Ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, organisations within the country were teaching Russians to — wait for it — smile

It’s not a secret that Russians simply don’t smile as often as their Western counterparts. Hey, don’t take it personally — they’re suspicious of everyone equally. 

All jokes aside, though, this got us thinking about global cultures. Especially in the light of the Fifa World Cup, where countries and citizens come together to root for and cheer on their favourite teams, it’s not always necessary that we stay within our proverbial borders. 

In fact, plenty of Mexican natives will support the German team and some Brazilians just might cheer on the Russian team and so on and so on. At its core, besides football, the World Cup really gives us a chance to get to know another culture. 

And what better way to introduce yourself than through food? Here are a few of our favourite culinary delights from each of the 32 FIFA World Cup nations and our special recommendation for what you absolutely must try.

Russia

Staple Culinary Delights

Russian Khinkali

Zharkoye: As with everything worth eating in Russia, this incredibly fragrant and tender beef stew is topped with a dollop of sour cream. Zharkoye is a hearty and cosy stew that can accommodate a whole bunch of ingredients, including potatoes, carrots, parsley, and celery, lightly spiced with garlic, cloves, and dill.

Potato Okroshka: The perfect summer soup is made from creamy buttermilk, made fragrant with potatoes, onions, and garnished with dill. Simple and fresh ingredients make potato okroshka a summer delight.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Khinkali: Just like Chinese dumplings but with a twist (a Russian twist, that is!), Khinkali features distinctly Eastern European fillings like ground beef and cilantro.

Brazil

Staple Culinary Delights

Brazilian Food

Empadão: It’s no secret that Brazilians do everything better — and this buttery and flaky Brazilian-style chicken pot pie is like nothing else you’ve ever tasted.

Camarão No Leite De Coco (One Pot Shrimp Coconut): Creamy, comforting, fresh and crammed with a whole host of exotic flavours, one-pot shrimp coconut is an incredible blend of smooth coconut milk, cilantro, spicy peppers, lime, and shrimp.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Frango A Passarinho: Why do we love these little tender morsels of chicken love? Frango a passarinho provides an instant bang for your taste buds. Finger foods at its finest, these Brazilian Style chicken wings are tender and crunchy — as long as you eat right away!

Iran

Staple Culinary Delights

Iranian Food

Gormeh Sabzi: What brings a stew of herbs like parsley, fenugreek leaves, coriander, scallions, kidney beans, and lamb alive? The crowning glory that brings all these ingredients together: generous additions of dried limes.

Baghali Polo: Persian or Iranian flavours are naturally subdued, and the cuisine is more herb-based. This polo is a meal in itself, with its green dill, fava beans, and tender chunks of lamb. Enjoy topped with mild saffron for colour and flavour.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Kuku Sabzi: We love the Kuku Sabzi, which is the ‘Persian Baked Omelette’ because it’s jam-packed full of bright and fresh flavours, along with the fact that it’s completely portable. Enjoy the kuku, essentially an Iranian take on a frittata, for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast!

Japan

Staple Culinary Delights

Japanese Food

Ramen: No list for amazing Japanese food can be complete without ramen. It’s a traditional soupy dish of wheat noodles in a bowl served in a soy sauce or miso soup mixed with typical fixings like slices of pork, green onion, seaweed, and egg.

Yakitori: Little skewers of tender meat, like pork, beef, and fish brushed with delicious teriyaki sauce and grilled to caramelized perfection are a great snack to fill up on.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Shaba Shabu: The Japanese version of hot pot is a two or three-hour affair. You start off with hot soup or consommé boiling over a table burner. Cook pieces of meat and veggies until tender and dip into fresh sesame sauce!

Mexico

Staple Culinary Delights

Mexican Food

Tostada: ‘Toasted’ to perfection, tostadas are flat or bowl-shaped tortillas that are perfect little plates for toppings like meat, cheese, and salsa. Stack them on top of each other and top with generous dollops of guacamole and sour cream.

Chilaquiles: Served with refried beans, chilaquiles are a popular traditional breakfast dish that have lightly fried corn tortillas and topped with scrambled or fried eggs and pulled chicken as well as red and green salsa.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Gorditas: Stuffed with meat, cheese, salsas, and fresh herbs, gorditas are masa pastries that are known as a “fat one” in Spanish.

Belgium

Staple Culinary Delights

Belgian Food

Carbonnades Flamandes: Also known as Stoverij, this is a hearty beef casserole made with beer rather than wine and served with frites for dipping.

