World Cup of Cuisine: 32 Culinary Nations Battle in South Africa 2010

By Mark Wiens 37 Comments

Along with football (soccer) skills, each team competing in the Fifa World Cup 2010 brings its own unique and distinct culinary flavors to South Africa creating a fusion of clashing delicacies.  The agglomeration constructs a tremendous assortment of national dishes and comfort foods that are both contrasting and complementary to each other.  All countries have mastered techniques of food cooking and distinct flavors to please their populations.

South Africa World Cup of Cuisine 2010

Welcome to the World Cup of Cuisine 2010!

I am aware that each country is full of dishes to be proud of and not even close to all of them have been mentioned.  If you have a favorite dish or comfort food from one of the competing nations, please let me know with a comment!

Of the 32 Nations competing for the Fifa Football World Cup, who do you think deserves the top three positions for the 2010 World Cup of Cuisine?

The decision was tough for me, but I prefer spice infested cuisines over grilled chunks of meat.  That being said, I still “loooove” grilled chunks of meat.

  1. Mexico
  2. Japan
  3. South Korea

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Group A

south african braai barbecue South Africa- Braai Barbecue

The South African version of the barbecue known as a Braai is an important part of the South African way of life and culture.  Meat in the form of steaks, lamb chops, pork ribs, kebabs, and also grilled bread called Roosterkoek, are all thrown on a wire mesh grill above a bed of flaming coals.  The feast is usually eaten with a dish called mielie pap(maize meal porridge), and complimented with various sauces, breads, and salads.  I can imagine there will be an abundance of Braai South African style feasts taking place in cities throughout South Africa as the World Cup 2010 accelerates into full force.
Image courtesy of Joits

French baguette breadFrance – Bread, Pastries, Fondue

French food is characterized by elegance, innovation, and years and year of experience with cooking methods. Jen Laceda points out that the French, like many from around the world, are obsessed with food.  Flawless baked creations of crusty baguettes, sweet pastries, and other loaves, are all perfectly made in France.  Cheeses paired with wines of excellence, fondue savoyarde, chocolates, and all kinds of dairy products are all huge hits.

Image courtesy of Woaw7Provence

Mexican tacos de cabezaMexico – Tacos

Mexico has developed a wonderful array of cuisines to be considered highly important in this gastronomic world.  The country has contributed worthy dishes of praise like burritos filled with beef and beans, tacos loaded with greasy meats and salsas (tacos de cabeza), tamales made with strong corn flavors, chili rellenos, chili con carne, mole, and a host of other famous world renowned specialties.

Uruguayan asado parillaUruguay- Asado, Chivito

Uruguay, much like the host South Africa as well as Argentina, is crazy about huge amounts of slow roasted meat, grilled to perfection.  The Uruguayan barbecue is a social event revolving around a monstrous grill that slow raosts a mess of meat over wood coals.  A Uruguayan Chivitois a sandwich made with a slice of fillet Mignon, mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise, olives, and sometimes bacon and tomatoes.

Group B

parilla asado in argentina Argentina – Asado Parilla, Choripan, Milanesa

Argentina, like a few of the other World Cup contenders know how to grill meat to superlative standards.  Argentina Asado is ingrained into the culture and is a part of all aspects of life.  Its not uncommon to see ribs, chicken, steak, baby goat, spicy sausage choripan, black pudding sausage, and a hunk of provolone cheese, all smoking away together on an extensive grill.  The meats are heavily salted, marinated with olive oil and black pepper, and served with chimchurri salsa, and bread.

Image courtesy of dr_pablogonzalez

Greece – Souvlaki

From kebabs grilled on small sticks to eggplant casseroles like Moussaka, Greek food is fresh and full of herbs.  The extremely popular souvlaki kebabs are roasted cubes of marinated pork, chicken, or lamb embraced with spices and Greek herbs before being seared on a grill.  Pita bread, rice, herbed tomatoes and onions, french fries, and tzatziki sauce are also a vital part of the meal.

Image courtesy of robwallace

Nigerian peanut stewNigeria – Groundnut Stew, Tuwo, Efo

With Africa’s largest population, Nigeria has an extensive selection of cuisine.  A lot of the food is comprised of soups, stews, and vegetables, eaten with starch pastes made from corn, cassava, or yams.  Tuwo, Iyan, and Fufu, are all popular and filling staples. Ground nut stew, Nigerian spicy fish stew, pepper and leafy vegetable soups like Efo, and plantain chips, are a few other delicious treats to eat in Nigeria.

