Calling all night owls! Anyone who considers 11 PM to still be an 'early' night knows the feeling when it hits. It's midnight and suddenly, your stomach starts rumbling. It's making a noise like an angry bear about to attack its prey and before you know it, you're reaching for the nearest takeout menu. And then, the realization dawns on you: nothing is open at this hour, at least not within a reasonable delivery distance. The only two options left are to make something at home or pick up an order... and we're opting for the second.
Late-night snacks are practically a universal food language around the world. Every country has its version of what's considered to be especially delicious when the clock strikes midnight, and we're taking notes. From late-night noodles to carb-loaded donuts and even charcuterie, the world is a night owl's oyster when it comes to creating the perfect late-night meal. so put down that pizza menu and take a lesson from one of these dishes.
U.S.: Disco Fries
Not to be confused with Canada's popular poutine, disco fries are unique to the U.S. and got their start in New Jersey. While quite similar, disco fries swap out cheese curds for melted mozzarella. Other than that, the dish is essentially the same - a hefty ladleful of hot gravy gets poured over the top of the fries and mozzarella, resulting in a cheesy, steamy plate that's perfect at 1 AM.
Colombia: Pan de Yuca
For some reason, cheese just tastes better late at night, as these late-night snacks certainly imply. Pan de yuca is a popular Colombian snack that's essentially bread baked with cheese, and it's delicious anytime but goes over exceptionally well at night. There's something about indulging in carbs and dairy when the rest of the world is sleeping that makes it so unbelievably delicious.
It's known as a popular takeout item in the U.S. but in Japan, it's a popular late-night snack, and one of the best, at that. Udon is very easy to whip up which is probably why so many people prefer it over other noodles but it's also satisfying and filling. There's nothing like going to sleep with a full stomach after slurping down some tasty noodles.
Germany: Döner Kebab
Kebabs are good any time of the day or night and while the kebab is popular throughout Europe, Germany's twist on the dish is especially unique. To start, the bread that holds the kebab is fluffy and light, similar to that of naan bread or flatbread. Into that goes marinated lamb which is cooked and sliced before being topped with a delicious and fresh yogurt sauce.
A late-night snack doesn't always entail something savory and in the case of a late-night sweet tooth, loukoumades are a specialty in Greece. These aren't just any regular donuts; these tiny fried balls of dough are cooked and then soaked in sweet honey syrup. When they're finished, they get a topping of either sesame seeds or chopped walnuts which add a perfect crunch and nuttiness. Is your mouth watering yet?
Charcuterie isn't off-limits when it comes to late-night snacks, either, especially in Spain. Fuet is a dry-cured sausage that's known throughout Spain, specifically for its use in late-night dishes. This sausage, which has a bit of spice thanks to the occasional peppercorn addition, is sliced up and used most commonly in a baked egg dish that incorporates mushrooms for a hit of savory umami flavor.
Italy: Midnight (Garlic) Spaghetti
In the same way that cheese tastes so much better right before bedtime, pasta has a habit of tasting the same way. In this case, though, the only cheese in the dish is the parmesan that will be grated over the top when it's finished. Garlic spaghetti is quite popular in the U.S. as well as in Italy but in the latter, it's well-known for its late-night satisfaction. Not everyone would be thrilled to go to bed having garlic breath but after one bite of this deliciously bold pasta dish, you won't even care.
U.K.: Cheese Board
In a brazen display of breaking the late-night food rules, the U.K. is known for its indulgence in cheese plates at all hours of the night. These cheese plates are simple and often include several local kinds of cheese, some crackers, and chutneys, making for a well-balanced before-bedtime meal. There's also a social aspect to sharing a cheese board which makes being a night owl even better as long as you have friends to share the late hour with.