Stoemp: This comfort side dish goes great with sausage and stewed meat and is a blend of mashed potatoes and vegetables like brussels sprouts, carrots, onion, and kale.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Tarte au Riz: Also known as ‘Rijstaart’, this sweet ‘quiche’ is a delicious and custardy mixture of rice and milk and glazed with egg.

South Korea

Staple Culinary Delights

South Korean Food

Bibimbap: Usually served in a sizzling stone bowl, bibimbap comes with a mixture of rice and seasoned, sautéed veggies, chilli sauce and a fried egg that cooks as the dish cools.

Bulgogi: Juicy and savoury, this dish of stewy, light, marinated beef along with garlic and sliced onions is simple and filling. Served with rice, it’s all you need.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Japchae: Sweet, flavourful and slightly chewy, this traditional Korean noodle dish is made up of stir-fried sweet potato, thinly shredded vegetables, beef, and a hint of soy sauce and sugar.

Saudi Arabia

Staple Culinary Delights

Saudi Arabian Food

Kabsa: Hearty and wholesome, Kabsa is an Arabian dish that is made out of rice, combined with meat, veggies, and caramelized onions as crunchy toppings.

Jereesh: Also known as ‘Harees’, this Saudia Arabian staple combines slow-cooked, lightly-spiced meat over cracked or coarsely-ground wheat.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Mutabbaq: Deep-fried and crunchy, mutabbaq is an Arabian pastry stuffed with a lightly spiced mincemeat, onion, tomato and egg. Here’s more middle eastern delights available to take away in Ireland.

Germany

Staple Culinary Delights

German Food

Spätzle: Traditional Swabian egg noodles are usually served as a side dish to meaty dishes and are light, as the dough is only made of eggs, flour, and salt, with a hint of fizzy water to fluff them up.

Currywurst: Invented in Berlin in 1949, the Currywurst sausage is usually topped with a mix of ketchup and curry powder. Slice them thinly and serve.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Bratkartoffeln: Made of thinly sliced potatoes, fried in a pan and then served with bacon and onions until dark and crispy, this dish is a fan favourite.

England

Staple Culinary Delights

English Food

Cullen skink: Made from smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions, this is a thick Scottish soup that warms the bones.

Scotch egg: Take a picnic and eat al fresco with these hard-boiled eggs, traditionally wrapped in sausage meat, covered in breadcrumbs and either baked or deep-fried.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Shepherd’s Pie: This delicious and comforting English staple is a mainstay on most pub menus and the combination of a crispy crust of mashed potato and simmered ground beef is a classic.

Spain

Staple Culinary Delights

Spanish Food

Paella: A warm and moist mixture of chicken, white and green beans, vegetables, and seafood, this rice-based dish is cooked over a large wok and a massive open flame for the best sizzle around.

Croquettes: These delicious little, crispy balls are filled with cured ham or Atlantic cod fish with béchamel sauce and creamy cheese or Spanish blue cheese and then deep-fried.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Cured meats: Known as jamon, you’ll enjoy a platter of cured meats like chorizo, Serrano ham, salchichón, and cured legs of pork, with crusty bread, olives, and spread.

Nigeria

Staple Culinary Delights

Nigerian Food

Pepper Soup: Don’t let the name fool you. This soup is made of a lot more than just pepper — a rich broth with aromatic spices like pepper, ginger, garlic, and onions coupled with potatoes and tenderized meat.

Jollof Rice: A staple of many West African nations, Jollof Rice is one of those all-in-one rice dishes that bring together vegetables, meat, and fish, which are then simmered with tons of spices, and garnished with cilantro and parsley.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Suya: Eaten in the evenings, this easy snack features fish or meat marinated in spices, such as ginger, peanuts, pepper, or dried onions, and barbecued to perfection.

Costa Rica

Staple Culinary Delights

Costa Rican Food

Chifrijo: These are perfectly paired with beers, given that it’s a layered dish of rice topped with black beans, twice-fried pork bits, and pico de gallo, served with fresh tortilla chips

Our Favourite Recommendation

Ceviche Tico: Fresh, delicious sea bass is mixed with diced red onion, cilantro, and red pepper, which are then marinated in citrus juice. Serve this light, lemony mixture with soda crackers or fried plantains.

