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Hollywood Cuisine
"Without my stinky ancestors, we'd still be eating ham steak with pineapple ring."
Anthony Bourdain

The Flanderization of a single culture's cooking into a few recognizable tidbits. Handy for those who can't be bothered to do the research and whose experience with the cuisine in question is limited to visiting a few restaurants.

Of course, the cuisine of the writer's native country tends to get filled in a bit more. With local media, internal geographic regions and ethnicities may receive similar treatment.

Americans' ideas of the cuisines of many cultures were originally based on the foods associated with immigrants from those countries, which is often different from what people actually ate back in the old country due to different ingredients being available and/or cheap (the classic example being the association between the Irish and corned beef and cabbage—in Ireland, it's back bacon and cabbage, but land-rich 19th-century America featured relatively cheap beef and relatively expensive bacon while in Ireland it was the other way 'round). Not to mention immigrant restaurant owners catering to American tastes, which has resulted in the creation of entire genres of food (Chinese-American, Tex-Mex, etc) which are actually foreign to the countries with which they are associated.

Sister Trope to Foreign Queasine. See also Drink Order.

Examples by Culture

  • Africa: I'm a Humanitarian, worms. "Bushmeat". Yams. Goats. Or nothing at all. In reality, of course, Africans eat quite a lot of different foods. However, there is a culinary belt running from Nigeria to South Africa—roughly tracking the region settled by the Bantu-speaking peoples—where meals are based on a mashed starch paste (e.g. West African fufu made from yam or Southern African nshima or pap made from maize) which you eat with your hands, wrapped around a "relish" of meat or vegetable stew.
    • North Africa gets a slightly better press. They had the Muslim Middle East and then the French influence. Couscous, roasted vegetables, lamb... delicious, spicy curries... that yummy tea with mint in it.
    • Countries influenced by Spain are popular. Morocco has a bustling tourism industry based around eating, and Mediterranean hotels will serve at least one dish labelled "Moroccan" during every meal.
    • South Africa, at least for those who have met its white expats, is perceived to be all about the braai ("barbecue" or "cookout"note  sums it up, but to a native Sed Efrrrrikan it is almost a religion, hedged about with ritual and formality). If it can be burnt on a braai, a South African will eat it. South Africa also gives the world biltong, best thought of as air-dried vinegar-cured jerky or pemmican, ideally based on exotic native lifeforms. And then there's mealiepap, a sort of savoury porridge which accompanies the meat at a braii.
    • Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia share a common culinary heritage (although they argue about it a lot), and share a few traits: (1) a kind of spongy flatbread, called injera in Ethiopia and canjeero in Somalia), traditionally made from an odd cereal called teff but now made from other grains; (2) eating stewed meats and vegetables with this flatbread (utensils such as forks and knives aren't used); and (3) extreme spiciness.
  • American:
    • General: Hamburgers, hot dogs, and fast food all around. Also turkey, through association with Thanksgiving.
    • Deep South: Grits, black-eyed peas, and the occasional Appalachian moonshine. Meat is generally fresh from the hog, particularly ham or bacon. Fried food popular, especially chicken.
      • Memphis and Carolinas: Southern style BBQ
    • African-American "soul food" features many southern staples. There's also the stereotypical food preferences for fried chicken, collard greens, corn bread, watermelon, and Kool-Aid. The association of these foods with racist caricatures, however, has made it taboo to talk about them. And an African-American that is not from the South will definitely not be amused.
    • The Big Easy: Cajun food, crawfish, gumbo, po' boys. Mint Juleps. Creole food, especially jambalaya.
    • Florida: Oranges oranges oranges. Citrus. Gator tail, catfish, and who knows what else in the swampy backwoods. Northern and Central Florida is a mix between Big-Easy and Deep South, Southern Florida and Tampa Bay has more Latin and Caribbean Cuisine. Emphasis on seafood all around. Also Key Lime pie, and fruity mixed drinks like margaritas and daiquiris.
    • New England: A general surfeit of fish and other seafood, especially cod. Clams, particularly in chowder form, are also popular, although locals actually prefer them fried. Irish cuisine is also popular due to the heavily Irish-American population.
      • Note: Boston has a healthy Italian population too and is a great place for Irish pubs and Italian restaurants.
    • Pennsylvania is flavored by Pennsylvania Dutch (ie German) cuisine, particularly cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. Pennsylvanian pot pies are a stew-like dish with squares of cooked simple dough mixed in. What everyone else calls "pot pies" are called "meat pies" there.
