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Hollywood Cuisine

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"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.

Recursive Hollywood Cuisine - the Hollywood Cuisine you'd eat in Hollywood - mainly revolves around namechecking various Southern California-only fast food operations.


Sister Trope to Foreign Queasine. See also Drink-Based Characterization.

Examples by Culture

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  • Africa: I'm a Humanitarian, worms and insects, ”bushmeat”, yams, goat, or most likely nothing at all. In reality, of course, Africans eat quite a lot of different foods.
    • 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 savory mashed starch paste/porridge (e.g. West African fufu made from yam, or Eastern African ugali and Southern African sadza, ns(h)ima, isitshwala, vuswa, bogobe, or pap, all names for paste made from maizenote ) which you eat with your hands, wrapped around a "relish" of meat or vegetable stew.
      • Some of these vegetables may be a bit odd, or—more often—unusual applications of familiar plants, like West African egusi—i.e. the seeds of squashes, gourds, and melons—used in soups and sauces, or Southern African chibwabwa—pumpkin greens.
      • "Slimy" vegetables like okra and jute leaf are particularly popular "relishes" in West Africa, flavored with broth. Peppers and tomatoes are common additions to the vegetable "relishes" in West Africa.
      • West Africa is also noted for its use of groundnut (i.e. peanut)note  ground up into a savory sauce and eaten over fufu or rice with vegetables or meat.
    • Rice is also common across Africa. This should come as no surprise, as one of the ancestor species of modern rice is from Africa.
      • One of the better-known African rice dishes is Jollof rice. This West African specialty is a kind of pilaf, and is characterized by being red (as it always includes tomatoes or tomato paste and red palm oil) and usually being spicy. Vegetables and/or meat may be added. Though the dish most likely has its most ancient roots in the Senegal/Gambia region, it is the subject of particular national pride (and arguments) in Nigeria and Ghana; if a writer wants to give some West African characters a chance to do some Seinfeldian Conversation or a "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate, Jollof rice is a pretty good subject.
    • North Africa gets good 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, i.e. the pap we talked about earlier (a native African element).
    • Since the 1990s, South African cookery has gotten a reputation for spiciness through its plethora of sauces based on peri-peri (African birdseye chilli). While these are popular in SA, they are actually imports from neighbouring Mozambique, which is also responsible for one of the most popular things to put the hot sauce on (flame-grilled spicy-marinated chicken).
    • 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 using this flatbread (utensils such as forks and knives aren't used) and often off of this flatbread (in many places, instead of a plate you'll have a wicker basket covered in a layer of the bread, upon which the stew is served); and (3) extreme spiciness.
    • The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania are famously cowherds and also famously both milk their cows and also bleed them into a gourd to have cow blood mixed with milk.
  • Albanian: Cevapi, Fegese, borek, and baklava.
  • American:
    • General: Hamburgers, hot dogs, and fast food all around. Steaks—big steaks (extra-big in Texas), possibly with a side of steak fries (extra-thick French fries/what the British think of as "chips") or a baked potato. Also turkey, through association with Thanksgiving.
    • A stereotypical full American breakfast is eggs, toast, hash browns or home fries, and either bacon, sausages, or thick-sliced ham—basically a British full breakfast but simpler, and washed down with coffee instead of tea. More commonly (especially if making their own breakfast at home) Americans will have just a few of the above, or else just a bowl of cold cereal.
    • Deep South: Grits, corn bread, biscuits & gravy, collard greens, black-eyed peas, and the occasional Appalachian moonshine. Meat is generally fresh from the hog as pork chops or breakfast-type sausage, or cured as ham or bacon. Fried food is popular, especially potatoes, chicken, and fish (the best-known being catfish from the Mississippi River basin). Lots of stuff doused in ketchup and/or hot sauce, which probably doesn't help the obesity problem. Usually all washed down with sweet tea (chilled black tea brewed strong with liberal amounts of sugar, served over ice with lemon or mint). Coca-Cola is so ubiquitous that "coke" can be applied to Pepsi without batting an eye, although Dr Pepper is also popular (the stereotype about RC Cola, on the other hand, seems totally without merit). Bourbon or mint juleps for the Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit. Sweet potatoes. Georgia peaches, pecans, and peanuts. Pecan pie, popular across the States, is believed to be of Southern origin. Boiled peanuts are specifically associated with the South, as opposed to roasted ones.
      • Memphis and the Carolinas: Southern-style barbecue. Within these, there's a difference between Memphis (where the focus is on ribs) and the Carolinas (which love ribs, but love shoulders and pork butt even more), and within the Carolinas there's a difference between eastern North Carolina, western North Carolina, and South Carolina over what part of pig, if any, should be favored, and what the sauce should contain (with tomato being the major point of contention).
    • Southern food features most African-American "soul food" staples. There's also the stereotypical food preferences for fried chicken, collard greens, corn bread, watermelon, Frank’s RedHot, and Kool-Aid. The association of these foods with racist caricatures, however, has made it taboo to talk about them (especially watermelon—which became a deeply offensive racist slur used to paint the post-Civil War African-American as lazy, filthy, and uncouth). And an African-American that is not from the South will definitely not be amused (unless they're from one of the Northern soul-food meccas,note  in which case they'll still be a little peeved but also defend the cuisine).
    • The Big Easy: Cajun and Creole food (not the same thing but often lumped together), oysters, fried fish, jambalaya, crawfish, yellow rice, alligator tail (yes, really), po’boys (think a hoagie or grinder but with fried seafood instead of deli meat), etoufee, and red beans and rice. All covered in Tabasco or Crystal hot sauce (both of which are Louisiana natives). Drinks invented in New Orleans include the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz, but they also drink a lot of local Abita beer. Pralines (nuts boiled in creamy candy) for dessert, generally made with native pecans instead of European-style with almonds or hazelnuts.
