Given that the very notion of comfort food is to fill you with a warm sense of nostalgia of better times, it’s a fact of life that the best kind of food is anything cooked by your mum.
But when you’re away travelling the world, that’s not necessarily going to be an option. So naturally, you have to seek comforts new. With that in mind, here’s a guide to what to plump for, depending on where on the planet you are.
1. Canada – Poutine
Fries + cheese + gravy is something many people would only consider acceptable at the end of a big night out, but many Canadians consider poutine to be their ultimate comfort food. It might look a mess, but we’re assured it tastes delicious.
2. France – Crepes
Fill ’em with chocolate, fill ’em with cheese, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that delicious warm batter.
3. South Korea – Jeon
Another take on the pancake, this one is savory and spongy, and made by coating anything you want in egg and wheat flour, be it kimchi, your favorite meat, vegetables, or even octopus. The perfect meal for hiding away and sharing with friends on a chilly, rainy afternoon – it’s commonly served with makgeolli, a Korean wine made of rice.
4. Mexico – Chilaquiles
Mexican food is so satisfying anyway that we would have put money on Mexican comfort food being something really special – and we would be right. Chilaquiles are a messy combination of all of our favorite things: tortilla chips covered in salsa, pulled chicken, Mexican crema, queso fresco (a soft cheese), eggs, and re-fried beans. Mmmmmm.
5. Lebanon – Man’oushe
Possibly the classiest comfort food on the list, Man’oushe has been described as an Arabic pizza, so is off to a good start already, really. A flatbread stuffed with tomatoes and mint, and covered in olive oil and herbs, it’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, which sounds like a great way to start the day.
6. Austria – Schnitzel
On a snowy day, there is nothing better than cosying up with a plate of wiener schnitzel. Nothing more complicated than a breaded slice of meat, it’s almost inspiring that something so simple can be so delicious.
7. Poland – Pierogis
Dumplings are a comfort food in much of the world, but Poland’s version is particularly special: a little pocket of dough, stuffed with onions, potatoes, meat, cheese and sometimes fruit, and then doused in oil and fried. Healthy? Probably not. Heavenly? Definitely.
8. Denmark – Brændende Kærlighed
Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to pronounce it: “Burning Love” is the equivalent. In a country known as the home of hygge, there had to be some competition for the top spot but we think this one deserves it – mashed potato, fried bacon and onions. Simple but satisfying.
9. Ukraine – Borscht
As a sour soup that can be eaten hot or cold, Borscht won’t sound instantly appealing to many, but as comfort foods go it’s healthy, nutritious and straight to the point.
10. UK – Fish & chips
Deep fried fish, deep fried chips; it’s about as far away from borscht on the healthy scale as is physically possible to get. Yet, it’s the universal comfort food, evoking memories of everything from childhood summer holidays by the sea to cosy Friday nights on the sofa.
Everyone will have their own opinions on what should (or shouldn’t) be on the list, of course, so this is just a little head-start to keep you cosy and see you through the long winter nights, whether you’re in Ukraine or South Korea. Whatever you’re chowing down on, enjoy!