Poland

Staple Culinary Delights

Polish Food

Gołąbki: For your benefit, we’re going to skip the traditional ‘pierogis’ as the obvious choice and head to something you may not have tried before. The Gołąbki is made of minced pork with some rice, onion, and mushrooms, and then wrapped in white cabbage leaves.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Polish pancakes: Another classic. But you just can’t go wrong with Polish food! This dish calls for paper-thin pancakes served with cheese mixed with sugar, jam, fruits or meat and veggies.

Egypt

Staple Culinary Delights

Egyptian Food

Khushari: Think of this like an ‘everything’ pot of goodies. It features rice, spaghetti, small round macaroni, vermicelli, fried onions, black lentils and hummus, and is topped with thick tomato sauce, garlic and vinegar sauce, and chilli sauce. It’s the Egyptian smorgasbord.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Ta’meya (Egyptian Falafel): An oldie but goodie, the Ta’meya is an Egyptian-style falafel that uses fava beans instead of chickpeas and is served with tahina and salad.

Iceland

Staple Culinary Delights

Icelandic Food

Skyr: Best described as a cross between yoghurt and cottage cheese, skyr is as traditional as it gets…unless you have a hankering for the famous fermented shark. Thick and creamy, it’s served with even more cream and tart berry jam.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Pylsur: Think of this as the Icelandic ‘hot dog’. These sausages are made from a blend of beef, lamb, and pork and then topped with crunchy deep-friedserbian onions, raw onions, sweet brown mustard, and a creamy remoulade.

Serbia

Staple Culinary Delights

Serbian Food

Sarma: It’s a staple of every home and restaurant. Sarma is a simple but fragrant dish of sour cabbage leaves stuffed with flavourful minced meat.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Ćevapi: These are finger-style sausages that are served with epinja or bread and a creamy cheese known as kajmak.

Portugal

Staple Culinary Delights

Portuguese Food

Bacalhau: Traditionally, this fish dish is translated to, ‘faithful friend’. Bacalhau is served up with onions, chips, olives, parsley, egg and, of course, cod.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Francesinha: Go big or go home. The francesinha is a carefully crafted dish of two slices of bread between which there are steak, ham, sausage, and chorizo, covered in melted Edam and drizzled in a secret, spicy, tomato-based sauce. This creation is then served with chips and could even come with an egg topper.

France

Staple Culinary Delights

French Food

Coq au vin: It’s hard to pick just one good dish from the so-called culinary capital of the Western world, but this is a quintessential dish featuring braised chicken in a stock of wine, mushrooms, salt pork or bacon (lardons), mushrooms, onion, garlic and even a splash of brandy.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Cassoulet: You simply cannot go wrong with a hearty and delicious cassoulet, which is a comforting and filling dish featuring creamy white beans mixed with meats, stewed to perfection.

Uruguay

Staple Culinary Delights

Uruguay Flags

Choripan: In Spain, it’s chorizo. In Uruguay, it’s choripan, a grilled pork sausage eaten in a roll or sandwich with all sorts of fun toppings.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Chivito: This is the prolific chef Anthony Bourdain’s self-proclaimed favourite sandwich. And all it takes is thin, tenderized steak, two buttered and grilled buns smeared and packed to the brim with melted mozzarella cheese, ham, pancetta, onions, lettuce, tomato, green olives, mayonnaise, red peppers, and boiled/fried egg.

Argentina

Staple Culinary Delights

Argentinian Food

Llama steak: They’re fluffy, sure, but in Argentina, they’re fair game. More earthy and gamey than beef, the lean llama meat makes for excellent stuffing in empanadas.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Locro: Sure, we could have picked Asado, a kind of grilling method. But the Loco wins for its special place in history — a commemorative dish to honour the May Revolution. Plus, it features corn, tripe, and red chorizo, as well as beef or pork and plenty of veggies.

Colombia 

Staple Culinary Delights

Colombian Food

Bandeja Paisa: Colombian food is all about mixing smoky and meaty flavours with lighter ones. The Bandeja Paisa is a crackling dish of steak, pork, and chorizo, topped with a fried egg and accompanied with avocado and sweet banana chips. 

Our Favourite Recommendation

Empanadas: They’re exactly what you might expect and that’s why we love them. Empanadas in Colombia are usually deep-fried and come filled with chorizo or even cheese and spinach.

Panama

Staple Culinary Delights

Panama Football Supporter

Carimanolas: Is there anything better than mashed potatoes with meat? It’s a simple pleasure. Now try it with yuccas. This dish is a breakfast staple, a yucca pie stuffed with ground beef and served with hot sauce.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Carne Guisada: Packed with smoky spices, this slow-cooked beef and potatoes dish is stewed in a delectable tomato and sofrito sauce.