Image courtesy of kitchengeeking

Bulgogi and vegetablesSouth Korea – Bulgogi and Kalbi Barbecue

South Korean food is a joyous display of dainty salads and condiments along with a selection of grilled masterfully marinated tender meats, herbs, and vegetables.  Bulgogi Korean BBQ is thin slices of marinated sirloin seared and then sometimes wrapped in a lettuce leaf with raw garlic, a few chili pastes, and a chopstick full of kimchi.  Kalbi is a greasier delicious exploding version of Korean style short ribs.

Group C

English sausages and mash England – Bangers’n’Mash, Roast Dinner

Though English food is not known for its vibrant and spice-licious flavors, locals are still passionate about a number of classic dishes.  Banger’n’Mash is comprised of mashed potatoes below a couple of traditional sausages and sometimes doused in gravy.  A traditional roast dinner consists of slowly cooked potatoes, roast beef, some vegetables, and possibly Yorkshire pudding.

Image courtesy of blackbyrd

Hungarian goulashSlovenia – Goulash

Slovenian cuisine is a fusion of Mediterranean, German, Austrian, Hungarian, and Italian foods. There is often heavy cream involved in the production of Slovenian favorite dishes.  Soups and various forms of goulash are quite popular and stocked full of vegetables, mushrooms, and barley.  Ocvirkovca is a flaky traditional bread torn off in pieces and eaten with dishes like goulash.

Image courtesy of hadaway

heart attack grill cheeseburger United States – The Cheeseburger

The United States has taken a world of cuisine and modified a lot of it to accommodate an American version and taste.  That being said, almost all forms and styles of food from around the world can be found in the United States.  Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, American pizza, and doughnuts, are a few of the everlasting selection.

Algerian Berber CouscousAlgeria – Berber Couscous, Merguez, Roasted Lamb

Located in Northern Africa, Algeria was blessed with a fusion of Mediteranian, Middle Eastern, and African cuisines, all merging together.  Lamb and fish curries, roasted lamb (Mechoui), and spicy lamb sausage (Merguez), are usually partaken of with flatbread or Algerian couscous.

Image courtesy of masha2606

Group D

German bratwurst sausagesGermany – Bratwursts and Sauerkraut

Beef, pork, and chicken, are extremely popular meats in Germany, and they are all eaten in abundance.  Sausages of every form, shape, size, and taste, are all important in Germany and bratwursts have spread to grilling parties around the world.  A great diversity of bread and rolls accompany almost all meals.  Don’t forget a healthy dosage of sauerkraut pickled cabbage!

Image courtesy of KissMonika

Serbian Balkan burgersSerbia – Pljeskavica

Pljeskavica, also known as the Balkan Burger, is a Serbian food of minced meat mixed up with a handful of spices and then grilled in patty form. Apparently, the Balkan Burger could be so good that its taste can unite people!  Sarma is another dish that consists of rice and minced beef encased in a cabbage roll-up. Roasted meats, cheeses, and breads, are all important parts of dining in Serbia.

Image courtesy of ywds

Australian vegemiteAustralia – Vegemite, Aussie Barbie

Yeast extract made into a dark paste, spread onto toast, bread, or biscuits, and called Vegemite, is an Ausralian delicacy.  Barbecued meat is also taken quite seriously in Australia.  Lamb, beef, sometimes Kangaroo, prawns and other forms of seafood are all popular items for the Barbie!

Image courtesy of blentley

Ghana style Jollof RiceGhana – Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is an essential and delicious part of the West African diet and is fundemental in Ghana.  Rice is mixed with meat or chicken, tomato sauce, chili pepper, some onions, ginger, nutmeg among other spices, and then cooked up altogether in a single pot.  The result is an ultra fragrant all-in-one meal of a dish.  A few fried plantain bananas go well with the Jollof rice for super satisfaction.

Group E

Dutch edam cheeseNetherlands – Dutch Cheese, Heineken

Holland is world famous for their exquisite Dutch cheese making skills.  From gouda to edam, cheeses are aged to perfection and extremely tasty.  Cheese is often eaten with delicious crusty bread.  Ever heard of Heineken? it’s a pretty popular beverage around the world and I’m sure quite a lot will be drunk in South Africa 2010.

Image courtesy of Romedesign

Danish sandwichDenmark – Smørrebrød, Frikadeller

Denmark is known for it’s open faced sandwiches called Smørrebrød.  A hearty piece of fresh rye bread is spread with a layer of butter and then topped with an assortment of cold cuts, vegetables, seafood, cheese, or spreads.  The resulting sandwich is artfully crafted to look appealing and fully decorative.  Frikadeller are Danish style meatballs made with minced meat, eggs, milk, onions, bread, and salt and pepper.

