- It is a staple food, made from a selection of locally available foodstuffs that can be prepared in a distinctive way, such as fruits de mer, served along the west coast of France.
- It contains a particular 'exotic' ingredient that is produced locally, such as the South American paprika grown in the European Pyrenees.
- It is served as a festive culinary tradition that forms part of a cultural heritage—for example, barbecues at summer camp or fondue at dinner parties—or as part of a religious practice, such as Korban Pesach or Iftar celebrations.
- It has been promoted as a national dish, by the country itself, such as the promotion of fondue as a national dish of Switzerland by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s.
According to , a lecturer on Latin American culture at Hofstra University, it is impossible to choose a single national dish, even unofficially, for countries such as Mexico, China or India because of their diverse ethnic populations and cultures. The cuisine of such countries simply cannot be represented by any single national dish. Furthermore, because national dishes are so interwoven into a nation's sense of identity, strong emotions and conflicts can arise when trying to choose a country's national dish.
Latin American dishes
In Latin America, dishes may be claimed or designated as a "plato nacional", although in many cases, recipes transcend national borders with only minor variations. Both Peru and Ecuador claim ceviche as their national dish. Stews of meat, plantains, and root vegetables are the platos nacionales of several countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean: Colombian ajiaco, as well as the sancocho of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Panama, are examples of platos nacionales. Janer (2008) observes that this sharing of the same plato nacional by different countries calls into question the idea that every country has a unique national dish that is special to that country; she states that cuisine does not respect national and geopolitical borders.
The identification of Latin American national dishes is stronger among expatriate communities in North America. In Latin American countries, the plato nacional is usually part of the cuisine of rural and peasant communities, and not necessarily part of the everyday cuisine of city dwellers. In expatriate communities, the dish is strongly reclaimed in order to retain the sense of national identity and ties to one's homeland, and is proudly served in homes and restaurants. By this show of national identity, the community can resist social pressures that push for homogenization of many ethnically and culturally diverse communities into a single all-encompassing group identity, such as Latino or Hispanic American.
This is not a definitive list of national dishes, but rather a list of some foods that have been suggested to be national dishes.
- Afghanistan: Kabuli Palaw
- Albania: Tavë kosi
- Algeria: Couscous, chakhchoukha
- Andorra: Escudella
- Angola: Muamba de galinha
- Antigua and Barbuda: Pepperpot, Fungee
- Argentina: Asado, Empanada, Locro, Milanesa, Choripán
- Armenia: Khash, Harissa, Dolma, Khorovats
- Aruba: Keshi yena
- Australia: Pavlova, Vegemite on toast, Meat pie, Roast lamb,
- Austria: Wiener Schnitzel
- Azerbaijan: Dolma, qutab
- Bahamas: Crack conch with peas and rice
- Bahrain: Machboos
- Bangladesh: Rice and Ilish, Shorshe Ilish, Machh bhaja, Machher Jhol, Bhuna, Chicken Korma
- Barbados: Cou-Cou and Flying Fish
- Belarus: Draniki
- Belgium: Moules-frites\Mosselen-friet, Belgian waffle, frites
- Belize: Boil up, Fry jack
- Benin: Kuli Kuli