    • Florida: Oranges, oranges, and more oranges. Citrus of all kinds, 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—you can get a good Cuban sandwich both in Miami and in Tampa, but Heaven help you if you ask for salami on your Cuban in Miami (or don't want salami on your Cuban in Tampa). 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 (always cream-based, never tomato-based like those savages in New York take it), are also popular, although locals actually like them fried as well. Lobster is popular enough, but not nearly to the degree tourist shops in Maine would have you think. Boston baked beans and brown bread also stand a fair chance of mention. 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. Street thugs of the Boston Irish persuasion will often be depicted drinking Guinness; that isn't entirely incorrect, but local brew Sam Adams or universal working-class favorite Budweiser is just as likely.
      • Southern New England (particularly Rhode Island and Massachusetts' South Coast) has a huge Lusophone population, and therefore a lot of good Portuguese, Brazilian, and Cape Verdean home cooking. Rarely will this be seen in the media, although to be fair you don't see it much in real world restaurants either, apart from the occasional kale soup (caldo verde) special. Eat-till-you-explode Brazilian churrasquerias are becoming popular, though.
    • Pennsylvania is flavored by Pennsylvania Dutch (i.e. German) cuisine, particularly soft pretzels. Pennsylvania Dutch pot pies are a stew-like dish with squares of cooked simple dough mixed in—either that, or a very rich chicken noodle soup. What everyone else calls "pot pies" are called "meat pies."
      • Philadelphia of course has its famous cheesesteaks, which reflect a partially Italian influence: the cheese was originally provolone (although American cheese and—most famously—Cheez Whiz have since overtaken it in popularity), and the bread is traditionally Italian rolls from one of a limited number of Philadelphia-area Italian bakeries (Amoroso's being the most famous), which are quite distinctive (they're a bit salty, for one thing).
      • The same rolls are also used for Philadelphia's other Italian-origin sandwich, the roast-pork sandwich with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe (based on the classic Central Italian porchetta).
      • Submarine sandwiches are properly called "hoagies" in Philadelphia (and other parts of Southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as South Jersey and most of New Castle County, Delaware), and are also properly made on the Philly-area Italian roll used for cheesesteaks.
      • The eat-till-you-explode Brazilian churrasquerias popular in New England are also popular around Philly, what with NE Philly's surprisingly large Brazilian population. (Even the Amish butcher at Reading Terminal sells picanha.)
      • In older (19th-to-early-20th-century) media, Philadelphia will be associated with high-class seafood preparations, most particularly crab dishes, oysters (from Delaware Bay), and turtle soup (typically prepared with diamondback terrapins from nearby northern Maryland). Philadelphia was also historically noted for ice cream—the classic eggless "American" ice cream (which sacrifices some of the smooth texture of egg-custard-based "French" ice cream for vibrant purity of flavor that works particularly well for stuff like fruit ice creams) is sometimes called "Philadelphia-style" in older works.
      • Philly sometimes gets associated with cream cheese, which is an understandable mistake—Philadelphia Cream Cheese was invented in Upstate New York. (Cream cheese does have a long history in the Philadelphia area, but only because it was a common product from dairies across the mid-Atlantic generally from the 1820s onward.)
    • Midwest generally: 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 (for the uninitiated, a dessert bar is essentially a kind of giant soft cookie that fills up an entire rectangular baking tray and is then sliced into serving-sized rectangular "bars" rather like a brownie). 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 ... and beef in general, as the city was one of the more prominent stopping points for cattle drives from Texas. Anthony Bourdain from the page quote has rated Oklahoma Joe's, a BBQ joint in (and we are Not Making This Up) a gas station, as one of his "13 Places to Eat Before You Die" and says "It's the best BBQ in Kansas City, which automatically makes it the best BBQ in the world."
    • Chicago:
      • 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. Kielbasa is practically a religion in Chicago.
      • As a historic meatpacking center, Chicago is also historically noted for steak and steakhouses. Also, the brownie was invented in Chicago's Parker House Hotel (whose restaurant is was a traditional 19th-century steakhouse).
    • Detroit is also known for Polish cuisine; pączki are universally consumed in Detroit on Fat Thursday, or really any time in the week leading up to Lent). More recent (since c. 2000) works set in Detroit will also often make note of Middle Eastern cuisines (many Arabic-speakers live in the Detroit area, and dishes like falafel and shawarma are common in Detroit.) Detroit's soul food cuisine will get occasional note in Black media.
    • 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 (it may be stereotypically touristic, but it is delicious).
    • The Other Rainforest - Craft beer, Asian fusion, food trucks near tech offices, vegetarian and vegan eateries, massive amounts of fish (especially salmon grilled on a cedar plank) and shellfish (especially Dungeness crab), and gallons of damn good coffee. (This applies to the Canadian portion of the region as well.) Washington State is famous for its apples (more than half the apples consumed in the United States grow in Washington), berries, and cherries, and in recent years has developed a positive reputation for its wines. Locavore culture is extremely strong in the Northwest due to its abundance of indigenous foods.
      • Seattle: Any dish with "Seattle" in the name, such as the Seattle hot dog or the Seattle sushi roll, will most likely include cream cheese.
      • Oregon: Tillamook dairy products are especially popular on the West Coast.
      • The geoduck, a hilariously phallic clam, sometimes shows up as Northwest signifier, though the bulk of the harvest is actually exported to East Asia (the Chinese and Koreans love its crunchy texture).
    • 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. In southern California, fish tacos (fried or grilled fish fillets and something resembling cole slaw folded into a tortilla).
      • Bay Area: sourdough bread, emphasis on seafood near Fisherman's Wharf, Chinese and Japanese food prevalent. Also contains the namesake for the "Mission-style" giant burrito.
      • In-N-Out Burger, also a likely location for the Malt Shop.
    • Texas - a lot of food associated with the Deep South, plus "Tex-Mex". Lots of barbecue, and most especially barbecue beef brisket. Steaks. Giant steaks.