      • Submarine sandwiches are properly called hoagies there.
    • Midwest: Dairy products and hamburgers. Minnesotan/Norwegian lutefisk. Hotdish/casserole in the upper Great Lakes area. Dessert bars, such as lemon, peanut butter and chocolate chip. Super-flat St. Louis-style pizza is some sort of national joke, even though most major pizza chains now carry similar thin-crust pizza.
      • Kansas City: Barbecue, city is known as the stopping point for Texas's cattle drives.
    • Chicago-style hot dogs and deep dish pizza are iconic of the city. Polish food is also common, due to the large Polish-American population.
    • Detroit and Chicago are both known for their Polish cuisine, such as kielbasa and pączki (the latter of which is universally consumed in Detroit on Fat Thursday, or really any time in the week leading up to Lent).
    • Upper Peninsula of Michigan: Pasties, ya? (Get your mind out of the gutter—see the bit about Britain below.) Also, Mackinac Island—between the UP and LP—has its famous fudge.
    • Pacific Northwest - Asian fusion, massive amounts of fish, and gallons of damn good coffee. (This applies to the Canadian portion of the region as well.)
    • California - Any dish with "California" in its name means it has avocado, which is plentiful and popular there. "California cuisine" is generally known for fusion and extreme artiness, such as "orange-scented carnitas with blackberry salsa and creme fraiche remoulade". Lots of fresh vegetarian dishes. California wine country also provides loads of quality local wines.
      • Bay Area: sourdough bread, emphasis on seafood near Fisherman's Wharf, Chinese and Japanese food prevalent.
      • In-and-Out Burger, also a likely location for the Malt Shop.
    • Texas - a lot of food associated with the Deep South, plus "Tex-Mex" and lots of barbecue. Steaks. Giant steaks.
    • New York - deli food, bagels, and baked ziti. Extremely greasy yet inexplicably delicious thin-crust pizza is somehow associated with Brooklyn — examplars Grimaldi's and DiFara's are in Brooklyn, though Lombardi's, arguably the home of New York style pizza, is in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Note to outsiders: Though thin, the pizza is flexible. Fold it, it allows you to eat it like a civilized human being.
      • New York City's ability to have just about any ethnic restaurant, for any nationality you can think of.
      • Buffalo is famous for chicken wings, also their spicy, greasy sauce.
    • Maryland - crab cakes: blue crabs and Old Bay Seasoning.
    • Washington, DC - Half-smokes (large, spicy hot dog-like sausages made of a coarsely-ground mix of smoked beef and smoked pork).
    • Colorado, either wild game (venison, and buffalo especially) or if in Boulder, hippie granola and tofu.
    • Southwest: Mexican food, brought in by Mexican-American immigrants. Chipotle and corn as ingredients.
    • Wisconsin: Beer brats (bratwurst), lots of beer, Cheese, some resemblance to German cuisine really.
  • Australian: Somewhat like Britain, but with Vegemite and beer. Emphasis on the beer. Also "shrimp on the barbie", though most real Australians use the term "prawn".
    • Another advertising-related food fail: though internationally Foster's is advertised as being 'Australian for beer', it hasn't been popular in Australia since the 1970s, and isn't even available at most Australian pubs.
    • Sausage sizzles, kebabs (especially at 3 in the morning), spag bol and fish and chips.
    • The infamous Meat Pie Floater, essentially a pastry case full of un-named meat floating upside down in a container of mushy peas.
  • Austrian: Similar to Germany, but add Wiener Schnitzel, apple strudel, and maybe Sachertorte. If you're really lucky, coffeehouses will be a setting.
  • Belgium. Beer (often from a small brewery), "French" friesnote  and chocolates. More knowledgeable folks will remember to dip the fries in a mayonnaise-based sauce and include a big bucket of mussels.
  • Brazilian: Meat, meat, meat, black beans, meat, rice, collard greens, meat, beans, and meat. And cheese. And meat. (There's also a wide selection of Afro-Brazilian and seafood dishes, but those are irrelevant to the stereotype. The substantial cuisines derived from European and Asian immigrants will get ignored too.)
  • British: Considered The Scrappy of cuisines by the Americans, French and Italians among others. As portrayed, British cuisine has three types of dish: bland (e.g. fish and chips), disgusting (e.g. blood pudding and haggis), and bland and disgusting (e.g. mushy peas, warm beer). Oh—and don't forget the tea. Lots and lots of tea. A more specific breakdown follows, but first:
    Craig Kilborn: Why does British food suck?
