Typical dinner foods vary greatly depending on where in the world you are. Numerous factors come into play to determine what meals are the most popular for dinner in each country. Elements such as religious and historic traditions, wealth and poverty, access to ingredients, and even weather can affect what people typically eat for dinner. Check out these average dinner meals in five different countries around the world.
United Kingdom: Meat And Two Veg
When foreigners think of British cuisine, ideas of fish and chips, steak and ale pie, or Sunday roast tend to come to mind. Although these foods are commonly eaten in the United Kingdom, one of the most standard weekday dinners is simply meat and two veg. Pretty self-explanatory, the dish consists of a kind of protein and then vegetable side dishes, although there are sometimes more than just two vegetables served.
Common meats that people eat for dinner in Britain include sausages, which also make up the basis of the dish called bangers and mash. The photo shows a typical meat and two veg dish eaten with toad-in-the-hole, which consists of sausages stuffed in a Yorkshire pudding.
The national dish in Zimbabwe is Sadza, a simple meal consisting of cornmeal. Typically, you’ll find it served with a vegetable stew or legumes, as shown in the photo. Meat, such as beef or goat, is also served with sadza for those who can afford it. For those who can’t afford it, a protein often comes in the way of fried insects.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Zimbabwe has high levels of poverty, with 34% of the population living in extreme poverty in 2020 and ingredients such as meat being considered luxury items for many families. Cornmeal, on the other hand, is a staple among the Indigenous population. On celebration days, such as Christmas, the Christian population of Zimbabwe might indulge in meat cooked on a spit that is shared by the entire village.
Norway: Meatballs In Gravy
The standard dinner in Norway varies greatly from person to person, as many international foods are now popular in the Scandinavian country. Although traditional Norwegian dishes are still cooked, global dishes such as pasta or stir-fry are also common in Norwegian households.
A typical and authentic Norwegian dish is meatballs, often served with gravy and potatoes. Norwegian meatballs are often made with ground beef or ground pork or both. When not served with gravy, they are often accompanied by heavy cream, sour cream, or goat’s cheese. Potatoes are traditional side dish in Norway, although other starches such as rice or pasta are becoming more popular. Potatoes are served in a variety of creative ways, from the dumplings known as klubb to crispy roasted potatoes.
Eritrea: Injera And Kitcha
Commonly found in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, injera is a popular flatbread with a spongy texture similar to a pancake. It is served as a staple in Eritrea and forms the base of many meals, along with the wheat bread known as kitcha. Rather than appearing on individual plates, foods like injera and kitcha are often served on communal bowls in Eritrea. People use the bread to scoop other dishes on offer, which typically consist of a range of stews.
Livestock such as goats, cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens are typically raised for eating in Eritrea and will sometimes be served with injera in the form of stew. Vegetables also go into the stews, which are more often than not extremely spicy. At restaurants in the former Italian colony, there are also many Italian-inspired dishes on offer, including pasta and pizza.
Switzerland: Café Complet
In many European countries, including Switzerland, dinner is thought to be a lighter meal than lunch. Hot main dishes tend to be served at lunch, which is the central meal of the day, while dinner is typically cold foods or light foods that are easy to digest. A traditional Swiss dinner is a café complet, which features a range of cold ingredients.
In an authentic café complet, you’ll find a variety of local cheeses and cold cuts served with Swiss bread. There is typically also butter, jam, and honey on offer, plus a hot drink such as a coffee or tea. In the colder months, people also eat hot soup or fried eggs for dinner.