Image courtesy of pope_jakob

Raw fish sushiJapan – Sushi

The pleasing cuisine of Japan is popular and now trendy worldwide.  Raw fish is sliced thinly in its purest form and displayed artfully before being dipped into wasabi soy mixtures.  Variations of rolled sushi with Japanese sushi rice, a bit of raw fish, a few sprigs of vegetables, and sprinkled with furikake, are all Japanese culinary gems.  Japan also has an amazing amount of cute and ever evolving niblets to snack on, like onigiri rice ballsbento boxesgyoza, takoyaki, and tonyu doghnuts.

Cameroon foufouCameroon – Fufu and Ndole

Ndole is considered the national Cameroonian food dish. It is a meat or fish stew cooked with bitter leaves and nuts.  Fufu is one of the staple and most filling dishes in Cameroon.  It is a thick paste or mush, usually made from cassava, yams, or corn.  The mush can be handled with the hands and bite sized pieces can be dipped into stews or gravies.

Group F

Italian pasta sauceItaly – Pasta and Sauce, Gelato

From the diverse pasta dishes to evolving pizzas, Italian food has permeated countries around the world.  In it’s simplest form, Italian food is made with fresh ripe ingredients and lots of herbs. Apparently the Italians brought along their own supply of pastas to South Africa!  Italian delicately made ice cream known as Gelato is a sure way to please any female worldwide.

Image courtesy of motofoto

Slovakian national dishSlovakia – Bryndzove Halushky

Slovakian cuisine is different from region to region though most of it has been influenced by Hungarian and Austrian food.  One of the national and typical Slovakian dishes is called Bryndzove halushky.  It consists of potato flour chunks (similar to gnocchi) cooked in a gravy of sheep cheese and eaten with bacon pieces or smoked fat.

Image courtesy of Oldsoft

Paraguayan cassavaParaguay – Mandioca, Cassava, Yucca

Eating Mandioca also known around the world as cassava is mandatory in Paraguay with almost every meal.  The starchy potato like substance is boiled and eaten with a collection or stews.  Locro is a traditional stew made from corn and sopa Paraguaya is a bread made from corn flour and cheese.

Image courtesy of chickybuddy

lamb chops with mint sauceNew Zealand – Lamb, Sweet Potatoes, Māori potato

When thinking of New Zealand one might immediately be drawn to the famous lamb that roams the green hills.  Lamb chops with mint sauce is an entree to remember in New Zealand.  Another cuisine that resides in New Zealand lies with the traditional Māori people.  The cuisine includes kumara sweet potatoes and Māori purple potatoes cooked in various bush herbs and spices.

Image courtesy of gabrielteixeira

Group G

Brazilian typical foodBrazil – Rice and Beans, Feijoada, Churrasco

Brazilian food‘s diversity is almost as big as the country itself.  The combination of rice and beans is a basic dish, but still ever so popular and made with highly delicious ingredients in Brazil.  Feijoada is a stew made with black beans, pork, beef, and onions. Like many South American nations, Brazil is also knowledgeable about grilled meat known as Churrasco.

Image courtesy of victoriafee

Portuguese bacalhau dishPortugal – Bacalhau

Portuguese food is a Mediterranean style culinary mixture utilizing a series of spices, herbs, and olive oil.  Bacalhau, preserved and salted cod fish, is one of the unofficial national Portuguese foods that is commonly available.  Grilled seafood is found at almost all restaurant and dishes like Arroz de Marisco (rice and seafood) are vibrant dishes to partake of.

Image courtesy of rochafoto

fried plantain bananasCote d’Ivoire -Fried Bananas, Kedjenou

Aloko or fried bananas are ever present in the Cote d’Ivoire style cuisine.  Slightly sweet plantain bananas are cooked in oil until golden brown and served with meals or just for snacks.  Kedjenou is a delicious chicken and vegetable stew slowly cooked with only a little liquid to emphasize the chicken flavor.  Fufu like in much of West Africa is a very common starch filler.

Image courtesy of spartan_puma

North Korean cold noodlesNorth Korea – Cold Noodles

GalbiJim expresses that the big difference between North Korean and it’s well known South Korean neighbor in the realm of food, deals with the selection of cold noodles in the north.  Mul Naengmyeon is one of the most popular noodles dishes made with sweet potato flour and served in a soup with cucumbers and beef.