      • Being a refugee hub, Houston is fairly diverse in cuisine and culture. More than 145 languages are spoken in the city, which should give some idea of the variety of foods you can find in the city. Aside from standards like Tex-Mex, barbecue, or seafood (all of which can be easily acquired), among the more common options you'll find Vietnamese, Greek, South African, German, Colombian, Lebanese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Italian, and Chinese. And then there's all the fusion-cuisines.
    • New York: So much. The main characteristic for New York is that it has just about any ethnic restaurant, for any nationality you can think of. Still, some things stand out:
      • (Ashkenazi) Jewish foodnote , particularly deli items (especially pastrami) and bagels. Bagels are a source of deep pride based both on traditional production methods and less-supported theories about the supposed superiority of New York water for the texture (scientific tests suggest adherence to traditional Old World techniques has more to do with it than the water, though the water does help).
      • If it's not Jewish, there's stereotypical Italian food. Spaghetti in red sauce, veal parmigiana sandwiches, and cannoli, oh my. And don't forget the capicola (pronounced "gabagool" if you're a real paisan). New York's old-school red-gravy restaurants are legendary—just make sure it's not a mob hangout (or maybe do. Those wiseguys knew how to eat).
      • New York pizza is subject to almost as much lore as the deli and bagels, with people arguing interminably about whether the New York water makes the crust better. Extremely greasy yet inexplicably delicious thin-crust pizza is somehow associated with Brooklyn — exemplars Grimaldi's and DiFara's are in Brooklyn, though Lombardi's, arguably the home of New York style pizza, is on the 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.
      • A historic association for New York is steak to at least as great a degree as Chicago or Texas. There's a reason short loin steak is called "New York strip" in North America. New York is also home to a bewildering number of traditional (i.e. 19th-to-mid-20th-century) recipes for steaks of all cuts.
      • New York is also inextricably linked to old-school "dirty-water" hot dog stands—and to hot dogs in their "classic" form served at the city's ballparks. While the dogs are still sold at the parks, the stands have been taken over by the "halal cart" serving sandwiches and platters of lamb, chicken, falafel, or fish with various toppings/salads.
      • Another New York classic, seen in a lot of historic media, is oysters—typically eaten raw on the half-shell, though grilled/broiled is also common. New York Harbor is smack in the middle of a massive swathe of American coast chock-full of oyster beds running up from the Jersey shore through to Long Island (there's a reason it's called "Oyster Bay"), and the city took advantage of this bounty almost to depletion.
    • Buffalo is famous for chicken wings, also their spicy, greasy sauce.
    • Maryland - crab cakes, blue crabs and Old Bay Seasoning. Alternatively, blue crab soups, typically either a peppery and veggie filled tomato based one, or a cream of crab version). Or crab dip appetizers typically to be spread on a baguette bread, a pretzel, or as a flatbreads, also often with Old Bay.
    • The use of Old Bay is so frequent, that there are a variety of snacks with Oldbay or "Maryland Crab" flavor (really Old Bay or similar sprinkled into the flavoring mix). Old Bay potato chips, Old Bay bar snack mixes, "boardwalk" style fries, with vinegar and/or Old Bay.
    • Washington, D.C. - Half-smokes (large, spicy hot dog-like sausages made of a coarsely-ground mix of smoked beef and smoked pork). The pizza is in the same style as New York, but not nearly as good, so it makes up for it by being three times larger. Sometimes the pizza and half-smokes are combined by rolling the latter up in the former—this combination is popular among late-night revelers (which, given that DC is one of the youngest cities in America, are quite common). Since the 1990s/2000s, DC is also home to large numbers of Ethiopian and Salvadoran restaurants, so DC-based fiction writers can draw a lot of local cred by setting a scene or two of broke Capitol Hill staffers semi-splurging on dinner around the aforementioned wicker tables of Ethiopean stews or some folks grabbing a quick pupusa for lunch.
    • Due to the heavy influence of Mormonism, the cuisine of Utah is based around potluck and frontier foods (like funeral potatoes, boiled chicken, corn niblets and such) that have long gone out of fashion elsewhere. Also, Jello, Utah consumes more Jello (in the form of grated cheese Jello salads, etc) than the rest of the US combined.
    • 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. Expect to find cilantro (which looks like parsley and tastes, at least to people with a certain gene, like cheap gas station restroom hand soap smells) and green chilies in everything if you don't specifically ask for them to be left out. Commonly the subject of a stock gag that suggests gastrointestinal distress as a result of consumption.
    • Wisconsin: Sausage, beer, cheese. Basically just German cuisine really.
    • Hawai'i: Pineapples and coconuts, either by themselves or incorporated into dishes. Some mainlanders seem to think you can make any dish "Hawaiian" by adding pineapples and coconuts to it. Lots of fish, obviously, pork, ham, and from the 20th century on, Spam. Poi—one of the most important staple foods historically—just might get mentioned. A strong East Asian influence may be acknowledged.
  • 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' and was invented in Melbourne (albeit by some Irish-Americans from New York), 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”note  and fish and chips.
    • The infamous "pie floater", essentially some un-named meat (kangaroo snouts according to Urban Legend, though it's probably off-cuts of various things, likely including a good bit of 'roo) floating upside down in a bowl of pea soup, possibly topped with a dollop of tomato sauce (i.e. what the rest of the world calls tomato ketchup).
    • Actual Australian cuisine is heavily influenced by Italian and Greek food (to the point where an Australian asked by Italian friends to prepare an Australian dish will sheepishly admit that it's mostly pasta) but good luck finding a mention of this in fiction. The preoccupation with tomato sauce on sausage rolls and meat pies is Truth in Television though.
  • 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. Waffles, which are common in Belgium and come in a bewildering array of styles and flavors.note  More knowledgeable folks will remember to dip the fries in a mayonnaise-based sauce and include a big bucket of mussels. These knowledgeable people will also know about Belgium's numerous other dishes (e.g. waterzooi, a kind of chicken or fish stew with cream and leeks, and carbonade flamande, a beef stew that's rather like a boeuf bourguignon but with beer instead of wine), and will have this general verdict on Belgian food: All the quality of (good regional) French food without the pretense; all the homeyness of British and Dutch food without the blandness.