    John Cleese: We had an Empire to run!
    • English: Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (the French actually nickname them 'les rosbifs'), especially at Sunday lunch.note  Scones to go with the Spot of Tea. Fish and chips to be served with the mushy peas and malt vinegar. The beer should actually be "cellar temperature" - i.e. kept in the cold, but not refrigerated (this applies to bitter but not lager; like everyone else, the British refrigerate their lager). Pies (meat pies, that is) are very big Oop North, while pasties are bigger in the Southwest (asking whether Devon or Cornwall invented them is a good way to start a war).
      • However, there is one place the English kitchen shines: desserts, particularly anything involving custards and (sweet) puddings. Even the French (grudgingly) admit it: there's a reason they call custard crème anglaise.
    • Scottish: There's the perception that they deep-fry everything. They do; don't make the mistake of asking for a pie and chips in a Scottish takeaway. They also have porridge, haggisnote  (which they will also gladly deep-fry) and shortbread (which they probably won't). Whisky should always be spelled that way. Do not ever suggest it isn't better than Irish whiskey.
    • Welsh: Lamb, and of course Welsh rarebit (more authentically Welsh rabbit, which is a joke and makes more sense), a thick sauce of cheese, beer and mustard, spread on toast and browned under the grill. Cheese in general (especially Caerphilly, the only Welsh cheese most can name)—the English have been joking about the Welsh fondness for cheese since at least the 16th century. Lesser known are "laver" (a type of seaweed, often used to make "laver bread"—which is kind of nonindicative, as it consists of laver boiled and minced till it turns to jelly, rolled in oatmeal, and then fried) and cawl (a type of meat and vegetable stew, also used as the modern Welsh word for "soup").
    • A more general one for all British countries (plus Ireland) is "Breakfast": the greasy kind with eggs, potatoes, sausages, and tomatoes cooked in bacon fat, plus baked beans and local bread (possibly toasted in bacon fat) and a slice of fried black pudding (probably cooked in bacon fat). Each region has its own variation (for instance, the Welsh include cockles and laver bread—both of which are rather likely to be fried in bacon fat—while the Scots occasionally use haggis for the sausage, and in both Northern Ireland and the Republic the bread is usually soda bread), but to quote W Somerset Maugham:
    "To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day."
    • Black Pudding is appalling to look at but is thoroughly delicious. The Irish have a counterpart of White Pudding which is also much nicer than it looks. Just don't enquire about the ingredients.
    • Another all-British dish is Anglicized curry (just called curry there). It differs greatly from traditional Indian curry in that it almost always contains meat and almost never contains lentils. Also beef curry is possible to find which is something you would pretty much never find in India (beef-friendly places like Goa aside). In fact, some British firms now export dishes such as chicken tikka masala to India, where it is seen as a luxury import.
    • Our most popular highball cocktail also came from the Indian Colonies, Gin and Tonic, which was invented to combat malaria. (Tonic water used to contain quinine a very effective medicine for malaria, and gin was added because it's lovely.note )
    • In the culinary challenge Come Dine with Me, in which five carefully selected random strangers living in a chosen British town are brought together to plan and serve dinner parties for each other, various American expats in Englad have featured and while some were polite about it, an American resident in Bristol (home of the edible faggot) frankly said the biggest ordeal was going to be eating disgusting British food on four successive nights.
    • British food can't be all bad. One of Adam Richman's rather disgusting big-eats challenges, in Man v. Food was at a British diner in Florida that did thriving business - to Americans as well as Brits on holiday - serving fish and chips, cod cooked in a beer batter. Essentially British fast food cooked in American super-super-mega-size quantities. To Brits, one deep fried fish fillet is an ample sufficiency. Adam had to eat eight. But he thought it was delicious.
    • In recent years, London has emerged as a trendy restaurant spot, and a number of celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, have come to prominence, so the U.K.'s culinary reputation looks poised to change.note 
  • Canadian: Back bacon, maple syrup, maple-y back bacon, basically anything else with maple syrup in, beer, poutine, and coffee and donuts from Tim Horton's.
    • Poutine is depicted as a national cuisine although it's actually a very regional dish specific to Québec. The poutine available elsewhere in the country is a fast-food variant made with processed cheese and instant gravy.
      • Specific to Montreal, smoked meat and bagels, which are different from the smoked meat and bagels of New York. Just as the New Yorker will argue with the Chicagoan as to whose pizza is better, he will argue with the Montrealer over bagels and smoked meat.
