14 Dishes With Unexpected Origins
Just when you think you know everything, you learn something surprising like the fact that Swedish meatballs aren't from Sweden at all! Here are 14 dishes that come from someplace you'd never expect.
The phrase “as American as apple pie” takes on a whole new meaning when you consider that the delectable dessert doesn’t even originate in the US. It was actually created in England, but Americans arguably perfected it.
Though it’s hard to imagine a German feast without sauerkraut, the fermented cabbage dish actually originated in China. The dish eventually made its way to Europe via migrating tribes. Fermentation has indeed been around for ages, and it has many health benefits regardless of where it’s used!
When you think of Chinese takeout, you likely think of crab rangoon. However, this deep-fried wonton appetizer is full of cream cheese, and that’s not an ingredient typically used in Chinese cuisine. Authentic or not, you can enjoy these wonton-wrapped treats at home. And while you’re at it, try these other appetizers all using wonton wrappers
Corned beef and cabbage
Though this dish is strongly associated with Ireland, it actually has its roots in New York. It seems Irish immigrants paired their low-cost homestyle cabbage with the corned beef they first tasted in the Jewish delis and lunch carts of NYC, thereby creating a classic dish that we still enjoy today.
Several stories exist regarding the true origins of churros, and one states that the cinnamon-sugar treats were discovered in China by Portuguese sailors who then brought the idea to Latin America. While we may never know the true story, whoever is responsible deserves many accolades!
Chicken tikka masala
With a name like chicken tikka masala, one automatically assumes that such a dish would be Indian. In truth, it was apparently created in Glasgow, Scotland, by a chef who made an impromptu spicy yogurt sauce for his chicken to please a customer. Learn how to make it in your pressure cooker.
A tweet from Sweden’s official Twitter account caused quite an uproar when it announced that Swedish meatballs are not Swedish and were, in fact, based on a recipe brought to the country from Turkey. Talk about a revelation!
Chimichangas are essentially deep-fried burritos and given their name, the obvious conclusion is that they were created in Mexico. While burritos themselves are Mexican, chimichangas are a product of the good ol’ US of A, supposedly coming about when a burrito was accidentally dropped into the deep-fat fryer. A pretty tasty accident if you ask us.
Surprisingly, danishes were not created in Denmark, but in Vienna, Austria! It’s said that when Danish bakers went on strike, pastry experts from Vienna came to the rescue and introduced Denmark to their form of flaky deliciousness.
Another item France can’t claim is french fries, even though the name points directly to that nation. The origin of those deep-fried potato sticks have been traced back to Belgium instead, and they’ve now made their permanent mark on the USA.
General Tso’s chicken
General Tso did exist–he was a general in the Chinese army in the 19th century. His namesake dish, however, was actually created in Taiwan and popularized in the US. Try our healthy take (with cauliflower) with this recipe.
Italians weren’t the first to scatter toppings onto dough and bake it. That distinction falls to folks in the Middle East, who began adding ingredients to flatbread long before it became popular, and dare we say it, perfected, in Italy.