Senegal

Staple Culinary Delights

Senegal

Mafe: Take just a bite of this dish, with warm, fluffy rice topped with peanut sauce, accompanied by meat and vegetables, and you’ll understand why the recipe was stolen from Mali.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Chicken Yassa: If you’re ready to take a nap after eating, order yourself this scrumptious dish, featuring tender chicken pieces marinated in a bright and fragrant mixture of onions, lime juice, vinegar, and peanut oil. Then, the meat is grilled over a wood fire and cooked over low heat in its marinade for a smokey, scintillating flavour throughout.

Morocco

Staple Culinary Delights

Morrocan Food

Harira: A meal that will stick to your bones, Harira soup is a dish that starts off with lamb broth and calls for hearty additions like tomatoes, red lentils, chickpeas, and other pulses. To balance out the spice, dip some sticky, sesame and honey baked pretzel in.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Tagine: Slow-cooked to perfection inside a claypot with a conical lid, these stews are warm and dewy, served with bread that soaks up the smoky juices of chicken, green olives, and lemons.

Tunisia

Staple Culinary Delights

Tunisian Food

Brik: Close to a samosa but with a more delicate pastry for the wrapping and filling options expanded to potatoes, eggs, and tuna, brik is further distinguished by being fried in grapeseed oil. 

Our Favourite Recommendation

Ojja: It’s cooked in a skillet so, obviously, it’s intended to be a breakfast food. But, these days, this delectable combination of eggs and merguez sausage, in a savoury tomato sauce is perfect any time.

Switzerland

Staple Culinary Delights

Swiss Food

Bratwurst with onion sauce: Swiss food is a delightful mix of German and French cuisine, as is evidenced by this scrumptious dish, made of bratwurst, with Rosti (a hot cake made of potatoes), accompanied with rich onion sauce.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Berner Platte: Undo your belts for this one. The Berner Platte consists of a variety of meats and sausages, including beef, smoked pork and beef tongue, and smoked belly of pork, cooked with juniper-spiced sauerkraut, pickled turnips, green beans, and boiled potatoes.

Croatia 

Staple Culinary Delights

Croatia Football

Black risotto: Croatian food is like an exotic take on most other European food. Take, for example, this intriguing dark risotto which is as cosy and creamy a dish as risotto is but with an element of surprise, thanks to the addition of squid ink.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Istarski fuzi: A popular hand-rolled pasta native to Istria, the ‘fuzi’ is usually served up with mushrooms, truffles, and chicken or beef stew.

Sweden

Staple Culinary Delights

Swedish Food

Jansson’s frestelse: The ‘frestelse’ stands for ‘temptation’ which, given this creamy potato and anchovy casserole, you can understand. It’s usually tucked into during the holiday season.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Marinated Salmon with Dill Potatoes: This may be more familiar to you as ‘Gravlax’ — yes, it’s the classic Swedish dish of dill-cured salmon, cut into thin slices, served with cold potatoes and even more fresh dill.

Denmark

Staple Culinary Delights

Danish Food

Smørrebrød: The Danish love their open-faced sandwiches because the combinations are essentially endless. Pick a rye bread and your favourite toppings, like raw herring, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, meat, and vegetables.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Pølser: Great on the go or during a picnic, the traditional Pølser is the Swedish version of the American hot dog and is served with a side of mustard, fried onions, and pickles.

Australia

Staple Culinary Delights

Australian Food

Anzac Biscuit: It started off as the ‘soldier’s biscuit’ because of its hard and dense texture. Over time, it’s been developed into a snacking staple that includes oats, flour, coconut, butter, and golden syrup.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Sausage Sanger: Sauce-drenched sausages wrapped in a single slice of bread and served with a fizzy soda. It doesn’t get simpler — or more classic — than this!

Peru

Staple Culinary Delights

Peruvian Food

Pollo a la Brasa: Also known as Peruvian chicken, Pollo a la Brasa features tender pieces of chicken, marinated in a mixture of vinegar, dark beer or soy sauce, salt, pepper, chili, and rosemary and then grilled to perfection.

Our Favourite Recommendation

Papa Rellena: A traditional croquette filled with spicy beef, hard boiled eggs, olives, and mashed potatoes, these snacks are absolutely delicious.

You can make things really interesting throughout the World Cup and try your hand at cooking some of these national treasures, and sure if you need to take a break, simply hit up Just Eat where we cater for all the top cuisines in the World Cup this year!

Enjoy!