    • And according to "Weird Al" Yankovic, they all live on donuts and moose meat.
  • Chinese: Lots of noodles, rice, vegetables and monosodium glutamate, with some meat thrown in every now and then. (No, it is not dog.) They eat it with those funny-looking chopsticks that few Westerners can figure out.
    • Egg rolls! And "fortune cookies" in restaurants (which aren't Chinese).
    • The most persistent myth is that all Chinese food is the same, despite being a huge (and diverse) country in both population and size. The stuff you get in Chinese restaurants is mostly Cantonese, with a bit of Szechuan and Hunan. Aside from that, the takeout food will always be presented as the genuine article. It does not remotely resemble true Chinese cuisine.
    • Within China, dishes from Sichuan are stereotyped as being spicy enough to set things on fire, the stuff from Hunan is considered the peasant food that everyone has to like because Chairman Mao said so. The Beijing food is so boring as to not have any special dish (except the much mocked Peking ducks), the Northerners as the ones who seems to subsist entirely on beef and noodles, while the Southerners are the ones who would eat anything not nailed down (the oft-quoted joke about the Chinese eating "everything with four legs that is not a table, everything that swims that is not a submarine, and everything that flies and is not an airplane" is actually an adaptation of a joke Northern Chinese told about Southerners; in a map compiling searches Chinese people make about China's provinces, the most common search for Guangdong was "eats monkeys"). And those from Inner Mongolia are the ones who seems to be overly fond of their sheep, and let us not speak about those from Tibet and their yaks...
    • Many Americans believe the myth about how Mongolian Barbeque originated in Mongolia. Allegedly, the Mongolian Warriors of olden times were said to overturn their shields and used them as makeshift woks to stir fry the meat and vegetables over a fire. Actually, Mongolian BBQ originated in Taiwan and has its roots in Japanese teppanyaki. Actual Mongolian cuisine is hearty stews, dairy, and mutton is heavily influenced by Russian cuisine. Due to the cold climate, there are very few vegetables (other than tubers and roots) and even fewer spices. The restaurant owners (who are usually Asian and actually do know better) bear the brunt of the blame as they tend to be the source of some of this misinformation, and name their restaurants after the likes of Genghis Khan and such. The spicy Chinese takeout dish Mongolian Beef is also not related in any way to authentic Mongolian cuisine. "Mongolian grill"— and the related dish Mongolian beef—is indeed the invention of the Hui people, a completely sinicized Central Asian group that has nothing different from Han except for being Muslims.
    • Of course, to to drink, there is plenty of tea. There's also rice wine and liquor so strong it's been compared in flavor to lighter fluid.
  • Dutch: Cheese. They might also have "special brownies."
    Bill Bailey: Dutch food - very bland. "You wanna toashtie? We got ham toastie, cheese toastie... cheese and ham toastie... you want a bit of onion?? Oho, you crazy man!"
    • Very big on fries, covered in all sorts of stuff, of which mayonnaise is the least bizarre.
      • Also big on croquettes as fast food—also deep-fried. Actually, the Dutch are kind of big on deep-frying in general, although nowhere near as much as the Americans (let alone the Scots).
    • Everything else is mashed together and heated in a single pot. They even have different names for different mashes.
    • Grolsch (and Heineken) beer - even though the Netherlands has a wide variety of beers and the above mentioned aren't particularly popular compared to Amstel or Hertog Jan.
  • French: Considered the 'king of cuisines' by the culinary world's version of artistes (with all the pretentiousness that comes with it). The Hollywood version tends to involve lots of baguettes, and wines and cheeses with funny names. And snails (called 'escargot' over there). And frogs. And the eponymous fries (which are, in France, associated with Belgium) and toast (unknown in France as suchnote ). Any French restaurant will invariably be called Chez Something or Other and be full of happy dining couples; the waiter will be a condescending jerk. At least one of two things will happen: the Fish out of Water American tourist struggles with the unfamiliar pronunciation, food and dining etiquette; and when the bill comes, it will be immense.
    • A subset of french haute cuisine is "la nouvelle cuisine", which tends to be served in ultramodern and trendy restaurants where all the food are fussily overprepared and plated like works of art (which is kind of an odd view considering that true nouvelle cuisine is all about natural flavors and eschewing the fussiness and overpreparation of traditional French cooking), but the portions are so small that the meal can probably be eaten in 5 minutes if you don't talk too much.
