh Thai basil, the aroma is a bit like licorice and the taste is absolutely delightful. Dishes to try would include:

Pad Thai – Sautéed rice noodles typically with peanuts, tamarind and tofu or chicken
Panang, Red or Green Curry – There is no describing these light but hot curries unlike any you’ve tried
Tom Yum Goong – An amazingly light and aromatic soup with shrimp and lemongrass

In a restaurant, when you order Thai dishes and you have the choice of hot, medium or mild, be aware of the fact that Thai peppers are amongst the hottest in the world!

I've also joined a Thai cooking class some time back. You can read about it here. We made Tom Yum Goong, Green Chicken Curry, Pad Thai and more!

Russian/Ukrainian Cuisine

Photo sourced from

So, you think Russian and Ukrainian cuisine consists of dishes and gravies flavored with their favorite beverage, vodka? Well, think again! Many dishes in Russia are centered around potatoes, but you’ll find some Russian/Ukrainian dishes are not quite what you’d expect. Favorites to try making at home include:

Salo – Yes, you really can make salted pork fat at home!
Borsch – With the main ingredients being red cabbage and beets, you can include potatoes and literally any meat or veggie you’d like! It’s an amazing soup or side dish. Don’t forget the sour cream!
Vareniki – Stuffed pasta, similar to raviolis or pierogis (Polish), these can be stuffed with anything from potatoes to cheese and fruits like cherries.

thai cuisine

Though it's still best to try ethnic cuisines from their city or country of origin, for now, it wouldn't hurt to try and make some of these dishes at home. The more you get adventurous with food, the more you can enjoy and appreciate different cultures. You may even get a wider perspective in life, gain more friends and open your world to broader horizons in the process.

So don't be afraid to try new tastes either with home-cooking or dining out. These are only three types of ethnic cuisines, all a bit out of the ordinary. And there are still many more cuisines to explore!


  1. Beautiful site. And good information. I love the pics and i'm off to find some good vietnamese dishes to experiment with. Thanks much

  2. Every-time we go home to Tennessee I have to have these at this restaurant. This place has the best breakfast on earth, hands down! Thank you so much for this recipe!


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