  • Belorussian: If existing, consists entirely of potatoes. Some may mention that it's pretty bland (not entirely true). Also sometimes remembered is the local spirit krambambulya, if only for its Inherently Funny Word sort of name. Otherwise Hollywood seems to ignore Belarus's existence, nevermind its cuisine.
  • 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, contributing popular dishes like São Paulo-style pizza and temaki, will get ignored too.)
  • British: Considered The Scrappy of cuisines by the Americans, French, Greeks and Italians among others. As portrayed, British cuisine has three types of dish: bland, disgusting (e.g. blood pudding, haggis, jellied eels), and bland and disgusting (e.g. mushy peas, warm beer). Oh—and don't forget the tea. Lots and lots of tea, typically with milk and sugar. A more specific breakdown follows, but first:
    Craig Kilborn: Why does British food suck?
    John Cleese: We had an Empire to run!
    • Have you ever eaten English cookery? Oh, you have. Have you ever TASTED English cookery? I thought not!
    • If you're ordering a burger or fried fish, fries (as in "French fried potatoes") are known as chips; if you're ordering a deli-style sandwich, "crisps" are what the thin-sliced style potato chips (such as Lay's or Pringles, etc.) are known as over in the U.K.
    • British people, however, eat lots of curry to the point where curry is in effect the national dish. Many are about as not-bland as anybody could wish for and the proprietors of Indian restaurants have a good way of dealing with the bravado of obnoxious drunks without resorting to gross and unhygienic methods simply by upping the chili content.
    • Britain also produces a lot of good, high-quality food as well. Some of the world's most popular cheeses (like cheddar, wensleydale and stilton) are British. British milk and cream is world-renowned for rich body and delicate sweet notes. Angus beef is finely marbled beef that is widely used in burgers and steaks in many countries. British strawberries are regarded as the world's best, with uncompared sweetness, juiciness and softness. And even many Americans will take Cadbury's chocolate over Hershey's anyday. Britain is also a major producer of alcoholic drinks like cider, whisk(e)y and several varieties of ale and beer - ones that tastes like caramel and chocolate, coffee, citrus, banana bread, or a fresh bouquet, there's something for everyone, really.
    • 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 in the Southwest pasties (semi-circular pie-like savoury pastries, typically filled with beef, potato, swede, and onion, but often containing other ingredients, historically created as a portable meal for miners in the Southwest's innumerable minesnote ) are bigger (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. This is accepted wisdom across Europe; for example, the Italians have a popular dessert called zuppa inglese (literally "English soup"; don't ask why it's called a "soup"), which came about because some Italian nobs had visited the courts of Elizabeth I and the early Stuarts and loved the trifle. Even the French (grudgingly) admit it: there's a reason they call a custard sauce 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.
      • Glasgow, which isn't the Scottish capital but is the largest city by a big margin and Glaswegians know what really matters, is getting a reputation for innovative restaurants which, unlike their London counterparts, are affordable to mere mortals. One of best known of these restaurants is called the Ubiquitous Chip. All the same, a typical Glasgow meal is likely to comprise a haggis supper (a battered and deep-fried haggis with chips) washed down with a can of Irn-Bru.
    • Welsh: Lamb, leeks, 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 bacon, eggs, potatoes, sausages, and tomatoes all 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). The "Full English" is the one British dish that's actually the envy of other cultures, and the basis for similar big breakfasts in North America. 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 inquire 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. Chicken tikka masala has been voted the favourite dish of the nation by Brits for several years now.
      • A lot of British cuisine is adopted from abroad - for instance, croissants and pain au chocolat form a popular coffee shop snack for the middle class professional eating on the move - and the British tend to have surprisingly cosmopolitan tastes in food, from noodle dishes of all kind to sushi to pizza to complex fish dishes or even your standard burger and chips.
    • Our most popular highball cocktail also came from the Indian Colonies, Gin and Tonic, which was invented to combat malaria. (Tonic water is a diluted version of quinine water, quinine being a very effective medicine for malaria, and gin was added because it's lovely.note  Or, alternatively, because there is some strange alchemy involved in which the vileness of gin and the loathsomeness of tonic water somehow cancel each other out and you're left with a drink that is, against all common sense, actually palatable.)
    • 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 England 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 
      • Heston Blumenthal is a British celebrity chef and pioneer of "molecular gastronomy" and multi-sensory cooking. Described as part genuis chef and part-Mad Artist, his early career is defined by combining British history and folklore with psychology and playing with diners' expectations to create truly fantastical recipes that by all logic should not work, but do - just watch his Feasts series to see what we mean. Since 2012 however, he has changed to reinventing traditional British food and taking it "back to what made it good" (Yes, reallynote ).
    • Part of Britain's bad culinary rep with other countries, as alluded to further up the article, may not be so much we are bad cooks, but more we are just bad eaters. Tourists that are rude, unadventurous and often a Know-Nothing Know-It-All that make their own countrymen cringe in embarrassment and their host country want to punch them in the face.
  • 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 pastraminote  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/pastrami.
    • What poutine is to Quebec, the donair—a variant of Greek gyros or Turkish döner kebap, which instead of the yogurt-based sauces used elsewhere features a sweet-tart sauce based on sweetened condensed milk and vinegar with garlic—is to Atlantic Canada, especially Halifax. It has a following in some other parts of Canada, particularly Alberta (whose oil fields are a magnet for Atlantic Canadians, and especially Newfoundlanders): it got to the point where the Albertan government had to issue regulations on proper donair preparation after an outbreak of E. coli in 2008 related to bad donair.
    • Alberta's cuisine borrows heavily from Ukrainian culture. Expect lots of perogies, borscht, sauerkraut, and kielbasa (pronounced "Koobasaw").
