20+ Mouthwatering Dishes of Comfort Food From Around the World

home cooked food

No matter where you live, you’ve probably got some version of comfort food. It’s the type of dish that’s associated with nostalgia; this is something that your mom might make for you when you’re sick, or food that you'll indulge in if you’ve had a bad day. When you take that first bite, you immediately feel better—like suddenly, you’re transported home.

Comfort food means different things across cultures. And, there’s no definitive dish in any given place. Rather, there's a smattering of meals that are generally seen as warm and cozy, and the shared experience of eating them has touched the lives of the people there. In the United States, for instance, pizza is one of the most popular comfort foods. Bring it to a party or order it after a long work week and in that moment, it’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten—even (or especially) when it’s a big, greasy slice.

So, what does comfort food look like around the world? Grab a spoon and a fork and find out, below.



Poutine is made with salty French fries, gooey cheese curds, and is doused in a light brown gravy. The fast food dish originated in Québec province.



Tortilla Española

There are few ingredients needed for the flavorful tortilla Española. Potatoes, onions, and eggs are fashioned into an omelet form and served as tapas or for lunch.




Onigiri, aka rice balls, are made from sticky white rice that’s formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes. They’re often wrapped in seaweed and filled with ingredients like salted salmon, smoked skipjack tuna, or edible kelp.



comfort foods

Photo credit: Give Recipes


Manti, or mantu, are dumplings filled with a spiced meat like lamb or ground beef. The dough wrapper is either boiled or steamed and served with yogurt, sour cream, or garlic.



comfort foods

Photo credit: @gourmiii


Chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican dish, consists of lightly fried corn tortillas that are doused with salsa or mole sauce. They can have a variety of toppings, including pulled chicken, cheese, or eggs (if you’re serving them for brunch).



food photography

Photo credit: Hungry Gerald


Congee is a type of thick rice porridge. They vary greatly by region, and the consistency is largely based on location of preparation. The same goes for what is eaten with it. Salted duck eggs, grilled fish, and pickled tofu are all ingredients you'll find in it.



food styling

Photo credit: 196 Flavors


Moussaka is a layered eggplant or potato-based dish that's served as a casserole. In Greece, it typically includes meat and is topped with a Béchamel sauce that's baked to perfection.


South Africa

comfort food around the world

Photo credit: Blissfully Domestic

Malva Pudding

Malva pudding is a sweet dish with a spongy, caramelized texture. It contains apricot jam and is served hot, where a cream sauce is poured over it.



Fish and chips

Fish and chips first appeared in the 1860s as a staple for the working classes. Now, the fried battered fish and hot fries is an iconic dish served in a paper wrapping.



Kimchi fried rice

Kimchi fried rice is a versatile dish that can be a snack or whipped up as a quick meal. This recipe features a flavorful kimchi sauce and an optional fried egg or spam component. (The canned meat is not traditionally Korean, but was introduced by the American military.)


El Salvador


Pupusas are made of thick corn tortillas and offer a variety of fillings—such as cheese, pork, or beans. Typically, they’re served with curtido, which is a cabbage stew made with red chilies and vinegar.




Made from rice and lentils, khichdi is a one-pot comfort food. Depending on where it’s prepared, it has myriad of preparations and can be vegetarian or cooked with meat or fish.



food photography

Photo credit: @omgitsbomb


Like Turkey, Poland finds comfort in dumplings. Called pierogies, the dough is typically stuffed with onions, mashed potatoes, ground meat, and/or aged cheese.



food photography

Photo credit: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt


Arepas are essentially sandwiches, with two crispy, corn-based flat breads that are loaded with a variety of fillings. They can be eaten day or night.


United States of America


From cheap and greasy to gourmet toppings, pizza consists of baked flatbread that's loaded with meat, vegetables, and condiments. The U.S.’s love for pizza extends far beyond eating and has transformed into a way of life.



home cooked food

Photo credit: Mohammad Orfali


A staple street food, koshari consists of rice, macaroni, and lentils mixed together and then topped with a spiced tomato sauce and fried onions.



Pão de Queijo

Also known as Brazilian cheese bread, pão de queijo is a cheese puff that’s crispy and hollow when you bite into it. Typically, they’re made with Parmesan cheese.


New Zealand

home cooked food

Photo credit: Bren on the Road

Marmite and chip sandwich

Just as simple as a it sounds, a Marmite and chip sandwich features the yeast spread slathered over two slices of white bread. Salt and vinegar chips are layered on top for a nice crunch.




Spätzle is a soft egg noodle found in a variety of German cuisines. Käsespätzle is similar to macaroni and cheese, and the noodles are served in a creamy cheese sauce. Fried onions are a popular addition to the dish.



food styling

Photo credit: Goorsha


Sweet, spicy, and buttery, chechebsa is made from thin wheat pancakes that are fried with spiced butter. It’s served with honey, yogurt, or scrambled eggs to make it perfect for breakfast or a snack.



food styling

Photo credit: Johnny Miller


Prepared as a stew of ground beef and tomatoes, picadillo has a hint of sweetness to it—with raisins—as well as the delightful saltiness of olives.



home cooked food

Photo credit: Jean Cazals

Gratin Dauphinois

Considered one of France’s ultimate comfort foods, gratin dauphinois consists of sliced potatoes double-cooked in seasoned cream and then baked with Gruyere cheese.




A sweet sponge cake with a jam filling, the lamingtion has a national day devoted to it. The dessert is dipped in chocolate and coated in coconut.

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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