Image courtesy of avlxyz

Group H

Spanish seafood paellaSpain – Paella

A Spanish paella originates from Valencia and though there is an extensive list of Spanish foods and cooking techniques, it has become symbolic as a national dish of Spain.  There are many variations of  the paella, but most consist of white rice, vegetables, a form of meat or seafood, and mild seasoning, all unified in a single pan.

Image courtesy of bpt

Switzerland potato rostiSwitzerland – Chocolate, Rösti

Rösti is considered as one of the national dishes of Switzerland.  Grated potato mixed with salt and pepper is fried in butter or oil in the form of a patty.  Bacon, cheese, herbs, and other ingredients are also sometimes added to the rösti for extra tastiness. With a world high reputation, a flavor that will melt someones heart, and texture that’s smoother than silk, Swiss chocolate is famed around the world.

Image courtesy of divania_nogueira

Chilean churrasco beef sandwich 

Chile – Churrasco Completo

Meat, avocados, and crusty loaves, are three foods that Chileans are passionate about.  A combination of all three, plus a few added extras like tomatoes, sauerkraut, and some special sauce, forms the basis of the famous Chilean Churrasco Completo.  This is an all-in-one massive sandwich meal-deal where bread is the least used ingredient.

Honduran typical foodHonduras – Plato Tipico, Beleada

Honduran cuisine is an agglomeration of South American, Spanish, and African foods.  Meat, seafood, corn, beans, tortillas, and plantains, are all Honduran specialities and sources of nutrition. A plato tipico or typical plate of food consists of barbecued beef, pork sausage, beans, rice, plantains, a small salad, and cheese.  A beleada is a Honduran tortilla filled with mashed beans, salty cheese, and various creams.

Image courtesy of cphon

Who do you think should take gold, silver, and bronze, in this 2010 World Cup of Cuisine???

37 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Shima

    3 years ago

    This is really interesting. I Hope you are really enjoying your job.

  • Isla

    3 years ago

    I feel like aww, how you could able to travel so like this. I feel like joining you

  • vishal kaushik

    3 years ago

    Awesome to read this blog. Thanks!

  • Micaela

    13 years ago

    Love this site. Will reference you on my blog about travel. Food around the world is one of my favorite topics. Kudos on the videos and pictures. May you always be greeted with big smiles and warm hearts around the globe. Happy trails. MM

  • Quinton Nealley

    13 years ago

    amazing stuff thanx

  • kaylee

    13 years ago

    i just love food(:

  • lubos

    13 years ago

    Awesome site, Mark. This is Lubos from I found your site because of the link you posted here. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit Slovakia one day, you will love the food there! And by the way, I also have a little travel blog. Here is a link to a trans-siberian trip I went on few years back with my then girlfriend. We flew into Munich and took the train to Mongolia. Good times!!

  • Jacoba

    13 years ago


    I love all food so it’s hellishly difficult to choose but I agree with Guy about the South African braai. We NEVER put chips with a braai. It’s sacrilege!

  • Brendan van Son

    14 years ago

    Hey, Actually stumbled upon this post. It’s a great post! I’m telling you that the best I’ve tasted in Uruguay… sooooo delicious!!!

  • Luke Jackson

    14 years ago

    Greek foods are like asian foods, they are both tangy and very spicy.::~

  • Dina

    14 years ago

    haha, love this post! The American cheeseburger is hilarious! I’m a fanatic fan of sushi, so Japan should get the gold medal. Mexico, Korea, and Greece can fight for the silver medal. And I doubt Australia will win 😀

  • Logan Robinson

    14 years ago

    i like to add herbs and spices on the foods i cook..’~

  • Mark Wiens

    14 years ago

    Hey Doug, that is an amazing idea you are enacting! I am checking out your site now and looks like you’ve already cooked up a lot of delicacies. Great idea and keep it up!

  • Doug

    14 years ago

    My wife and I have been cooking a dish from each country with a team in the world cup. We even made Bryndzove Halushky, or at least some reasonable facsimile thereof. We aren’t pros by any stretch but we are having a lot of fun. Some of our dishes have come out better than others. I searched Google and found this site, but not anyone else doing what we are doing. I thought you folks might like it.

  • Reuben Powell

    14 years ago

    I love to taste some greek foods because they are very spicy.*“

  • Mark Wiens

    14 years ago

    @Laura, That Chilean Churrasco completo is definitely worth making the pilgrimage to Santiago!

    @Flip, Hope you were able to get some things to eat off this list!

    @Nancie, Thank you, didn’t know the side dishes were called Banchan. That’s what really makes Korean food for me!

