30 Must-Try Fried Foods from Around the World

30 Must-Try Fried Foods from Around the World

Mar 15, 2024Federico Milone

Frying is a culinary technique used for millennia, with countless variations around the globe. From quick dips to hearty meals and sweet treats, fried food offers a delightful combination of crispy textures and flavorful ingredients.

Get ready for a delicious journey as we explore 30 irresistible fried dishes guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds.

Savory Snacks and Starters

1. Falafel (Middle East): Garbanzo bean fritters packed with herbs and spices, perfect for ticking into a pita with tahini sauce.

2. Samosa (India): Flaky and crispy pastries filled with spiced potatoes and vegetables, a delightful vegetarian treat.

3. Tempura (Japan): Delicately battered seafood and vegetables, a light and flavorful introduction to Japanese cuisine. Though shrimp tempura is also popular, vegetable tempura encompasses a wide variety of ingredients, including mushrooms, lotus root and burdockers.
4. Arancini (Italy): Savory Sicilian rice balls stuffed with cheese, ragù, or other fillings, have been delighting Italians since the 10th century. Though these breaded fried rice balls are a traditional food during the December feast of Santa Lucia, arancini are eaten year-round. Arancini can be round or molded into a conical shape in honor of the Sicilian volcano Mount Etna.

5. Churros (Spain, Portugal, and Latin America): Long, golden doughnut-like pastries dusted with cinnamon sugar, ideal for dipping in hot chocolate. Delicious churros sticks are deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Originally popularized in Spain and Portugal, these ridged pastry sticks are a sweet favorite for breakfast or snacking throughout Latin America as well.

6. Fried Pickles (USA): Tangy pickles dipped in batter and deep-fried for a flavor explosion.

7. Scotch Egg (UK): possibly the most protein-packed bar snack in culinary history, a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried until crispy. They might be decadently rich, but they’re definitely not Scottish. Some say this salty snack was invented by the British retailer Fortnum & Mason in the 1700s, while others maintain it’s a British take on the Indian nargisi kofta, a curry dish that features eggs wrapped in ground lamb.

8. Fried Calamari (Mediterranean): Tender squid rings or tentacles dipped in a light batter and fried to crispy perfection. Fried calamari, served with a lemon wedge and either marinara sauce or a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce, has gone from a Greek and Italian coastal specialty to high-end American restaurants to a mainstream appetizer.

9. Pakora (India): Pakora is a catchall term for a variety of Indian vegetable fritters such as cauliflower, onion, and chill. Traditionally made with a variety of chickpea flour known as besan flour, these fritters can vary in shape and size depending on the specific vegetables used.

10. Lumpia (Philippines): Spring rolls filled with savory ingredients like pork, shrimp, or vegetables, a delightful appetizer.

11. Chinese dim sum (China). These are deep-fried crispy wonton wrappers stuffed with meats, vegetables or seafood. Dim sum is a wide selection of small, steamed or baked dishes enjoyed as part of a communal meal. Some of the most popular fried dim sum items include spring rolls, har gow (shrimp dumplings), and pan-fried dumplings (potstickers).

12. Zucchini flowers (Italy): Fried zucchini blossoms are stuffed with ricotta cheese and parsley. They are a botanical bonus for gardeners: squash plants produce flowers in spring, but only the female flowers will grow into zucchini by summer’s end. Gardeners in the know pick the male blossoms and turn them into a delicacy, dipping them in a light batter and frying until puffy and golden. The flowers can also be stuffed with ingredients such as cheese, prosciutto, rice, and herbs.

Globally Loved Mains

13. Fish and Chips (UK): The classic English dish is enormously popular across the country.

14. Poutine (Canada): Poutine is the national dish of Canada. This simple dish consists of French fries with cheese curds topped with gravy.