  • Finland: An overheard joke about Finnish food during the Finnish Presidency of the EU by the French President appears to have been pivotal in the awarding of the Olympic Games to London when the offended Finns reportedly changed their intended votes. What was served up at the meal in question wasn't reported...
  • German: Beer, sausages, beer, sauerkraut, beer, black bread, and beer. Sauerkraut is actually more popular in Russia and Poland, but is strongly associated with Germany (to the point that "kraut" became an ethnic slur), where again it is mostly served only in parts of the south. Everything will be extremely heavy and fattening, and so will the people eating it. Sausages and black whole-grain bread—especially rye—are also stereotypical, with "sausage-eater" being a secondary slur for Germans; Germans don't care, and proudly inform you that Germany has over 1500 kinds of sausage and 300 kinds of bread, so you could have a different combination daily for ten years and not repeat once. Expect massive steins being served by buxom maidens in dirndls to men in lederhosen. Also beer and Schnapps. Pretzels (when those aren't associated with Pennsylvania...but then, Pennsylvania got them from the Germans, so it all comes together in the end). Beer!
    • In Bavaria, beer will only ever be served in 1 liter "Maß" glasses, while in Cologne, they only ever drink "Kölsch" 1/5 liter glasses. There seems to be at least some Truth in Television to that one.
    • Oh, and for dessert: It will be Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake/gâteau), or nothing. This is not truth in television.
  • Greek: Other than gyros, tends to get confused with Italian, even though it's closer to Middle Eastern. Souvlaki, moussaka and spanakopita will be heard of, but not elaborated upon. Also, olives, yoghurt and goat's cheese. Baklava. Kebabs. And garlic. At one time, Greek-Americans were said to be self-conscious about the amount of garlic in Greek food, but no one really minds anymore. To drink there is ouzo.
    • And avgolemono. And lots of lamb. Contrary to popular opinion, falafel is not Greek.
  • Hungarian: Goulash, goulash, goulash. Which actually applies to an entirely different food; the version Americans (and even other Europeans) know is The Theme Park Version and is a stew, not a soup. Paprika colours everything red. If there is wine, it will be Tokaji.
    • Goulash (or, in Hungarian, gulyasleves) isn't eaten that often. More popular staple foods would be Langos (sort of a deep-fried pizza with sour cream) or anything with straight-up lard, mostly plain bread. Sour cherries predominate in desserts.
  • Irish: Potatoes and Guinness. Also known for stew.
    • The beverage distilled from malt or grain is spelt "whiskey". Do not ever suggest that it isn't at least as good as Scotch whisky.
    • Corned beef and cabbage, contrary to American belief are actually Irish-American staples, due to poor Irish immigrants flocking to Jewish delis (bacon and cabbage is much more traditional in Ireland itself.)
  • Indian: Tends to be so spicy it burns a hole in the diner's guts (somewhat Truth in Television). Or curry. Lots and lots of curry. British TV tends to take a more charitable view of Indian food since it's now a staple food over there. And even then, it's usually the generic version of North-West Indian food seen in restaurants. Also noted for not containing beef.
  • Italian: Pasta, pasta, and more pasta. Sometimes even pizza, too, if that isn't thrown into American cuisine instead. Standard dishes also include spaghetti with meatballs (although Italians eat both spaghetti and meatballs, the combination of the two in one course is strictly Italian-American; if it's ever made in Italy, it's because of Disney) and its close relative, spaghetti alla bolognese (crumbled ground beef added to the tomato sauce... which are considered near-sacrilegious by the people who actually live in Bologna, who make ragù with mixed meats and serve it with tagliatelle - that is, ribbon-shaped egg pasta). Like the French, Italians love wine, and can frequently be seen holding tiny cups of ridiculously strong espresso. And "espresso" is actually known in Italy simply as caffè.
    • Cheeses: Asiago, gorgonzola, mozzarella, provolone, Parmigiano Reggiano/Grana Padano (parmesan), pecorino romano, ricotta, toma piemontese, tomino, Casu marzu, scamorza and dozens of other varieties.
    • Note particularly the curious use of "Tuscan" to describe some mass-market Italian food in the United States — in actual fact, Tuscan food only faintly resembles Italian-American (or for that matter southern Italiannote ) cooking at all, and is best known in Italy for beans, wild game, and curiously saltless bread. This will never, ever come up in most depictions of Italian food.
    • True Italian pizza is very much different from what counts as pizza in most other parts of the world: the pizza someone can eat in Rome is thin and crispy like a biscuit, while the classical Neapolitan pizza is much thicker and comes with far more topping. The commonly known pizza - thick, doughy, cheesy and covered in spices or strange ingredients - is more of an American thing.
