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Let’s Dish: Different Flavor Profiles of International Cuisine the World Has to Offer

Let’s talk about flavor profiles. What are they? How do they influence different dishes and cuisine? Well, to answer those questions we’ll have to look at different regions around the world. Each region or area of the world has different flavor profiles that influence the dishes they make and the flavors that come out in the dish. Here are some different flavor profiles that the world has to offer.

What is a Flavor Profile?

Before we go any further, we need to establish what a flavor profile is. This will help you understand why certain dishes have such unique flavor profiles.

Did you know...

A flavor profile consists of 8 different elements: umami, temperature, sweet, bitter, salty, sour texture, and spicy.

Each of these elements put together, create a unique flavor profile for a specific dish. Since there are endless different combinations of the flavor profile elements, there are endless flavor profiles that can be created.

How Flavor Profiles Are Used in Different Cultures

Now that you understand flavor profiles, let’s talk about how they’re created.

Different cultures have access to different ingredients, spices, and flavors. Sometimes religious beliefs and practices also play a role in different flavor profiles.

If a culture lives near the sea, there will probably be a lot of seafood incorporated into their dishes. Cultures that have warmer climates are more likely to incorporate more fresh ingredients and produce since they are able to grow it all year round.

Each culture around the world uses accessible ingredients and spices and creates its own unique flavor profile that can be customized to individual tastes.

Got it?

5 Unique Flavor Profiles From Around the World

Now that we’ve come this far and understand how flavor profiles are created, we can start going over some of the most common flavor profiles from around the world.

Ready to dive in?

Mexican Cuisine

Mexico is a warmer climate that has easy access to the sea. Therefore, you’ll often see seafood in their dishes, along with very fresh and bright flavors.

Staple Mexican dishes often involve tacos and enchiladas. However, that varies from region to region. Homemade tortillas and salsa are also important to Mexican cuisine.

It’s also important to note the significance of corn in Mexican culture. Corn is used to make elote, tortillas, enchiladas, and other staple dishes.

Do you like spice?

You’re in luck! A lot of Mexican dishes have a little heat to them. That’s because of their frequent use of the chili pepper. One of the most fascinating and unique things about Mexican cuisine is their different uses of the chili pepper.

Italian Cuisine

Funny enough:

Italian food in America is a lot different than Italian food in Italy. In fact, a lot of Italians are disappointed when they eat Italian food in America.

Italian food is one of the most revered cuisines in America. In fact, there are often entire aisles in the store dedicated to Italian food. Not only that, but there are also entire Italian shopping markets.

This is because food is so important in Italy. Food signifies family and togetherness. It’s not just about getting food in your belly, it’s about spending time with loved ones. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Homemade food is always the best way to go.

Dishes vary between Northern and Southern Italy. Bright red sauces and creamy white sauces are the typical differences. The similarities are fresh herbs in every dish.

Thai Cuisine

Thai flavors are unique and very fragrant. Thai dishes can easily be recognized by the use of lemongrass.

One of the unique trademarks of Thai dishes is the use of pastes. Pastes can easily be made by mixing spices and herbs in a food processor. The pastes are then added to the food to get a unique balance of spices and herbs.

Thai food is traditionally spicy, although Americans think it’s a lot spicier than Thai people do.

Street food is very common in Thailand. There are hundreds of food vendors all along the streets of big cities. Food is less about intimate, home-based meals, but is much more of a social experience.

Fun fact:

A warm and slightly spicy Thai dish is a common cold remedy.

Indian Cuisine

I know what you’re imagining...

A dish full of curry that is yellow in color. Well, that’s pretty common in Indian food! Curry is one of the most frequently used spices in Indian cuisine. Turmeric is also common which gives the dishes their trademark yellow color.

Traditional naan bread is used to soak up all the remaining spices and sauces, and eaten with your hands is common. However, it’s not polite to lick or suck on your fingers. Food is important in Indian culture so refusing more food is considered rude.

Indian food is traditionally very good at combining spices. There will be so many spices in a dish it might be hard to pick one out. There are many different combinations that are used as well. Your nose will guide you to wherever an Indian dish is being made.

Chinese Cuisine

If you’re making Chinese food you must include three aspects: color, aroma, and taste.

Chinese food is very big on colorful dishes. You’ll often see brightly colored chunks of fruit or bright red sauces. Color is very important in Chinese cuisine.

The taste of Chinese food is also very unique. Sweet and sour flavors are more dominant than the average dish, with vinegar being used to create that signature “sour” flavor.

In the Chinese food tradition, two important concepts are observed: the inclusion and balance of starches/grains and meat and vegetable elements (fan and ts'ai, respectively) and frugality. Traditionally, overindulgence in food and drink are considered moralistically wrong.

French Cuisine

French food means fancy, right?

Wrong.

French food is often thought of as fancy food because of its strong association with wine and the culinary arts. However, French food is no fancier than other cuisines.

The reason why French food is often associated with being fancy is that there is a very strong emphasis on technique. These French techniques often involve how to cut, dice, sautee, incorporate, and mix. It can be a little daunting.

Don’t let that stop you!

You’ll be able to enjoy a variety of French meals once you get the technique down. 

So what’s the bottom line?

Flavor profiles and cuisine are consistently diverse. That’s one thing you can count on. It’s exciting to think about all the different flavors out there in the world that are just waiting for you to sample.

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