The Top Ten Cuisines and their common Mediterranean Diet components

July 4, 2012

Food is undisputedly one of the greatest pleasures in life, a pleasure which stipulates all the senses in one or the other way. It may be that our ancestors were mere hunters who hunt for food and their choices for food were limited and restricted but in our days the choices are virtually unlimited as there is a great variety of choices from all over the world. There are choices and options as to the way of cooking, serving, presenting and decorating food.

Food preparation and eating has another important attribute, it give us the opportunity to socialize and to have new experiences and opportunities. The Cuisines of the world, cuisines from different parts of the world, have different and characteristic tastes due to the variety of ingredients used and due to the imagination of the cooks who quite often make sure to provide to us the best and exotic culinary recipes and tastes.  Off course we have to agree that the trend now is the ‘’fusion cuisine’’ where the cooks and chefs make sure that they mix, fuse, cuisines so as to bring the best of two or many worlds!

Top 10 Cuisines

In this article we will present the top ten world cuisines in terms of popularity and demand and highlight their common Mediterranean diet components and ingredients letting you draw your own conclusions. It is within the framework of multicultural culinary ‘’revolution’’ and ‘’fusion’’ and in line with the internationalization and globalization trends that these cuisines have expanded to capture the world.

10. Greek Cuisine

Ancient Greeks used to eat five meals a day achieving a perfect balance between meats and vegetables in their daily dishes, something that has formed the basis of the Mediterranean diet and proves to be both healthy and refreshing. The reduction of the cardiovascular incidents is closely related with the med diet while the olive oil which forms the basis of the Greek cuisines is a basic component of the Mediterranean diet as well. In addition, fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, dairy products such as the Greek yogurt, and fish form a great variety of dishes, ‘’meze’’, something that makes the Greek culinary cuisine uncompetitive worldwide with the classical Greek village salad to be the first choice in all restaurants of the world.

9. Spanish Cuisine

The Spanish Cuisine is identified by its Mediterranean character and from the emphasis given to fish and other seafood with its most popular dish being the paella well known worldwide in various variations. The famous tapas are the most popular snacks of the world, having as their basic components whole grain bread, a great variety of cheeses, cold cuts, and vegetables. Olive oil and various Mediterranean herbs complete the picture of the basic ingredients/components of the Spanish cuisine. There is also a great variety of famous Spanish deserts of various tastes such as the Catalonian cream, various puddings and other cakes.

8. Mexican Cuisine

 The mere thought of the Mexican cuisine surely drives some of us to a glass of water or a glass of refreshing margarita to ease the spicy effect of the dishes. The spicy dishes, the use of chili peppers and the black beans will make you sweat a little but they will remain unforgettable. The Mexican cuisine has been affected to a great extent by the Spanish and Texan cuisine. Nachos, burritos and fajitas are the most well-known Mexican dishes and as we all known they are associated with a nice tequila. Various tastes and colourful presentations form the basis of the Mexican cuisine which sometimes has in its menu exotic meats.

7. Lebanese Cuisine

 They say that the Lebanese cuisine is the real ‘’face’’ of the Arabic culinary art. The secret of the Lebanese cuisine lies in the fresh fruits and vegetables it uses, while chicken and white meat are used more often than red meat. As a matter of fact most dishes of this cuisine are seasonal and are prepared when the ingredients are in season. Plenty of spices are being used; mostly garlic and Mediterranean herbs, which when combined with olive oil and lemon juice raise the culinary experience to its maximum. Fresh cream and other fatty products are either not used or used to the minimum. Pitta bread, known as Lebanese pitta, replaces the fork and spoon. The Lebanese deserts and sweets are also well known to all.

6. Chinese Cuisine

 About 33% of the world’s population prefers the Chinese cuisine, as it offers rich, delicious and relatively cheap meals. Since China is a relatively large country each Chinese geographic area offers its unique and distinctive tastes. A bowl of rice, which is the basic component of the diet, accompanies almost everything: soups, sweat and sour pork or chicken, seafood, meat and noodles appear in every Chinese meal. The secret of the Chinese cuisine, apart from the accompanying sauces, is the well chopped ingredients, something that makes the use of forks and knives unnecessary. Tea and fried fruits with ice-cream complete the Chinese culinary experience.

5. Japanese Cuisine

Those who believe that the Japanese cuisine is nothing more than sushi and sashimi will be surprised pleasantly when they see the number of dishes available on a Japanese table. The fish and seafood are used extensively while red meat is used much less frequently. Soya beans, steamed rice and seaweeds are used in almost every meal. Mushrooms accompany main dishes. Bread is nowadays is gaining popularity while rice vinegar and soya sauce give particular tastes to the Japanese dishes.

4. Indian Cuisine

The Indian Cuisine is probably the most misunderstood cuisine in the world. The fact that it is closely related with curry, spices and chili does not allow any room for many choices. Grilled chicken, red meat, lentils, vegetables, potatoes and okra are the basic constituents of usual Indian dishes. At the same time herbs, onions, garlic, and mustard are the flavouring ingredients. The Indian pitta breads are part of every meal, while the thick drink with its yogurt basis is an ideal digestive after a spicy meal.

3. Thai Cuisine

If you have in your mind dishes where the tastes are transferred from the sweet to the salty and vice versa with intense notes of bitterness then the Thai cuisine fit your tastes perfectly as it manages to balance perfectly all tastes in one dish. Thai people prefer light meals with emphasis in the aroma. Chili, lemons, coconut milk, pineapple, rice and fish are the basic ingredients of the Thai dishes where the various spices used differentiate the final outcome.

2. French Cuisine

The French are well known for their artistic anxieties at all levels and their cuisine is no exception to this. The French cuisine is to a great degree a culinary art. Cheeses and red wine associate their tastes with the majority of dishes and together with butter are the basic ingredients for the creation of the rich sauces and other appetizers. French cuisine has as a target to offer high quality dishes giving less emphasis in quantity. Therefore full fat dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, in combination with small quantities of meat or poultry are the main theme of the French culinary recipes. Garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and Mediterranean herbs ‘’praise the final touch of cooking. The French cuisine and dietary habits are what caused the well-known French Paradox.

1. Italian Cuisine

The Italian cuisine is the most preferred cuisine of the world according to many surveys around the world but it is not due to Pizza. The Italian cuisine is so popular and in demand due to the great number of cheeses, cold cuts that offers and these combined with fresh vegetables, olive oil, aromatic Mediterranean herbs, and superb pasta produce unforgettable pasta dishes which please the most demanding customer. The great variety of lasagne, ravioli, tortellini, spaghetti and cannelloni create cold and warm dishes which fulfil all culinary tastes and demands. Every nice Italian meal is usually completed with an aromatic espresso.

It is more than obvious that the top 10 cuisines in the world use one or more of their basic ingredients, components of the Mediterranean diet, some to a greater extent than the others with the Mediterranean originated cuisines to use, as expected, the most ingredients of all. Olive oil, fresh green vegetables, white cheese, pasta, herbs and spices as well as seafood are used by 8 out of 10 of the world’s top cusines.

Andrea Aurelio
About the author

Andrea Aurelio adopted the Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean way of living after evaluating a series of diets and realizing that the Mediterranean diet is a proven diet and the best way to adopt a healthy lifestyle. You can connect with him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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