      • Important note: The "New York style" pizza common on the East Coast of the US is a reasonable facsimile of the Neapolitan stuff (there are some minor differences: e.g. New York-style can be a little bit thinner, especially around the outer crust). Not quite the same, but closer than the pizza anywhere else (except maybe certain parts of South America with large Italian populations like São Paulo and Buenos Aires). The thick, doughy, cheesy stuff came as a result of Italian-Americans in the Midwest hybridizing the thick Sicilian sfinciuni with Neapolitan pizza.
  • Jamaican: Jerk chicken, jerk sauce, fried plantains, and rice and beans. Jokes about "jerk" food and the goat stew called "mannish water" may abound. Will often be applied to other Caribbean islands too.
  • Japanese: Like Chinese, except with raw fish!
    • Sushi! Which everyone still thinks is nothing but raw fish (strictly speaking, "sushi" is just the rice; it doesn't have to include fish at all)!
    • Poor college students will be depicted as living off of cheap instant ramen. In reality, Japan has quite a few different kinds of noodles, and ramen isn't even the most popular.
  • Korean: Mostly consists of barbecue and kimchi. Occasionally, the odd dog soup joke is thrown around, just for the shock value. Also can be real spicy.
    • Interestingly, meat dish used to be uncommon in Korea, if only because meat of all kinds was in very short supply. Spicy Korean food is a recent invention, with the chili pepper being a New World crop that has only been introduced in 17th century and initially looked down upon as a strange foreign product.
    • Also, Spam. In the West, it's considered a mildly-disgusting Mystery Meat. In Korea, it's considered a luxury item. It helps that the meat in Korean-made Spam is of a much higher quality than American Spam. One of the "staple national recipes" of Korea is "budae jjigae" or "army base stew", since during the Korean War, Spam imported from United States was literally the only meat that could be found anywhere, so that's what they used.
  • Mexican: Most people outside of Mexico think of this as tacos and burritos, but that's really The Theme Park Version of real Mexican cuisine. Also tends to be loaded with chili peppers. Also beans. And tequila.
    • Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chalupas, etc, are all forms of culinary origami; which is which mostly depends how you fold up the tortilla around the other ingredients.note 
    • Cuisines of other Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas will often be lumped together with Mexico. Especially ridiculous considering the cuisines of other countries such as Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and Cuba do not resemble Mexican cuisine that strongly. (They have some ingredients and dishes in common, but no more than most European countries have some ingredients and dishes in common.)
    • Cuisines of other Latin-American countries tend to closely resemble Spanish food with of course variations between countries and especially local ingredients. Many of these are sometimes present in Mexican food such as the flan and the empanada. Rice and beans are a staple much like the Jamaica example above.
    • The closer you get to Cancun or other Mexican coasts the closer you get to showing taquilla and margaritas (and sometimes a Mezcal worm in the taquilla). In American Mexican restaurants "Cancun" and "Acapulco" can suggest seafood, especially fish tacos or any of the above Mexican dishes with ship as a filling.
  • Middle Eastern: Either gets lumped in with Indian food or consists of barely edible kebabs made from bits of animal that even dogs won't eat. If you got lucky and your writer has actually been to the Middle East, there will be falafel, hummus (which is becoming more popular in the US), tabbouleh, and pita bread. Turkish coffee may make an appearance (note: do not discuss the appropriateness of its name).
    • Also, never make any assertions about the origins of baklava, sweet mint tea, the fried dough dessert the Greeks call loukoumades, that thing Arabs call shawerma, or any number of other dishes.
    • Then again, "falafel" is an inherently funny word, which ups its chances of being namedropped in media, whether the writer in question has eaten it or not.
    • Arab, Iranian and even Afghan food will not be distinguished; in reality they are quite different and it's debatable whether the last two countries count as Middle Eastern at all.
    • Armenia, as the meeting-point of Europe, the Middle East and Asia, has the original "fusion cuisine" bringing together the best ideas of everyone who's ever passed through. A typical Armenian mixed platter might carry foodstuffs familiar to Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Turkish, Russian cuisine, as well as pleasing hints of countries further to the East. Of course, Armenia being Armenia, all the dishes are associated with someone else, although sometimes apricotsnote  (and therefore, rice with apricots) and lavash are assigned to Armenian cuisine.