- Bermuda: Bermuda fish chowder
- Bhutan: Ema datshi
- Bolivia: Salteñas, Silpancho
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnian pot, Ćevapi
- Botswana: Seswaa
- Brazil: Feijoada
- Brunei: Ambuyat
- Bulgaria: Banitsa, Bob chorba, Shopska salad
- Burkina Faso: Riz Gras
- Burundi: Boko-Boko (Swahili-Burundian harees)
- Cameroon: Ndolé
- Canada: Poutine, Nanaimo bar, Butter tarts, Macaroni and cheese, Tourtière, Fried dough
- Cape Verde: Cachupa
- Central African Republic: Cassava fufu, Peanut soup
- Chad: Boule (millet porridge)
- Chile: Empanada, Pastel de choclo
- China, People's Republic of: Peking Duck, noodles (such as lo mein, chow mein and lamian), chinese fried rice, dumplings, Mao's braised pork
- Colombia: Sancocho, Ajiaco, Arepa, Bandeja paisa
- Comoros: Langouste a la Vanille
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: Poulet à la Moambé
- Republic of the Congo: Poulet Moambé, Poulet Yassa
- Costa Rica: Gallo pinto
- Croatia: Zagorski Štrukli, Mlinci, Brudet, Kulen, Istrian stew
- Cuba: Ropa vieja, Moros y cristianos
- Cyprus: Souvla
- Czech Republic (Czechia): Vepřo knedlo zelo (roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut), Svíčková
- Denmark: Stegt Flæsk (fried pork and potato-based dish; official), Bøfsandwich, Frikadeller and Smørrebrød (unofficial)
- Djibouti: Skoudehkaris
- Dominica: Mountain chicken, Fish broth
- Dominican Republic: La Bandera ("The Flag"; rice, red beans, and meat (beef, chicken, pork, or fish), Sancocho
- East Timor:
- Ecuador: Encebollado, Fritada, Guatitas, Ceviche
- Egypt: Ful medames, kushari, molokhia, falafel (popular street food)
- El Salvador: Pupusa
- Equatorial Guinea: Succotash, Peppersoup
- Eritrea: Zigini with injera, Gored gored
- Estonia: Verivorst with Mulgikapsad (sauerkraut stew)
- Eswatini (Swaziland): Karoo roast ostrich steak
- Ethiopia: Kitfo; doro wat; injera
- Fiji: Kokoda (poke-like ceviche)
- Finland: Karjalanpaisti, Mämmi, Sautéed reindeer
- France: Pot-au-feu, Crêpe, macarons, croissant, coq au vin, cassoulet, bouillabaisse
- Gabon: Poulet Nyembwe
- Gambia: Benachin, Domoda
- Georgia: Khachapuri, Khinkali
- Germany: Sauerkraut, Sauerbraten, Currywurst, Stollen
- Ghana: Fufu, Banku, Jollof Rice
- Gibraltar: Rosto, Japonesa, Calentita
- Greece: Gyro, moussaka, Souvlaki, Magiritsa, Kokoretsi; Fasolada,
- Grenada: Oil Down
- Guatemala: Fiambre, Pepian (hearty meat stew)
- Guinea: Poulet Yassa
- Guinea-Bissau: Jollof rice
- Guyana: Pepperpot, Cook-up rice, Roti and Curry
- Haiti: Red beans and rice (unofficial), Diri ak djon djon
- Honduras: Baleada, Carne asada, Sopa de caracol
- Hungary: Goulash, Halászlé, Chicken paprikash, Pörkölt, Lecsó, Töltött káposzta, Hortobágyi palacsinta, Lángos, Kürtőskalács, Szilvásgombóc, , Dobos torta, Csöröge
- India: Due to its diverse culinary traditions, India does not have a national dish. There were rumours that the government of India was planning on designating Khichdi as a national dish but it was later refuted by the government.
- Indonesia: Soto, Rendang, Sate, Nasi goreng, Gado gado, Tumpeng,
- Iran: Abgoosht, Fesenjan, Chelo kabab, Ghormeh sabzi
- Iraq: Masgouf, Dolma, Quzi, Kleicha
- Ireland: Irish stew, breakfast roll, Colcannon, Spice bag, Chicken Fillet Roll
- Israel: Meorav Yerushalmi 
- Jamaica: Ackee and Saltfish, Jerk chicken 
- Japan: Sushi, Japanese curry, Ramen, Natto, Tempura, Wagyu, Yakiniku, Sukiyaki, Shabu-shabu
- Jordan: Mansaf
- Kazakhstan: Beshbarmak, Shalgam
- Kenya: Ugali, Sukuma wiki, Nyama choma
- Kiribati: Palusami
- North Korea: Kimchi, Naengmyeon, Bulgogi, Bosintang
- South Korea: Kimchi, Bulgogi, Bibimbap, Galbi, Budaejjigae
