They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but dinner allows families and friends to come together to celebrate, share stories and gain sustenance. Here is a selection of the traditional meals that people eat all over the world.
When a group dines together many dishes are served at once at eaten from a small plate. With eight major regional cuisines in China, what is served can vary wildly. Dishes can include Pkeing duck, Xiao Long Bao dumplings, Chow Fun noodles consisting of seafood or meat, Hong Kong-style bundles of minced shrimp and egg noodles served in a wonton broth, or a fondue-like hot pot. Dishes are served with lashing of soy sauces, vinegar, or hot pepper oil.
It is believed that between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of India’s population are vegetarian – a statistic made difficult to pinpoint due to the fact that Indian Hindus do not consider people who eat eggs to be vegetarian. Therefore, Indian dinners can consist of a carbohydrate of rice, rotis or naan served with daal lentils or meat and cooked vegetables. But an average dinner will depend on the dozens of regional variations.
There’s a saying in Indonesia that its people aren’t full unless they've eaten rice – but what it is served with depends on the region. Chicken, tofu, and fish are popular options for dishes which are served alongside raw or blanched vegetables, and seasoned with spices. Soup is foten served on the side, as well as crackers or kerupuk.
Meat and potatoes of various styles dominate dinner plates in the US: be it hamburger and chips, fried chicken with mash potatoes, or steak with baked potatoes.
Brazil’s national dish is feijkoada – a thick stew with pork and beef that is prepared in a clay pot and served with rice. Yams or tapioca are also eaten as the carbohydrate component in dishes. A light dinner could consist of coffee, bread, cheese and cold cuts of meat.
Steamed rice is the centrepiece of Iranian cooking, and is often seasoned with saffron, apricots and currants – known as jewelled rice - or with dill. Heaps of rice are served with earthy curries - often made with ground nuts - with meat stews, or alongside kebabs and fish. Aash, a type of thick soup sometimes containing noodles and barley - is also popular.
Italy is known for its myriad types of pasta and pizza, but dishes of meat, vegetables and fish are also enjoyed as the chief component of main meals.
A traditional Italian mean consists of a small antipasto starter; a first course of pasta, soup, rice or polenta; followed by the secondo main course alongside a platter of vegetables, known as the contorno.
The food in Jamaica mixes flavours from Spain, the UK, Africa, India and China. Rice is a staple in Jamaica, and is often served with and peas. Ackee and saltfish is also a popular meal – both for dinner and breakfast – and is devoured with rice and peas, bread, dumplings, friend plantain or boiled green bananas. Meats – the most popular being pork and chicken – are often seasoned with sweet-yet-hot jerk spices.
Lunch is the main meal in Russia, and dinner is therefore the second largest meal of the day. Typically, a Russian dinner will consist of a few appetizers and hot main dishes comprised of potatoes, meat or fish. Draniki, a potato dish, meat balls covered with pastry known as pelemy, and Zharkoye, steamed meat with vegetables, are firm favourites.
A hugely diverse country, Nigeria does not have on particular national dish. But spiced boiled yams, or isu, stews with fish, and spicy jollof rice make up many Nigerian dinners. Cassava, corns, beans and plantains also often appear in Nigeria food.