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Different Kinds of Appetizers Around the World

Appetizers play a part in every culture and these little snacks are served all over the globe. The types of appetizers vary from country to country and it can be fun to incorporate an international flavor into your appetizer recipes.

This might mean making a fusion appetizer, where you take a traditional appetizer recipe and add some spice from another cuisine or it might mean serving Asian appetizers with Spanish tapas or serving an Italian bread with a Greek style dip. The best appetizers are those, which you make when you are not afraid to use your imagination and creativity.

A plate of appetizers is something that people can help themselves to. If they want to taste one of your appetizers, they can do so. If you have a buffet style layer, people tend to help themselves to a variety of foods and make their own flavor combinations anyway. So, what are some of the most popular appetizers around the world?

Asian Appetizers

If you think about Asian appetizers, maybe you think of Chinese dim sum or Japanese sushi. Shrimp appetizers with a tangy chili sauce are always popular, as are miniature egg rolls, chicken satay and fancy appetizer recipes with exotic garnishes.

European Appetizers

In Italy, appetizers are known as antipasto. The words antipasto and antipasti, which literally translates to mean “before the meal” have appeared on menus in the United States since the early twentieth century. Antipasti might be cured meats, cheeses, sun dried tomatoes or an Italian salad like insalata tricolore, which is tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. In Spain, appetizers are known as tapas and olives, cheese and cured meats are all popular.

Different Kinds of Appetizers Around the WorldSwedish appetizers are known as a smorgasbord and this word has been used since 1936 in the United States to mean a buffet. In Sweden, it is traditional to start with bread, butter, and cheese and then fish appetizers such as herring, eel and salmon. Next, the Swedes will eat more cold dishes, followed by hot ones.

In the UK, appetizers are known as starters. British starters are very similar to popular North American appetizers. In France, appetizers are known by a variety of names, including canapés, hors d’oeuvres, and amuse-bouche. An amuse-bouche is usually something you eat in one bite.

In Greece, Turkey and most Arab countries, the word meze applies to appetizers. Interestingly enough, these words are widely used in English-speaking countries too. A meze might be an assortment of deep fried foods with dip recipes like taramasalata and yogurt-based dips served on the side.

Central and South American Appetizers

Seafood appetizers and especially shrimp appetizers are popular in South America. You might be served shrimp cocktail as an appetizer in a South American home. Tortillas with homemade dips are also popular. In fact, most cultures have their own dip recipes. These might be hot or chilled.

Appetizers in Other Countries

Coconut chips are a popular appetizer in the Caribbean and these are made by finely slicing fresh coconut flesh and baking it. In India, appetizers can be made with fish, poultry, meat, or cheese. There are lots of deep fried Indian appetizers and also spicy dip recipes, which are served with traditional Indian bread.

There are far too many international appetizers to list here but suffice it to say that every culture and cuisine has its own delicious appetizer recipes you can recreate at home and delight your guests with.


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