Side dishes are an essential part of any meal as they provide balance and complement the main dish. Whether it’s a simple salad or a complex rice dish, side dishes can elevate a meal and take it to the next level. Every culture has its unique side dishes that are not only delicious but also reflect the history and traditions of that region. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular side dishes from around the world that are sure to tantalise your taste buds.
Garlic Bread – Italy
Garlic bread is a popular side dish that originated in Italy. This simple yet delicious dish is made by slicing a baguette or Italian bread, spreading garlic butter on the slices and baking them in the oven until they are crispy and golden brown. Garlic bread is often served as an appetiser in Italian restaurants as well as a popular snack food.
Kimchi – South Korea
Kimchi is a spicy South Korean side dish. It is made by fermenting vegetables, usually napa cabbage or radishes, with a mixture of salt, chilli pepper, garlic, ginger and other seasonings. Kimchi is known for its pungent aroma and tangy flavour and it is often served as a side dish with rice or as a condiment with meat dishes.
Coleslaw – United States
Coleslaw is a popular side dish in the United States made with shredded cabbage, carrots and a creamy dressing. The dressing is usually made with mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and mustard. It adds a tangy and a slightly sweet flavour to the dish. Coleslaw is mostly served as a side dish with barbecue, fried chicken, or fish and chips.
Papas Bravas – Spain
Papas Bravas, also known as Patatas Bravas is a popular Spanish side dish made with fried potatoes and a spicy tomato sauce. The potatoes are usually cut into small cubes and fried until they’re crispy and golden brown. The sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, chilli pepper and other seasonings. The sauce adds a spicy and tangy flavour to the dish. Papas Bravas is served as a tapa in Spanish bars and restaurants.
Naan Bread – India
Naan Bread, an Indian side dish, is made by baking dough in a clay oven called a tandoor. The bread is usually brushed with ghee or butter and served hot. Naan bread has a soft and chewy texture and it is often served with curries, kebabs and other Indian dishes.
Pico de Gallo – Mexico
Pico de Gallo is a fresh and flavourful side dish that is served in Mexican cuisine. It is a type of salsa and it is made with chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice and chilli peppers. Pico de Gallo adds a bright and zesty flavour to tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes.
Banchan – South Korea
Banchan is a collection of small side dishes that are served with a Korean meal. The dishes can vary widely, but they usually include kimchi, pickled vegetables, fish cakes and other small bites. Banchan is meant to be shared and enjoyed with the main course. It adds a variety of flavours and textures to the meal.
Hush Puppies – United States
The extremely popular side dish Hush Puppies are made with cornmeal, flour, eggs and milk. The batter is shaped into small balls and deep-fried until they are crispy and golden brown. Hush Puppies are often served as a side dish with seafood, barbecue, or any other fried food.
Tabbouleh – Middle East
Tabbouleh is a fresh salad served alongside Middle Eastern dishes. It is made with bulgur wheat, parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions and lemon juice. Tabbouleh has a light and refreshing flavour and it is often served as a side dish with grilled meat.
Colcannon – Ireland
Colcannon is a traditional Irish side dish that is made with mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, butter and cream. The dish has a rich and creamy texture. It is often served with bacon or corned beef. Colcannon is a comforting and hearty side dish that is perfect for cold winter days.
Ratatouille – France
Ratatouille is a classic French side dish that consists of sautéed vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. The vegetables are cooked in olive oil and seasoned with herbs like thyme and rosemary. Ratatouille is a flavourful and healthy side dish that is great for summer meals.
Fried Plantains – Caribbean
Ripe plantains are sliced and fried until they’re crispy and golden brown to be served as a side dish in many Caribbean or Southeast Asian countries. The dish has a sweet and savoury flavour. It is often served with rice and beans or jerk chicken. Fried plantains are a delicious and unique addition to any meal.
Tsatziki – Greece
Tsatziki is a creamy and refreshing side dish that is extremely famous in Greek cuisine. It is made with yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and dill. The dish has a tangy and slightly spicy flavour and it is mostly served as a dip with pita bread or as a side dish with grilled meat.
Roasted Vegetables – United Kingdom
Roasted vegetables are a simple but delicious side dish in the United Kingdom. The dish can include a variety of vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, parsnips and beets. The vegetables are roasted in the oven with olive oil, seasoned with rosemary and thyme. Roasted vegetables are a healthy and flavourful side dish that goes well with any meal.
Fried Rice – China
Fried rice is a Chinese side dish that comprises of rice, eggs, vegetables and sometimes meat. The dish is cooked in a wok or frying pan with soy sauce and other seasonings. Fried rice is a filling and flavourful side dish and a quick and easy meal too.
Side dishes are a delicious and important addition to any meal. From garlic bread in Italy to Kimchi in South Korea and Colcannon in Ireland, each culture has its unique and flavourful side dishes that add an extra layer of taste to any meal. So the next time you’re planning a meal, don’t forget to consider the side dishes and try something new and delicious!