    • Although Canadians do eat Canadian bacon, (1) most bacon in Canada is streaky bacon like in the US and (2) they don't call it "Canadian bacon", but rather simply "back bacon." The association of back bacon with Canada may come from a real affinity in Southern Ontario, and particularly the Toronto area, for peameal bacon, a particular kind of back bacon (historically rolled in ground dried peas and today generally rolled in cornmeal) originally developed in 19th-century Toronto. Although it is not the usual, day-to-day sort of bacon for Torontonians, there is a definite pride in peameal bacon in Hogtown: any self-respecting breakfast place has a dish featuring the stuff, and sandwiches featuring thin slices of crispy-on-the-outside, just-warmed-through-on-the-inside peameal bacon are the signature of the city's famous St. Lawrence Market.
    • Among Canadians themselves, the typical target of parody for Canadian cooking is Kraft Dinner—the local name of blue-box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It’s well-deserved; at one point, Canada accounted for fully 25% of Kraft's global Mac & Cheese sales.note  The most internationally famous Canadian joke about KD is probably in Barenaked Ladies'"If I Had $1,000,000", in which the speaker and his SO wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner, "but we would eat Kraft Dinner, of course, we’d just eat more”.
    • And according to "Weird Al" Yankovic, they all live on donuts and moose meat.
  • Central Asian: A lot of bread and meat. Also pilaf.
  • Chinese: Lots of noodles, rice, vegetables and monosodium glutamate, with some meat thrown in every now and then. 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 Sichuan 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 yet leaving a pleasant tingly sensation on the lips, while the stuff from Hunan is considered the super-spicy, oily, smoky, garlicky peasant food that everyone has to like because Chairman Maonote  said so. Meanwhile, Guizhou's spicy-vinegary cooking is so hot as to send Sichuanese and Hunanese diners running in terror (though it does go well with the region's strong spirits). The Beijing food is so boring as to not have any special dish (except the much mocked Peking duck), the Northerners are the ones who seem to subsist entirely on beef and noodles, while the Southerners are the ones who would eat anything not nailed down.note  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...
      • The Muslims of Xinjiang and Yunan, interestingly enough, are not stereotyped by their dishes (although if pressed, your average Han Chinese will probably say something about lamb, shawarma, and raisins), but how they eat them, namely, with their hands only. The chopstick-using Chinese find that very exotic and mildly off-putting.
    • Many Americans believe the myth about how Mongolian barbeque originated in Mongolia. Allegedly, the Mongolian warriors of olden times would overturn their shields and use them as makeshift woks to stir fry 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, heavily influenced by Russian cuisine. (While we're at it, most actual Mongolian shields were based on materials like wicker and leather, and would not make good frying pans.) Due to the cold climate, there are very few vegetables (other than tubers and roots) and even fewer spices. 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. 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 an invention of the Hui people, a near-completely sinicized Central Asian group.
    • 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.
    • Tibetan: Momos, yak cheese, yak meat, and butter tea (which is often described as a liquid lunch due to the sheer amount of calories it packs).
  • Croatian: Cevapi, tons of seafood, borek, baklava and surprisingly, edible dormouse.
  • 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). The olykoek ("oil cake") is generally accepted as the ancestor of the American doughnut.
    • Everything else is mashed together and heated in a single pot. They even have different names for different mashes.
      • A classic one is kale, making its current status as fancy, hipster, health food bemusing to Dutch. The "health" part is also questionable as in the Dutch manner it's served with nice amounts of gravy, rashers of bacon and smoked sausage.
    • 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.
    • As far as desserts are concerned, stroopwafel is the best known.
  • Filipino: A typical Filipino fiesta consisting of rice, adobo, menudo, barbecue sticks, fried shanghai rolls, pancit, spaghetti, marcaroni salad, and gulamannote  in coconut milk; is not complete without it's pièce de résistance: the lechon, note .
    • Mainly, 2/3 of every dish mentioned contains more or less of pork.
  • 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 Germansnote  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 blonde 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—German pastries are nearly as varied as the breads—but for some reason, Black Forest cake is the only one that lodged in Hollywood's mind. No, German chocolate cake is not German.
    • However, as of late, schnitzel seems to becoming more and more associated with the stereotype, thanks in no small part to it being an Inherently Funny Word.
  • 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, yogurt, stuffed grape leaves, 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 belief, falafel is not Greek—though historically, the Greek community in Alexandria was quite good with the falafel.
  • 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.
    • Historically, goulash indeed started as a stew that the cattle drivers (gulyas in Hungarian means "herdsman") cooked on their stops, but as it moved upscale and into an urban cuisine it became progressively more liquid, until it ended as a soup in modern times. There are also variation stews like pörkölt, where the meat is first roasted with paprika (its very name means "roasted"), and paprikas, where the tomato is often omitted entirely, and which is thickened by a sour cream.
    • Generally Hungarian cuisine is thought of as spicy (see paprika), which is true to some extent but its other dominating taste is sour in every possible combination (see references to sour cream or sour cherries before; but also sauerkraut, pickled whatever etc.).
  • 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, for the most part.note  The further south you go in India, the less reliance there is on fiery curry spices. South Indian and Ceylonese food is actually mellow and subtly spiced rather than curried.
  • Irish: Potatoes and Guinness. Also known for lamb stew. And soda bread, and Irish potatoes (which aren't Irish and aren't potatoes); basically, anything Americans eat on Saint Patrick's Day.
    • The beverage distilled from malt or grain is spelled "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.)
  • 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 caffé. If you ever order a latté in Italy, you’ll just get a glass of milk.
