In your country, what should I eat?

In search of some mouth-watering fare, we dove into more than 200 responses to compile a list of locally recommended, must-try dishes from around the world.

When it comes to what to eat in a new country, no one knows better than the people that live there. In search of some mouth-watering local foods, we dove into question-and-answer site to ask: “If I visit your country, what is the one dish I should not miss?

More than 200 people from countries across the world responded with their favourite fare, including sweet and savoury treats, quick snacks and multi-course meals, some of which are personal preferences, others are dishes representative of the entire country. It was hunger-inducing to choose, but here are just a few of the things we'll be ordering on our next visit.

Martabak manis in Indonesia
Jerry Anson, who now lives in California, raved about this sweet treat typically eaten in the afternoon or after dinner. “The top and bottom parts are basically spongy pancake,” he explained. “What's sandwiched in the middle can be anything sweet you can dream of, ranging from chocolate sprinkles to peanut pieces (or even banana pieces!).” Originating in Yemen, the matarabak made its way to Southeast Asia by way of Indian traders. Today, street vendors across Indonesia serve martabak manis in every variation, and Anson said the butter-heavy pancake makes it “super tasty"!

Bhatura in northern India
Manish Rai Jain, an engineer at, suggested this northern Indian bread as an alternative to the better known naan when eating a quintessential Punjabi dish. Unlike oven-baked naan, bhatura is deep fried, giving it a crispy, yet spongy, texture. Rai Jain suggested trying it in the dish known as chole bhature, where the bread is served with a spiced chickpea curry. “It’s generally eaten on weekend mornings, during travel or on occasions,” explained Rai Jain, and the inexpensive dish can be ordered at corner shops throughout New Delhi and northern India.

Foie gras, duck and chocolate in France
Though she recognised that each region in France has its own traditional dishes, Mimi Copi, who now lives in Denmark,  insisted visitors try a classic three-course menu that is quintessentially Gallic. Start with foie gras (goose or duck liver) as an appetizer for its “smooth and round” mouth feel, followed by a main course of magret de canard roti (roasted duck breast) served with a red fruit sauce and small baked potatoes. She suggested finishing the meal with the “pride of French desserts”, the fondant au chocolat, hot chocolate cake with a melting molten chocolate centre. Most traditional sit-down French restaurants in Paris and other big cities will have at least one – and likely all three – of these signature dishes.

Ilish in Bangladesh
Found in Bangladesh’s Padma, Meghna and Jamuna rivers, ilish is so popular it is the country’s national fish. Farig Yousuf Sadeque from the capital city of Dhaka offered up the unique, oily fish for the variety of ways it can be prepared.You can smoke them, fry them, put them in a mustard curry or infuse their flavour with vegetables. Whatever you do, you are in for a heavenly treat.” Yousuf Sadeque also suggested preparing them in a mustard-based curry sauce , but he added that the fried version is “ridiculously tasty"! Because of its spawning schedule, the fish is at its most flavourful during monsoon season (April to October), when restaurants all over the country feature it in creative preparations. 

Cream tea in England
Dan Knight from Devon in southwest England recommended cream tea as a snack between lunch and supper. Consisting of a fruit or plain scone topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam, cream tea dates back to the 12th Century, where ancient manuscripts suggest the dish was eaten at the Benedictine Abbey in the town of Tavistock. Knight was insistent that you should put the cream on the scone before the jam to be true to the treat’s Devon roots. A number of hotels and bed and breakfasts in the region serve the tea from 3 pm to 5 pm every afternoon.

Molokhia in Egypt
With origins dating back to Ancient Egypt, this vegetable dish remains popular throughout Africa and the Middle East, said local fashion stylist Amaani Sehaam. Leaves from the molokhia plant, described as a vegetable with a taste and texture similar to okra, are minced with a curved cutting tool called a mezzaluna. “It’s then cooked with ground coriander, garlic and stock and is often served with chicken, or more traditionally, rabbit,” Sehaam said. While traditionally a homemade meal, molokhia can also be ordered for dinner in Cairo restaurants such as Abou El Sid, which specialises in traditional cuisine.  

Smoked salmon in Scotland
Scots Derek Harkness, who now lives in China, and George Graham from the northwest Highlands showed support for the simplicity of their locally caught fish, which is exported across the world. Harkness suggested serving smoked salmon on brown bread with a little cream cheese and a bit of lemon. While farmed is the cheaper choice, both men said the wild, line-caught salmon packs more flavour. Smoked salmon can commonly be found on breakfast menus at cafes across the country, but can also be served in appetizers and lunch entrees at Scottish restaurants.

Emirati shawarma and lahm bi ajin in the United Arab Emirates
After leaving the UAE, Rohit Mathew, a self-described foodie and chronic online restaurant reviewer, admitted to missing the food more than he missed his parents. He said visitors especially should not miss authentic shawarma, made by roasting lamb or chicken on a spit. Popular throughout the region, shawarma has taken over the streets and food courts of Dubai, and can be snagged as an affordable lunch or late night snack. A small dish called lahm bi ajin was another of his picks. “Think of it as minced lamb pizza,” he said.

Empanadas in Argentina
While many South American countries serve some version of this small pastry, Argentina has become known as the empanada capital, thanks to their ubiquity across every region and the population’s sheer love for them. “We have as many ways of making empanadas as provinces, so they might taste different depending on your location,” said local software engineer Matias Javier De Marco. The pastry can be filled with anything from chicken to goat meat to fish, along with vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, and spiced with any number of flavours. While he prefers the ones in the northwest city of Salta, which are baked (as opposed to fried) and filled with beef, he said: “the only rule is that you need to try this dish outside of Buenos Aires if you want the real deal." Take-out shops across the country specialise in the snack (usually eaten as an appetizer, though a few can make a meal), and often serve a number of different varieties. The northwest province of Tucumán even holds at National Empanada Festival every September, where their rich, hearty version, usually baked in fat or fried, is celebrated.

Bison, elk or venison in the United States
Garrett Smith from Montana said visitors would swear off steak after eating one of these tasty game meats. “You'll never want to eat a cow again,” he promised.  While easier to get in western states such as Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, game meat can often be bought in jerky from convenience stores in rural areas close to forests and hunting grounds. It is also prepared more traditionally as steaks or medallions at high end restaurants in the region. Since the meats tend to be much leaner than beef, order them rare to medium rare to avoid them drying out.

Dumplings in China
A number of Quora users mentioned that travellers must try these seafood-, meat- or vegetable-filled bites. “Dumplings are the essential food of the Spring Festival [Chinese New Year] which is our biggest festival,” said Lcc Li Yu from Hong Kong. The dumplings served at this time are often shaped like a crescent moon or ingots, an old Chinese currency, and often a coin will be placed in one of the dumplings promising good luck for the person who finds it. Tina Ma, from a small village in China now living in Hangzhou, said visitors should forgo the traditional steamed dumpling and go with the fried version. “I think it's more delicious,” she said. One of the country’s most versatile foods, dumplings can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Find a variety at dim sum restaurants or street carts throughout large cities.