- Kosovo: Flija
- Kuwait: Machboos, ,
- Kyrgyzstan: Beshbarmak, Laghman, Kuurdak
- Laos: Tum Mak Hoong (Green papaya salad), Larb with sticky rice
- Latvia: Potato pancake
- Lebanon: Kibbeh, tabbouleh
- Lesotho: Chakalaka
- Liberia: Dumboy
- Libya: Bazeen, Usban, Shorba, Haraimi, Aseeda, Abamber and Rozatta (almond milk) (national dessert), Couscous
- Liechtenstein: Käsknöpfle
- Lithuania: Cepelinai
- Luxembourg: Judd mat Gaardebounen
- Malaysia: Nasi lemak, Laksa, Roti canai, Rojak, Ramly burger and Teh Tarik
- Johor: Mee bandung Muar, Kacang pool, Mee Siput Muar
- Kedah: Pek Nga
- Kelantan: Budu (sauce), Nasi kerabu, Akok
- Malacca: Asam pedas, Keria Gula Melaka, Cincalok
- Negeri Sembilan: Rendang, Janda pulang, Apam johol
- Pahang: Tempoyak, Puding Diraja
- Penang: Nasi kandar, Char kway teow, Pasembur
- Perak: Kai si hor fun, Ipoh white coffee, caramel pudding, bean sprouts chicken, Kebebe
- Perlis: Ringgi
- Sabah: Hinava, Cincin
- Sarawak: Kolo mee, Manok pansoh, Sarawak layer cake, Tuak
- Selangor: Satay, Bak kut teh, Banana leaf rice, Hokkien mee
- Terengganu: Lekor, Sata, Nasi dagang
- Maldives: Garudhiya
- Mali: Tiguadege Na, To et Tokorodji
- Malta: Pastizzi, rabbit stew (Fenkata)
- Marshall Islands: Macadamia nut pie
- Mauritania: Thieboudienne, Couscous
- Mauritius: Octopus Curry, Rougaille, Gateux Piment
- Mexico: Taco, Mole poblano, Chiles en nogada
- Federated States of Micronesia: Bat soup
- Moldova: Mămăligă, Sarmale
- Monaco: Barbaguian
- Mongolia: Buuz
- Montenegro: Kačamak, Priganice, Pršuta, Cicvara, Raštan
- Montserrat: Goat water
- Nepal: Dal bhat
- Netherlands: Stamppot
- New Zealand: Bacon and egg pie, lamb, Pavlova, Hangi
- Nicaragua: Gallo pinto
- Niger: Djerma Stew, Jollof rice
- Nigeria: Fufu and Egusi soup
- Norway: Fårikål
- Pakistan: Seekh kebab, Biryani, Nihari
- Palau: Bat soup
- Panama: Sancocho de gallina
- Papua New Guinea:
- Paraguay: Sopa paraguaya
- Peru: Ceviche
- Romania: Mămăligă, Sarmale, Mici
- Russia: Pelmeni, Shchi, Borscht, Kasha, Pirogi, Pirozhki
- Adygea, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria , Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia-Alania: Shashlik
- Altai Republic, Buryatia, Kalmykia, Khakassia and Tuva: Buuz
- Bashkortostan and Tatarstan: Öçpoçmaq
- Chukotka, Komi, Magadan Oblast, Sakha and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug: Stroganina
- Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol: Chebureki
- Kaliningrad Oblast: Königsberger Klopse
- Murmansk Oblast: Sautéed reindeer
- Tula Oblast: Tula pryanik
- Rwanda: Ugali
- Saint Kitts and Nevis: Saltfish
- Saint Lucia: Green fig and saltfish
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish
- Samoa: Palusami
- San Marino: Torta Tre Monti
- Sao Tome and Principe: Palm oil stew
- Saudi Arabia: Kabsa, Saleeg
- Senegal: Thieboudienne, Poulet Yassa
- Serbia: Ćevapčići (grilled minced meat sausages), Pljeskavica (meat patty), Ražnjići (skewered meat), Gibanica (pastry), Ajvar (relish), Pasulj (bean stew), Punjena paprika (filled peppers), Sarma (filled leaves), Riblja Čorba (Fisherman's Soup); further information: Serbian cuisine
- Seychelles: Fruit Bat Soup
- Sierra Leone: Cassava leaves
- Singapore: Chilli crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice
- Slovakia: Bryndzové halušky
- Slovenia: Ajdovi žganci, Belokranjska povitica, Obara
- Solomon Islands: Poi
- Somalia: Canjeero with goat stew, Lahoh
- South Africa: Bobotie
- South Sudan: Kisra
- Spain: Tortilla española
- Andalusia: Gazpacho
- Asturias: Fabada asturiana
- Balearic Islands: Tombet, ensaïmada
- Basque Country and Navarre: Marmitako, Chistorras