    • In the Middle East, everyone has stereotypes of each other's food:
      • Lebanese: The French of the Middle East, they make almost everything better than everyone else in the region and they know it. Fortunately, they aren't quite as stuck-up (years of being everybody else's political chewtoy will do that to you), and Lebanese restaurants are at least as likely to be fast-food places as high-class. They like to grill more than anyone else in the world, except maybe the Americans and some of the South Americans—but then, many of the South Americans are Lebanese. Noted for their fondness for garlic, lemon, yogurt and raw meat.
      • Syrian: Like Lebanese, but less refined and perhaps a bit more robust/heartier. Actually, this is the stereotype of Syria in general.
      • Saudi/Gulf: Meat. Fatty, roasted meat. Especially camel. Especially, especially camel hump (which is mostly fat). Served in large portions with ungodly amounts of rice. Or in other words, kabsa.
      • Jordanian: Mansaf. That's it.
      • Israeli: Do not discuss Israeli cuisine anywhere in the Middle East that isn't Israel. They will characterize Israeli cuisine the same way Mark Twain once characterized a manuscript: "both original and good, but what's originally Israeli is terrible, and what's good is stolen! From us!" For their part, Israelis would accept that a lot of their cuisine is borrowed, but would refute the claim that all of it was borrowed from the Middle East—some of it was borrowed from Central and Eastern Europe. In all seriousness, however, Israel does have quite a few good culinary innovations, and although not all of them are all that great (even an Israeli will give a foreigner a pass for not liking mud coffee), some are quite worthwhile (e.g. ptitim—so-called "Israeli couscous"—and Meurav Yerushalmi). Furthermore, it is true that "Israeli cuisine" in (e.g.) America means "Middle Eastern, but prepared by Jews".
      • Also known to take masochistic pride in excessively vinegary and salty foods; that's one way to be sure it's Kosher. Eating it is as solemn a rite as confessional.
      • The Israeli version of "Hollywood Israeli" cuisine is weirdly self-deprecating — the only things they really point to as being uniquely Israeli are turkey schnitzel, chickpea falafelnote , and a particular style of chopped salad that was created by the early kibbutzniks. Also, harissa (from North Africa) and s'khug (from Yemen), truly terrifying hot sauces rivaled only by southeast Asian sambal and some of the more masochistic products of the US and various Caribbean islands.
      • Yemeni: Usually, gets blank stares, although some might get that it's spicy right. Writers who have done the research comment on its diversity, and often swear that the Yemeni kitchen is better than the Lebanese. In this sense, it might be helpful to think of Yemeni as the Italian cuisine to the Lebanese French.
      • Iraqi: Like their neighbors, but not as good.
      • Iranian: Pilaf, lavash, lamb, and thick omelets. If the writers know what they're talking about, they'll mention an obsession with saffron and roses. And pomegranate. And walnut.
      • Turkish: Döner kebab and lots of stuff with phyllo dough. Plenty of yogurt, too, as well as stranger dairy items. Also, Turkish coffee. Expect pita bread as well.
      • Egyptian: Foul medemmes (slow-cooked fava beans, eaten for breakfast), bread, koshary, bread, excessive pride over falafel, molokheyya, and bread.note  Also known for overboiled pasta and vegetables (often drenched in tomato sauce) and for frying anything that will sit still long enough—particularly vegetables, including some stranger ones (cauliflower?).
      • Afghan: Goat? Maybe? (It's actually rather like Pakistani, but less spicy, with a lot of Iranian influence.)
  • Polish: Sausages may appear unless they're already taken by Germans. (They are known as kielbasa in Polish.) Possibly vodka ... unless taken by Russians. No, this is not a metaphor for Poland's bloody history.
    • Outside of Hollywood, bigos may appear — a kind of a sauerkraut/sausage stew. Pierogi will appear if you're lucky. Otherwise, expect the usual stereotypes of Poles drinking a lot and eating potatoes and kasza (buckwheat groats).
    • When pierogis do appear there is much rejoicing, they're quite popular with anyone even slightly familiar with Polish food.
    • People from certain parts of the American Midwest—especially around Detroit—may also know paczki (basically, jelly doughnuts).
  • Russian: Other than vodka and borscht, Hollywood doesn't know much about Russian food. Caviar might be mentioned. Whatever the case, it will be of poor quality and probably served in massive canteens, as if it were still Soviet days.
    • And then, even the borscht is actually Ukrainian.
      • Not according to the half-a-dozen other nations who claim they invented it.
    • And Poles claim they invented the vodka.
