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A national dish is a culinary dish that is strongly associated with a particular country.[1] A dish can be considered a national dish for a variety of reasons:

National dishes are part of a nation's identity and self-image.[2] During the age of European empire-building, nations would develop a national cuisine to distinguish themselves from their rivals.[3]

According to Zilkia Janer, a lecturer on Latin American culture at Hofstra University, it is impossible to choose a single national dish, even unofficially, for countries such as Mexico, China or India because of their diverse ethnic populations and cultures.[2] The cuisine of such countries simply cannot be represented by any single national dish. Furthermore, because national dishes are so interwoven into a nation's sense of identity, strong emotions and conflicts can arise when trying to choose a country's national dish.

Latin American dishes


In Latin America, dishes may be claimed or designated as a "plato nacional", although in many cases, recipes transcend national borders with only minor variations. Both Peru and Ecuador claim ceviche as their national dish. Stews of meat, plantains, and root vegetables are the platos nacionales of several countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean: Colombian ajiaco, as well as the sancocho of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Panama, are examples of platos nacionales. Janer (2008) observes that this sharing of the same plato nacional by different countries calls into question the idea that every country has a unique national dish that is special to that country; she states that cuisine does not respect national and geopolitical borders.[2]

The identification of Latin American national dishes is stronger among expatriate communities in North America.[2] In Latin American countries, the plato nacional is usually part of the cuisine of rural and peasant communities, and not necessarily part of the everyday cuisine of city dwellers. In expatriate communities, the dish is strongly reclaimed in order to retain the sense of national identity and ties to one's homeland, and is proudly served in homes and restaurants. By this show of national identity, the community can resist social pressures that push for homogenization of many ethnically and culturally diverse communities into a single all-encompassing group identity, such as Latino or Hispanic American.[2]

By country


This is not a definitive list of national dishes, but rather a list of some foods that have been suggested to be national dishes.

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