10 Traditional Foods and Their Origins

Did you know that vindaloo is actually a Portuguese dish, and that the Scotch egg (widely regarded as one of Britain’s top traditional foods) actually originated in India and North Africa, with its revival being claimed by Fortnum and Mason in 1738?

These are just a couple of facts featured in an food migration map I came across recently from the adventure travel holiday company, Explore.co.uk, all about the origins of traditional food from across the world. You can discover more about the origins of many of the classic foods we know and love, and how they have travelled across the world to different destinations. I bet you will be shocked to find out where some of your favourite foods come from!

Discover the origins of ten traditional foods from around the world, including Greek, French, Spanish, Portuguese, American and Indian dishes. #traditionalfoods #worldfoods #foodorigins #fiishandchips #foodtravel

I was particularly surprised to discover that fish and chips can be traced back to Spain and Portugal, as it’s such a quintessentially British dish, but it didn’t actually arrive on British shores until around the 17th Century. Similarly, I wouldn’t have guessed that early forms of cheesecakes and doughnuts could be found in Greece prior to their arrival in the States.

However, a few of the entries didn’t come as a surprise to me. For example, I knew coffee was developed in North America and Africa before arriving in the USA and Europe, and it seems logical that French fries originated in France and Belgium, before becoming immensely popular in the States, driven by the rise of fast food outlets in the 1940s.

It’s really got me thinking more about where the roots of popular traditional foods actually lie, and it’s taught me to be more curious about the origins of some of my favourite foods. Take a look at the food migration map below – are you shocked by the origins of these traditional foods?

The Origins of 10 Traditional Foods

The Origins of Traditional Food: Discover Where Your Favourite Traditional Foods Come From #foodorigins #worldfood #traditionalfood

Do you know of any foods with interesting origins? Let me know in the comment box below.

Discover the origins of ten traditional foods from around the world, including Greek, French, Spanish, Portuguese, American and Indian dishes. #traditionalfoods #worldfoods #foodorigins #fiishandchips #foodtravel

This is a collaborative post.


  1. April 20, 2018 / 8:58 pm

    Oh this is really interesting, I love finding out fun things like this. I don’t know about origins but I always think of an area of France when I see your blog title, all the menus have Nos Welches on them (Welsh Rarebit) and I would love to know how and why! 😀

    • April 21, 2018 / 12:57 am

      Oh wow, that’s so peculiar and interesting! I would love to go there myself and try Nos Welches! What is this part of France called, do you know?

  2. April 20, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    What?! Dougnuts originate from Greece and Fish and Chips from Spain?! That’s so cool, and really interesting to read.

    • April 21, 2018 / 12:56 am

      Yes, it’s surprising where our food actually comes from!

  3. April 20, 2018 / 10:30 pm

    ha this is really interesting. I never knew that about fish and chips originating in Spain and Portugal 🙂

    • April 21, 2018 / 12:56 am

      I was surprised at that too!

  4. April 21, 2018 / 3:16 am

    In my mind I associate fish and chips with Britain but now you say the dish originated i Spain and Portugal, Wow, you just made the study of food origins interesting.

    • April 21, 2018 / 3:25 pm

      Yes, I know what you mean. It’s surprising at first but then when I think about it more, it does kind of make sense because fish is very popular in both Portugal and Spain.

  5. Vicky
    April 21, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    I loved reading this I had no idea fish and chips started in Spain it is such a British food. Fun facts?

    • April 23, 2018 / 9:05 am

      I was shocked by that too! 🙂

  6. April 22, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    This is so interesting. I don’t really think about where different foods originated, I just know what I like! Kaz

    • April 23, 2018 / 9:04 am

      It really surprised me to discover where some of these foods come from!

  7. ChelseaMamma
    April 22, 2018 / 6:09 pm

    No way, vindaloo a Portuguese dish???? Some great quiz questions here

    • April 23, 2018 / 9:03 am

      Yes. This one I wasn’t shocked about, as I have an Indian chef friend who is half Portuguese, and he told me about this little fact 🙂 It would make for such a fun quiz, you’re right!

  8. April 23, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    I can’t believe fish and chips didn’t actually originate in Britain! I mean, it’s so strongly associated with us. It’s true what they say – you learn something new every day 🙂

    Louise x

    • April 30, 2018 / 11:45 am

      I was surprising to hear this dish had made it’s way over to Oz too!

  9. April 30, 2018 / 10:32 am

    I never knew where donuts came from before! this is so interesting! x

    • April 30, 2018 / 11:30 am

      Glad to have opened your eyes to where some of our favourite foods come from 🙂

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