    @Jessiev, You are right about Thai, too bad they didn’t make it to the World Cup to be included in the World Cup of Cuisine…

    @Guy, Hey sorry about the inaccurate depiction of Braai and nice to know that chips are “not” eaten with the SA barbecue. I just happen to search a picture gallery for Braai and this looked the best. Thanks for checking this out!

  • Guy McLaren

    14 years ago

    As a South African, I must point out that I am discontented with your depiction of fries with a braai. This is sacriligeous. The salads are very tasty looking. Just those chips throw a spanner in the works. What that looks like is a mixed grill as you would find at a roadhouse.

    This reminds me of that quaint English tradition of serving baked beans with everything, I note none with the bangers and mash, so I feel obligated to call into question the authenticity of all these meals.

  • jessiev

    14 years ago

    if i wasn’t hungry before, i would be now!! great listing – i love it all! my faves? japanese, french, thai. yum.

  • Nancie (Ladyexpat)

    14 years ago

    Love this post!

    I love your description of Korean side dishes as “dainty”. The Korean name for side dishes is ‘Banchan”.

    I live in South Korea, and love the food. Not sure I would rate them in the top three, though.

    My top three would be

    Mexico, Italy, and Japan

  • flip

    14 years ago

    damn! i got hungry even before i reached the last part of this post, my faves include sushi, tacos and paella 🙂

  • Laura

    14 years ago

    Mexico, Greece, South Korea. In that order. Although that Chilean burger is making me salivate. I think Chile has just been bumped up several places on my To-travel list.

  • Mark Wiens

    14 years ago

    Joel: I would love nothing more than to enjoy these feasts with you.

    Lurece: Thanks a lot!

    Pam: Glad you enjoyed it. That’s pretty awesome that you are into French cooking these days. They definitely have a culinary art that has reached a prestigious level. That dish sounds lovely!

  • Pam

    14 years ago

    So, I enjoyed this post a ton, and it definitely made me laugh (food world cup – if they had one of those I’d definitely watch!!!). The one new cuisine I’m into right now is French cuisine (I’ve cooked lots of varieties but can’t say I’ve ever really tried to make French-style, so I’m pretty excited. Made something called beef bourguignon last night (a take off of the famous Julia Childs who did French cuisine) and it was delish.

  • Lurece

    14 years ago

    Awesome! Looks like I just found another World Cup Food Challenge taker! I’ll be sure to add this site to our article on World Cup Food Challenges going on around the world at

  • Joel Bruner

    14 years ago

    Mark, this list is Glorious. That Chilean burger vibe probably has to be seen to be believed… but definitely does not have to be believed to be eaten!
    I think that the picture from Uruguay, all that meat….wow, If I could name that item on a menu I think it should be called “Suicide on a Platter”.

    As always, an amazing and beautiful beautiful post. Keep up the world tour of munch, and good luck with picking a winner in this years World Cup of Cuisine.

  • Mark Wiens

    14 years ago

    Thanks for all the comments and support! Hope you guys are all enjoying the games thus far and indulging in some (or all) of these cuisines.

    Carmen, I’m with you too, I can’t say I’ve eaten everything on this list, no Bryndzove Halushky has ever passed my lips.

  • Carmen

    14 years ago

    Oh my god this is making me hungry! I’m sad to say I haven’t tried some of the choices but of the ones I have, my prizes go to Japan, Italy, Greece and Mexico

  • David Damron

    14 years ago

    This is hilarious and amazing at the same time….

    David Damron
    The Minimalist Path

  • Barbara Weibel

    14 years ago

    Wonderful article – I can only imagine how much work went into this. As for my favorite, since I’m a vegetarian, it would probably be the Paella (I do eat seafood when necessary).

  • Todd

    14 years ago

    Nice post Mark. I have stumbled it. I agree that Japan is in the top three. Although I would not pick sushi as my comfort food to watch during the game. Give me a nice plate of yakisoba or a big bowl of gyudon (beef bowl) with a large Asahi and I’ll be in heaven.


  • Mark Wiens

    14 years ago

    Italy has definitely contributed some world class foods to this palate. I think they would come in 4th for me. I chose South Korea mainly due to my life of growing up eating rice everyday and my ever lust for chili. Thanks for sharing!

  • The Jetpacker

    14 years ago

    Totally agree with Mexico at #1 and Japan at #2. Tacos and sushi are two of my favorite foods on earth.

    But we’ve gotta give some love to Italy at #3. Pizza, pasta, lasagna — all awesome, and there are so many varieties.

    South Korea has those delicious short ribs and a great dish called bibimbob (rice and meats cooked in a hot stone dish), but Italian food has so much more to offer and so much more flavor.