    • Cheeses: Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, gorgonzola, and ricotta are probably the most famous varieties and are very likely to be mentioned. Provolone, Grana Padano, and pecorino romano are the next-most likely (the first because it is reasonably widespread outside Italy, the second and third because they are very common cheeses inside Italy that see a substantial export market as people who don't want shell out for the full PDO Parmigiano Reggiano but have enough taste to avoid buying generic "parmesan" will buy these as a substitute). Asiago has also become a fairly common mention since about 2000, when non-Italian foodies realized the stuff was almost like cheddar that somehow tasted of Parmigiano or Grana Padano. Other cheeses like toma piemontese, tomino, scamorza, and the non-romano forms of pecorino are likely to be mentioned only where serious food knowledge is implicated—except when you mention casu marzu, which you talk about only for the shock value (it's a pecorino sardo that has been infested with maggots; eating it with the maggots still present is considered especially manly in its native Sardinia).
    • 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.
      • "Tusci" was an alternative Latin name for the Etruscans,note  the people Romans took much if not most of their original culture from, so Tuscany, as their ancestral homeland, keeps some of the most archaic dishes and cooking techniques in all of Italy. Because of its highly rustic character and dissimilarity to what everyone usually calls "Italian", it just tended to go under the radar of most food writers until recently.
    • 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 reasonably close in style to something you might find in Italy, being a Neapolitan-leaning intermediate form between Neapolitan and Roman pizza (it's thicker than Roman but thinner than Neapolitan; it is also flexible like Neapolitan pizza and otherwise leans closer to the Neapolitan in other areas). The only really Americanized thing about it is the tendency to put more cheese, partly because Americans love cheese and partly because the US Department of Agriculture encourages the use of as much cheese as possible (which reinforces the American love of cheese, etc...).note  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. Chicago deep dish pizza is sort of Neapolitan.

    J to Z 
  • 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.
      • Funnily enough, sushi rolls (or makizushi) doesn't have a widespread variety in Japan as it does in the United States. The seaweed is also usually the outer layer, not the rice.
      • In recent years, thanks to a growing number of Korean immigrants in America, there is the stereotype a sushi joint is more likely to be run by Koreans. A running gag is that Japanese sushi chefs are a rare elite breed who spend almost a decade in a school just for the ability to make sushi.
    • 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.
      • The notion that ramen as a cheap, instant meal has led to some people to believe that ramen can't actually be good enough to serve in restaurants in any serious capacity until very recently.
    • Japanese media has a peculiar obsession with curry (which is absolutely unlike Indian types, and is closer to the British version, originating from the galleys of the British-built Japanese battleships in the early 20th century) and ramen, to the point that all other noodles in the Japanese cuisine (even native Japanese ones, like the buckwheat soba and the thick wheat udon) do not exist outside cooking-focused productions.
    • Also absent from Japanese media are the homecooked dishes like the humble nikujaga (a beef-and-potato stew prepared with soy sauce and mirinnote ) and tonjiru (a kind of miso soup with pork and potato), which feed more people than any other elaborate preparations. They might be shown, but are never elaborated upon, unless that's a point, like with nabemono (hotpot) dishes, that, as communal affairs, are usually used as a shorthand for the Power of Friendship.
    • In the U.S., lots of Japanese restaurants will use teriyaki sauce on just about any meat, though primarily chicken, beef or salmon. In Japan, teriyaki sauce is mostly used on fish, though occasionally finds its way on other meats, such as the McDonald's Teriyaki Burger.
    • Mainstream U.S. dubs of kids' anime programs will typically refer to signature Japanese dishes as something Western, such as calling onigiri (rice balls adorned with a strip of seaweed) or gyoza (pork dumplings) donuts or cookies, as in the original English dubs of Pokémon and Sailor Moon. The Disney XD English dub of Doraemon is an exception, as the title character's favorite snack, dorayaki (a pastry filled with sweet red bean paste), is called by its actual name in one episode despite otherwise being referred to as "yummy buns."
    • Pocky (a brand name for chocolate coated bread sticks) and mochi are seen as the confectioneries of Japan.
  • Jewish: In the past, generally confused with Israeli cuisine - although writers have recently begun to learn that there is a huge difference. It is Always Ashkenazi food, characterized primarily by its ridiculously over-the-top Yiddish-sounding names (Gefilte Fish, Matzo Brei, Hamentaschen, you get the gist). Generally bland, and either excessively moist or too dry to swallow. A "poor man's cuisine" that has become so traditional that even the rich will eat it happily. Always cooked by a Jewish Mother. May be inflicted on an unsuspecting guest, and god help him if he doesn't like it.
    • Lionel Blue recalls that growing up in the Jewish community in London's East End in the 1930's, a regular dish on the Blaustein family table was stuffed lung: he views this as a Yiddish take on the theme of haggis, an unpopular bodily part filled with mince and vegetables and breadcrumb. Lionel Blue went on to become a rabbi, religious commentator, and an acknowledged authority on kashrut/Yiddish food.
    • For a long time, "kosher wine" in the States was automatically assumed to equal Manischewitz, and Manishewitz to = their budget-priced Concord version, which has been compared to cheap, sugary grape juice spiked with alcohol. As such, the very phrase "kosher wine" was a joke in the U.S.
  • 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 dishes 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 and/or smothered in cheese (usually cheddar or something like it). Also beans. And nachos (a 20th-century Tex-Mex creation). 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 tequila and margaritas (and sometimes a Mezcal worm in the tequila—which you will never see in true tequila, being a characteristic of lower-quality mezcals). In American Mexican restaurants "Cancun" and "Acapulco" can suggest seafood, especially fish tacos or any of the above Mexican dishes with fish, shrimp, or other seafood 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: to protect your ears and brain, 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 one counts as Middle Eastern at all (it typically being grouped with the Indian Subcontinent as South Asian instead).
    • 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.note  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.
      • Palestinian: Musakhan is a very popular dish. Kunefeh is claimed to have been invented in Nablus.