15. Fried Chicken (USA and Korea): There are many ways to cook chicken, but two of the most popular (and crunchy) are American and Korean fried chicken. American fried chicken is known for its thick and craggy crust, a result of dredging buttermilk-marinated chicken pieces in seasoned flour to build up the coating. Korean fried chicken has a thin, crispy batter coating that’s double-fried to get extra crunch, then coated in a gochujang-honey sauce.

16. Fried pizza (Italy): Naples, Italy, is famous for its airy, thin-crusted Neapolitan pizza, but pizza fritta is the lesser-known staple of the city’s pizza traditions. Long a snack in the poorer areas of Naples, this style of pizza was said to have been popularized during World War II when ingredients were scarce, and bombings destroyed many of the wood-fired ovens used to make Neapolitan pizza. These puffy rounds of dough are filling, and even more so when stuffed with ingredients such as ricotta, crushed tomatoes, and pork cracklings.

17. Katsu Curry (Japan): When craving crunchy fried chicken in Japan, look no further than katsu. These panko-breaded cutlets are a staple of many a meal, served over rice or with a curry. Katsu sauce, a sweet and tart fruity sauce, is also a classic accompaniment.

18. Fufu (West Africa): Fufu is a staple dish in West Africa, made from boiled and mashed starchy vegetables. It is typically served alongside stews or soups for a filling and flavorful meal.

Sweet Treats

19. Loukoumades (Greece): Golden doughnut holes drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon, a traditional Greek dessert that's sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

20. Leche frita (Spain): Leche frita, or fried milk, is a favourite northern Spanish street food. Milk is cooked with flour and sugar into a thick custard, then chilled until firm. The custard is cut into cubes, dredged in flour and eggs and fried. Topping the leche frita cubes with cinnamon and sugar makes it a sweeter treat.

21. Funnel Cake (USA): A carnival classic! Deep-fried pastry dusted with powdered sugar, perfect for satisfying your cravings at fairs and festivals.

22. Pastelitos (Latin America): Flaky pastries with sweet fillings like guava, cheese, or meat, offering a delightful combination of textures and flavors.

23. Jalebi (India): A vibrant and sweet Indian dessert featuring deep-fried pretzel-shaped dough dipped in a rosewater syrup. Jalebi's chewy-crunchy texture and beautiful color make it a true standout.

24. Zeppole (Italy): Sweet dough balls fried and dusted with powdered sugar, often enjoyed at Christmas or carnival celebrations.

25. Donuts (Global): A universally beloved sweet! Fried dough in an endless variety of shapes, glazes, and fillings, there's a donut out there for everyone.

Unique Regional Specialties:

26. Takoyaki (Japan): Savory octopus fritters cooked in a special pan, a popular Japanese street food.

27. Hakarl (Iceland): Hakarl is an Icelandic delicacy made from the fermented shark meat. This is an acquired taste, but for those seeking a truly unique culinary experience, hakarl is a must-try.

28. Fried Mars Bar (Scotland): A deep-fried Mars chocolate bar, a sweet and salty indulgence. The deep-fried Mars Bar is a Scottish novelty that has inspired many imitators, from fried Oreos to Twinkies.

29. Fried Ice Cream (Mexico): A delightful play on hot and cold! A scoop of ice cream rolled in breadcrumbs and fried.

30. French fries (Belgium and France): A global icon with debated origins! The birthplace of french fries is a subject of friendly competition between Belgium and France, but the method of making pommes de terre frites has gone from haute cuisine to a fast-food icon beloved around the world. As the lore goes, the name refers to the technique of frenching, or thinly slicing vegetables (in this case potatoes) so all the pieces cook evenly. Served alongside steak or a burger, with ketchup or mayonnaise, or topped with cheese and gravy, french fries go with just about everything.

This list only scratches the surface of the incredible variety of fried foods found around the world. From savory snacks and globally loved mains to decadent sweet treats and unique regional specialties, there's a fried food out there to tempt every taste bud. So next time you're feeling adventurous, grab a fork (or maybe a chopstick!) and embark on your own delicious fried food adventure!


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