- Canary Islands: Sancocho, Papas arrugadas
- Cantabria: Cocido montañés
- Catalonia: Pa amb tomaquet
- Castile and León: Lechazo asado
- Castile-La Mancha: Gachas, Pisto
- Extremadura: Migas
- Galicia: Empanada, Polbo á feira, Caldo gallego
- Madrid: Cocido madrileño, patatas bravas
- Murcia: Zarangollo
- La Rioja: Patatas a la riojana
- Valencian Community: Paella
- Sri Lanka: Rice and curry, Kottu, Kiribath
- Sudan: Ful medames
- Suriname: Pom, Roti and Curry
- Sweden: Köttbullar, Kräftskiva, Surströmming, Ostkaka
- Switzerland: Cervelat, Fondue, Raclette, Rösti
- Syria: Kibbeh
- Taiwan: Beef noodle soup, minced pork rice
- Tajikistan: O'sh (pilaf)
- Tanzania: Ugali
- Thailand: Pad thai, tom yum goong, som tam
- Togo: [fr]
- Tonga: Lu Pulu
- Trinidad and Tobago: Callaloo, Doubles, Aloo Pie, Roti and Curry
- Tunisia: Couscous, Kabkabou
- Turkey: Döner, Kuru fasulye with pilav
- Turkmenistan: Palaw
- Tuvalu: Pulaka
- Ukraine: Borscht, Varenyky
- United Arab Emirates: Harees
- United Kingdom: Fish and chips, Chicken tikka masala, Sunday dinner, Full breakfast (regional variations), Jelly with ice cream (national dessert)
- England: Beef (especially roast beef and corned beef), Pudding (usually Christmas plum pudding), Bangers and mash, Shepherd's pie
- Northern Ireland: Ulster fry, Irish stew, Champ, Pastie supper
- Isle of Man: Skeddan jiarg
- Scotland: Haggis
- Wales: Cawl
- United States: Hamburger, Roast turkey (especially turkey leg or Thanksgiving turkey), Apple pie (national dessert)
- Northeast: Philly cheesesteak, buffalo wings, clambake
- Midwest: Hotdish
- South: Fried Chicken, pimento cheese, barbecue
- West: Chili, fajitas
- Hawaii: Poi, saimin, Loco Moco, poke
- Puerto Rico: Arroz con gandules, lechon, mofongo
- United States Virgin Islands: Fish and cou-cou
- Uruguay: Asado, chivito
- Uzbekistan: O'sh (pilaf)
- Vanuatu: Lap lap
- Vatican City: 
- Venezuela: Pabellón criollo, arepa
- Vietnam: Phở, Gỏi cuốn, Chả giò (nationalwide)
Seafood paella, Valencia, Spain
Phở - Vietnamese noodle soup, considered a Vietnamese national dish
Tabbouleh served with chicken, Lebanon
Poutine, considered one of the national dishes of Canada
Thieboudienne, Senegal national meal
A national drink is a distinct beverage that is strongly associated with a particular country, and can be part of their national identity and self-image. National drinks fall into two categories, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. An alcoholic national drink is sometimes a national liquor drank straight/neat (as in the case of whiskey in Ireland), but is most often a mixed drink (e.g., caipirinhas in Brazil and pisco sours in Peru and Chile), or beer or wine. Examples of non-alcoholic national drinks include Coca-Cola for the US, lassis for India, mate for Uruguay, and kompot for East European nations.
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Beetroot soup: it may not sound that enticing, and it certainly doesn't look it. But imagine it's freezing cold outside, that the snow has been piling up for months. Imagine that a pot of soup has been sitting on the stove all day, improving and intensifying. Imagine that the best root vegetables have gone in there, plus herbs, and maybe hunks of sausage. Imagine that a steaming bowl is placed in front of you, topped with a dollop of sour cream. Now you're getting why this is Russia's favourite dish.
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Large, thin meat patties made from lamb and beef, known as pljeskavica, are considered a national dish of Serbia but are also a favorite with Bosnians and Croatians
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