      • Never ever mention this if you want to escape Internet Backdraft. Or remain in a sound mind, because in Real Life such discussions inevitably end up in a drinking competition. And both Poles and Russians consider Americans incredible lightweights - with some basis in reality.
    • "Russian dressing" is a French invention that has absolutely nothing to do with Russian cuisine. It was called such because originally it contained caviar, a stereotypically Russian ingredient.
    • Pelmeni (dumplings with a variety of fillings, usually meat) may mistakenly be called pierogies. They are not remotely similar (pierogi are also called varenniki in Ukraine and Russia, and are definitely not to be confused with leniwe (lazy) pierogi, which are more like gnocchi).
      • Confusingly, the word "pirog" ("пирог") simply means "pie" in Russian and refers to baked dishes, not dumplings (baked turnovers are called pirozhki, the diminutive form). To add more confusion pirozhki may be deep-fried as well.
    • Lots and lots of soup — of which there is a bewildering variety. It's not a proper meal if there wasn't some soup. Though only borscht is remembered by Hollywood (add shchi if you're very lucky).
      • Germans might remember shchi better, if only because of the bilingual joke involved; they said that Catherine the Great was the only person ever to make eight spelling mistakes in a two-letter word (you see, she was German-born and the word is spelled "щи" in Russian and "schtschi" in German).
      • Solyanka became a staple of East German cuisine after 1945 and is still quite popular there, although the German version tends to contain more meat than most solyankas you get in Russia.
  • Scandinavia in general: All sorts of unsavory preserved seafood dishes, spiced thin cookies, and aquavit. Also, all Scandinavians ever seem to eat is meat, especially sausages and reindeer stew.
    • And meatballs (which are exclusively Swedish in Hollywood Cuisine, although Finns make them too in real life).
      • Note that in Babylon 5 G'kar confirmed that every intellegent spicies in the galaxy had their own version (with its own unique name) of Swedish Meatballs similar to Douglas Adams's assertion that every intellegent species in the galaxy had their own version (again with its own unique but somehow phonetically similar name) of gin and tonic (in the Douglas Adams version, the only similarity is the name and the fact that it's a beverage; the actual drink varies from tap water to industrial chemicals). One may be a shout out to the other but YMMV.
    • Occasionally lutefisk will garner a mention, of only for its Squicktasticness. The same but more so for Icelandic hakarl (a particular kind of shark, fermented to get rid of toxic levels of ammonia) and Swedish surströmming (fermented herring that bloats the can it's packed in — not to be eaten indoors).
      • Although these days, that's more a Norwegian American (and particularly Norwegian Minnesotan) thing, if Garrison Kiellor is to be believed.
      • At least in Finland, it's more of a seasonal thing associated with Christmas.
    • Smörgås/smørrebrød: open-faced sandwich with filling/topping ranging from simply butter to anything imaginable.
      • Smörgåsbord/koldtbord: a large buffet, popularly depicted as being filled with all kinds of everything. While a real smörgåsbord is indeed a sort of buffet, it contains some specific dishes: pickled herring and bread and butter are necessary, with cold cut and smoked meats being frequently seen. In general, the smörgåsbord is intended to be protein-packed, thus potatoes and other staple foods are rare.
    • Apart from hakarl, almost nothing is ever said about Icelandic cuisine, which is kind of a shame, as Icelandic yogurt — skyr — is delicious.
    • Also Filmjölk.
    • As with all things Nordic, Scandinavia and the World is on the case with examples of Nordic cooking.
    • Within the Nordic countries (Scandinavia+Finland+Iceland+Danish colonies), these are the stereotypes:
      • Denmark: Dairy. Oh, so much dairy. Particularly cheese and butter. Also Danish pastries (which use lots of butter). And Danish butter cookies. All in all very fattening.
      • Sweden: Especial fanaticism about smörgåsbord and its friends; an obsession with mayonnaise.
      • Norway: Bland.
      • Finland: Good bread and random things from the wild.
      • Iceland: Really weird things, like the aforementioned hakarl but also singed sheep's head, cured sheep flippers, and various testicles. And skyr.
      • Faroe Islands: Whale.
      • Greenland: They have food in Greenland?
  • Spanish: Is the same as Mexican. If cursory research has been done, paella, chorizo or gazpacho might be mentioned. For some reason tapas are thought of as classy food for the intellectual hipster.
  • Swiss: Cheese. And fondue. And chocolate. But not chocolate fondue. Never chocolate fondue.
    • Not just cheese, cheese with HOLES IN IT!


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