      • 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 coffeenote ), 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". Israelis are 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. On the other hand, 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 (which is in fact a common pan-European/Mediterranean vegetable salad featuring tomato, cucumber, and red onion with a lemon juice-olive oil dressing, just chopped to the point of turning into a homogenous mass). 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 (see: s'khug, which was invented in Yemen and taken to Israel by Yemenite Jews). Writers who have done the research comment on its diversity, and often swear that the Yemeni kitchen is better than the Lebanese. Yemeni dishes tend to be slow-cooked with savory spices (particularly fenugreek), with meat cooked to fall off the bone. This tends to give Yemeni food a wonderfully rich, melt-in-your mouth quality that can be dangerously addictive. A side effect is that Yemeni food is really good for people who can't chew very well; if you have had oral surgery within the past few days and have access to a Yemeni restaurant, some fahsa or haneeth is a great reintroduction to solid food, since you don't really need to chew it and it tastes fantastic. (Just don't put the s'khug on it lest you irritate the wound!)
      • Iraqi: Like their neighbors, but not as good. Although Tepsi baytinijan is a favorite. Masgouf is often considered the national dish.
      • 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. In fact the pomegranate syrup and ground walnut are key ingredients in the Iranian cooking, and are used as the European cook would use the tomato and wheat flour respectively. The lamb or chicken stewed with the pomegranate concentrate and thickened with the ground walnut is even considered a national dish of Iran (called fesenjan). Ghormeh sabzi is a favorite stew among Iranians. Kebab Koobideh is a popular kebab. Even more knowledgeable one would note the heavy influence of the Russian cuisine to the northern parts — Iranians still use the samovar long after it went out of fashion in Russia, and their version of the Olivier salad is indistinguishable from the Russian one. Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani describes Persian cuisine as like Indian food, but less spicy.
      • Turkish: Most culinary experts would say the Turkish kitchen is even better than the Lebanese—including a good number of Lebanese experts, who often turn to Turkey for inspiration. At least one expert has stated that there are three truly grand culinary traditions in the world: the Chinese, the French, and the Turkish. Stereotypically consists of döner kebab and lots of stuff with phyllo dough. Adana kebab is a favorite. Plenty of yogurt, too, as well as stranger dairy items. Lots of dishes featuring stewed or roasted vegetables, which may be made with meat or without it. If meatless, these vegetable will feature lots of olive oil (called zeytinyağli, which means "with olive oil"); the most famous is probably the eggplant dish Imam bayilidi ("the Imam fainted", supposedly because it was invented by a woman whose husband, an imam, fainted when he found out how much olive oil went into the dish). The vegetables are often stuffed. 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  This even though Egyptians actually eat more rice than bread on average these days; 5,000+ years of bread gives it far more cultural resonance. Also known for overboiled pasta and vegetables (often drenched in tomato sauce)note  and for frying anything that will sit still long enough—particularly vegetables, including some stranger ones (cauliflower?).
      • Afghan: Goat? Afghanistan is known for its Chapli kebab. Mantu is also eaten there. (It's actually rather like Pakistani, but less spicy, with a lot of Iranian influence.)
      • Kurdish: Tends to be spicier than most Middle Eastern cuisine. Biryani, which is popular in South Asia, is eaten in Kurdistan (Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria) and dolma is very popular. A variant of Adana kebab called Sulemani Kebab is popular. Ghee is used in cooking.
    • Georgian:Khachapuri, Khachapuri, and more Khachapuri
  • New Zealand: Closely related to Australian thanks to shared history, but substitute Vegemite for Marmite. There are also strong indigenous Maori influences, such as the hangi (earth oven). From time to time, New Zealand and Australia argue over who invented certain notable foods and drinks first, including but not limited to the pavlova and flat white espresso.
  • 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 pączkipronouciation  (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 backlash. 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.
      • As a counterpoint, there are two dishes which are Russian in origin and have nothing to do with France, but are called French: "French Meat" (a meat casserole with mayo, a cheaper version of Veal Orloff) and the Olivier salad (a complex potato salad with a particular mayonnaise-based dressing, invented by a francophone Belgian chef in 19th-century Moscow catering to the tastes of the Russian aristocrats who frequented his restaurant).
    • 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.
      • There are those, who will make a clear distinction between borscht and any other kind of soup. In fact, some will insist that borscht is not soup, it's something else. Few will be able to explain why, though, other than "tradition".
      • For the record, a proper borscht is actually a stew — for all the variation the dish allows, one requirement always stands: it must be so thick that a spoon must stand upright in it, which in practice means that there's a lot more of the solid stuff than in the soup proper, which is a textbook definition of a stew.
    • On the Internet Russians are often portrayed as mayonnaise fiends. To an extent, many of them are: Russia leads mayonnaise consumption in Europe, and many Russians use mayo with everything, just like the Yanks do with ketchup (which they also like). Some even use it instead of sour cream and/or bechamelnote , and if a recipe calls for oil and egg yolk, they will try to replace them with mayo to simplify cooking. Sometimes it even works. The aforementioned faux-French casserole is a prime example of that (the original, which was invented by a French chef in the employ of the Russian ambassador to France, calls for slices of braised veal to be layered with béchamel, topped with cheese, and then baked; "French Meat" uses cheaper cuts and typically substitutes mayo for the béchamel). To be fair, in Russia itself the mayonnaise-lovers, while certainly existing, are often made fun of and looked down on by others, so much so that there are even several online communities where ridiculous mayonnaise-featuring recipes are collected and, again, made fun of.
    • Just like with Germans, everything is coarse, greasy and fattening (when available), and has a lot of pungent vegetables such as garlic, horseradish and mustard (the hottest mustard in Europe).
    • Russian pancakes (blini) are delicious and very popular, and can be served with caviar, sour cream, fruit preserves, and any number of other things. However, unless caviar is involved, you will never see them in media outside Russia.
    • For note, blini/bliny proper are almost identical to the French crepes, similarly being large, paper-thin and bubbly, with yeast or soda batter. While traditional smaller and thicker Anglo-pancakes do exist in Russia, they are called "oladyi".
