Weeknight Cooking

23 International Food Doppelgangers for the Olympics

February  7, 2014

You say to-may-to, we say to-mah-to. In Spain, they say empanada; in India, samosa. Vast as the world sometimes seems, overlapping food traditions -- in the genres of, for example, meat-wrapped-in-dough or eggs-baked-with-vegetables -- suggest otherwise. No matter what hemisphere you inhabit, we'd wager that you crave some variant on the theme of warm broth when you're sick, some form of gooey sweets when you're heartbroken, and something cool and crisp at the height of summer.

So in the spirit of the Olympics, which launch this weekend in Russia, we've rounded up 23 recipes from across the globe that echo each other in form and in function. Challenge yourself to whip something up from every continent, or stage a mano-a-mano/tête-à-tête/?????? between lookalikes to determine your favorite. Go team!

Potato, Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Pierogi vs. Mushi-Gyoza (Steamed Gyoza) 

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Turkey Pho vs. Abuela's Sopa de Avena con Pollo (Grandma's Chicken and Oat Soup)


Rao's Meatballs vs. Shanghainese Lion's Head Meatballs vs. Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs


Kabocha Squash and Tofu Curry vs. Warm Vegetable Curry


Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock's Shrimp Grits vs. Carlo Middione's Polenta Facile


Frittata with Spring Greens, Parmesan and Pancetta vs. Spanish Tortilla vs. Leek, Lemon and Feta Quiche

Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs vs. Tomato-y, Yogurt-y Shakshuka


Al Forno's Penne with Tomato, Cream & Five Cheeses vs. Pastitsio


Moorish Paella vs. Risotto Rosso vs. Brown Rice Jambalaya-ish


Crepes with Lemon Curd & Blueberry Compote vs. Lemony Cheese Blintzes


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kate
  • Rémy Robert
    Rémy Robert
Fond of large dogs, tiny houses, pungent cheese, and dessert for dinner (or breakfast).


Kate February 7, 2014
Thank you for including a Spice Girls lyric in this post. I can't even tell you how much that made me giggle :D
Rémy R. February 10, 2014
hahaha, I am so glad! I try to make a point of including 90s song references as frequently as possible.