As recently as 10 or 15 years ago, most international sections of the supermarket took up part of a single aisle. Now, spice blends, sauces, and foods featuring global flavors can be found throughout grocery stores. As interest in global flavors grows in the U.S., so do the options on shelf and online, making them more available to more people.
People are using their kitchens to explore global flavors like Asian, Indian, Latin American, and more. This trend is driving interest in regional cuisines, authentic flavors, and expanding pantry staples to include spices and sauces from around the globe.
We asked our chefs about the growth of global flavors in U.S. homes, which regional cuisines they see growing more quickly, and easy ways to explore new flavors at home.
More and more people are deepening their knowledge of global cuisines and want to replicate the flavors from different regions in their own kitchens. For example, people may specifically look to try Korean, Puerto Rican, or Venezuelan foods. In addition, fruits and vegetables from around the globe are gaining produce space in U.S. grocery stores, while ancient grains are landing in more people’s carts. E-commerce and social media have also broadened our access to, and knowledge of, many global ingredients. Even entertainment venues and worksites showcase food trucks with global regional foods as a quick, simple way to explore new flavors.
Starting with spice blends, sauces, or pastes that includes the key ingredients from a region can be an easy way to experiment with new flavors. Spice blends like za’atar, garam masala, and Ras El Hanout and sauces like chamoy can be added to foods already familiar to you. You can also grab new produce each week like Korean pears or nopales and find tips for preparing and enjoying them online.
When you find global flavors or new ingredients you enjoy, seek out simple recipes that help you experience new flavors while using familiar, on-hand ingredients. Experimenting with too many new ingredients at one time can be overwhelming for someone new to a cuisine. If you are at a restaurant or traveling, try something new—then search for simplified recipe adaptations to prepare at home.
Indian cuisine features a wide variety of spices and popular dishes vary throughout the country. While some spice blends used in the cuisine are spicy and full of chilis, others are milder and feature sweeter spices like clove and cinnamon. One spice blend used throughout many dishes is garam masala. It provides a blend of Indian flavors, without having to purchase a lot of different spices. Try these Indian-inspired recipes that pair familiar ingredients with some Indian flavors.
Asian-inspired cuisine has been popular throughout the U.S. for decades, and now interest in regional variations and street foods is growing. Foods like kimchi, pho, and ramen can be found in most markets. Now, more people in the U.S. are learning about the variety and complexity of Asian dishes. This growing appreciation for regional cuisine is driving the demand for more diverse ingredients that have been staples throughout Asia for many years.
The latest cuisine to burst into the American food scene is from Africa. West African and Moroccan dishes are two popular culinary regions in the U.S. right now. West African dishes feature spicy chilis, peanuts, cassava and much more. Moroccan cuisine features a mashup of African, Spanish, and Mediterranean flavors like preserved lemon, harissa (a chili paste), and saffron. To explore some Moroccan flavors, check out these soups.
Exploring regional global flavors in your own home can be an exciting and tasty way to try new spices, sauces, and ingredients. We hope these tips help you gain confidence as you prepare and enjoy foods from different cultures.
For more mealtime suggestions, check out these articles from our nutrition team.
Chef tips to make veggies taste great
Quick scratch cooking helps people find balance
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