    • Potatoes are, indeed, a staple food (and considered a vegetable); however, Hollywood seems to think that there are no other kinds of fruit-and-veggies popular in Russia, which is untrue.
    • Dried fish. Stinky dried fish that often makes a lot of horror stories from the Transsiberian travellers. Indeed, dried fish prepared in a Russian way — lightly salted whole, without gutting it, and then air-dried — can produce quite a smell even when not spoiled, and because it's not gutted, eating it might be offputting for some, as you essentially have to butcher the fish in place, but it's actually delicious.
    • In Chinese media (especially from the South) Russian cuisine is often ridiculed as bland and tasteless, on the par with the Northern Chinese cooking, which is also similarly ridiculed,note  with the authors wondering how the "Fighting Nation" (Russians are the default Proud Warrior Race Guys in Chinese culture) can subsist on such unsavory fare. Which is sorta ironic, considering the aforementioned Western opinion about garlic and mustard.
    • Most Americans know beef Stroganoff as well, but they often think of it as Midwestern rather than Russian. It's often heavily bastardized, with stereotypically Middle-American ingredients like canned cream of mushroom soup.
    • As any viewer of Life of Boris will tell you, the quintessential Russian meat preparations are pashtet (liver pâté à la russe) and doktorskaya kolbasa (a kind of lightly-flavored emulsified sausage in the same family as mortadella dating from the 1930s and beloved across the old Eastern Bloc). Both Boris and German YouTuber Andong (who was born in Leningrad/Saint Petersburg) have made videos explaining the role of doktorskaya kolbasa—and how to make it, if you really want to.
  • 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 intelligent species in the galaxy had their own version (with its own unique name) of Swedish Meatballs similar to Douglas Adams's assertion that every intelligent 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, if only for its Squicktasticness. The same but more so for Icelandic hakarl (Greenland 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, lutefisk is 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, bread, butter and cheese are necessary, with cold cuts 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, which essentially is the same as the cultured buttermilk found in North America. Unlike in America, it is most commonly eaten with cereal as a breakfast or light lunch, since the acidity pairs well with the rather overpowering sweetness of most breakfast cereals.
    • From time to time Kalles Kaviar, and other 'smörgåskaviar' comes up when Swedish cuisine is mentioned — often with Swedes trolling foreign counterparts by acting as if it is supposed to be consumed like delicacy caviar (as the name for the category implies, it is more accurately a type of spread with fish roe in it). It is most commonly eaten on rye bread (hard or soft) along with a boiled or fried egg.
    • As with all things Nordic, Scandinavia and the World is on the case with examples of Nordic cooking.
    • Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time have made a few traditional Swedish dishes, including the aforementioned meatballs, smörgåstårta, and pyttipanna. Potatoes as a side dish appear frequently. Oh yeah, and mayonnaise. It's good for you.
    • 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 may use cheese). And Danish butter cookies. And rødgrød med fløde (a kind of berry-cherry pudding topped with fresh cream; the name is so hard for foreigners to pronounce that Danes use it as a shibboleth, or at least an amusing tongue-twister). All in all very fattening.
      • Sweden: Especial fanaticism about smörgåsbord and its friends; a fixation on bizarre flavors (e.g. the aforementioned surströmming), combinations, and expressions (see: smörgåstårta); an obsession with mayonnaise.
      • Norway: Bland. Fish (especially cod) everywhere.
      • Finland: Good bread and random things from the wild. Sautéed reindeer may be mentioned. Other Nordics may also make fun of the Finns for mämmi, which really does look like poop, even though it's very similar to Danish rødgrød (med fløde!) made with rye flournote  and no berries.
      • Iceland: Really weird things, like the aforementioned hakarl but also singed sheep's head, cured seal flippers, and various testicles. Also seafood. And skyr.
      • Faroe Islands: Whale.
      • Greenland: They have food in Greenland?
  • Spanish: If you are American, is the same as Mexican, while in reality there are very broad differences that distinguish the two. 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 as opposed to the bar food that they actually are. The Spanish omelette might warrant a mention, but calling it a tortilla is likely to spark confusion to anglophones who associate the term with Mexican flatbread.
    • To the modern foodie, the reputation is rather different. Since the late 1990s, Spain has been the place for "the best" food in Europe, with the Michelin stars and restaurant rankings to prove it. This is mostly centered in Catalonia, but the country's vast and varied culinary tradition replete with all kinds of traditional dishes, cheeses, hams, sausages, and wines, combined with the lack of anything remotely resembling imposing culinary establishment, have made the whole country a destination for food lovers.
    • A particular point of pride for the Spanish table is seafood, especially in preparations with garlic and olive oil. If a Spaniard offers you shrimp or octopus with garlic, you should just eat it unless you have some kind of allergy or restriction.
  • Swiss: Cheese. And fondue. And chocolate. But not chocolate fondue. Never chocolate fondue.
    • Not just cheese, cheese with HOLES IN IT! The variety referred to by Americans as "Swiss cheese" is based on Emmentaler.
  • Thai: Thai food had experienced an explosion in popularity during the 1990's, increasing their presence in the media and at the grocery store. By far the most famous and most-depicted dish is Pad Thai, but no one seems to really know what goes in one, so it's most often depicted as this dish with noodles, chopped vegetables, and thinly sliced bits of meat with some thick dark brown sauce over itnote . Thai iced tea is the runner-up, which is even more clueless in its depiction; sometimes, it's accurately shown as an opaque, deep orange-colored drink sometimes with the top part being white, and sometimes, it looks exactly the same as American iced tea. Also, everything has peanuts in it, regardless of how little sense it makes, and oftentimes bell peppers (which is not a normal part of authentic Thai cuisine).
  • Vietnamese: If you asked a Vietnamese person that their favorite food is, they would ask you it is Pho. Vietnamese cuisine is known as a fusion between Chinese, Indian and French cuisines.

Alternative Title(s): Stock National Drinks


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