Every now and then we come across a food that is named after a particular place, often where they were first invented. On other times, we just presume the delicacy to belong to a particular place because of its popularity in that region. However, that’s not always the case. There are times when the name or the popularity of the food has just nothing to do with the place.
Here’s a quick round up of foods that certainly doesn’t belong to the place that you’re thinking it is. Caution: Heartbreaking truths ahead!
If you want to visit the birthplace of French toast, you won’t need to know French because the food existed even before France did as a country. But if the French didn’t come up with the French toast, who did? To your surprise, it was an innkeeper named Joseph French from Albany, New York who created the dish back in 1724. He advertised is as French toast because he was grammatically inept and forgot the apostrophe.
This might be beyond your wildest expectation but the very delicious chicken tikka actually originated in Scotland. Chef Ali Ahmed from Bangladesh had a restaurant in Glasgow in 1971 where a patron who ordered for chicken curry sent it back because he found it too try. Then it struck Chef Ahmed to experiment a bit and add some thick soup and sauce to it. And thus was born the famous chicken tikka which is still one of our all-time favourite foods.
Baked Alaska is a soft sponge cake dessert that is topped off with a layer of hard ice cream and covered with a layer of uncooked meringue. It’s then popped into freezer until serving time, when it is placed in a very hot oven, just long enough to brown the meringue. Does the description sound any bit from the location it’s named after? You must’ve realized the name is more of a description of the dish rather than a nod to its location. Baked Alaska actually came to life in Delmonico’s Steakhouse in NYC, where it was created in honour of the newly acquired territory of Alaska in 1876.
You might be disheartened to know that the samosas you always munch on as a tea-time snack or when sudden hunger-pangs hit are not Indian at all. The triangular potato/meat filled savory found easily on every street-corner actually has its origins in the Middle East. Originally called ‘sambosa’, Middle Eastern traders introduced it to the country sometime between the 13th and 14th century. But whatever the origin may, we’re just happy we get to hog this yummy snack.
A sweet popover made from eggs, flour, sugar, milk and usually vanilla and cinnamon, A Dutch baby is also known as a German pancake. It’s a pancake so thick that you might take it for an actual cake. What it isn’t, however, is a dish neither from the Netherlands nor from Germany. Dutch babies were introduced in the first half of 20th century at Manca’s Café in Seattle and were most likely named after the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers.
Don’t blame the Hawaiians for the pineapple in your pizza. The man credited to have created this flavour of pizza fifty-five years ago was Greek-born and lived in Canada. Sam Panopoulos immigrated from Greece to Canada in 1954 and it was on this trip that he had his first bite of pizza in Naples, Italy. I 1962, he decided to change pizza forever and took a can of pineapple and threw it on the pizza. The creator told BBC that he did it “just for the fun of it, see how it was going to taste”.
How can it not be Indian when we even have an item number associated with this delicious sweet? But the truth is it isn’t. Though different variations of Jalebi are found across different Asian regions, its birthplace is the Middle East. Originally called zalabiya in Arabic and zalibiya in Persian, it was the Persian invaders who brought it to India. Our love for Jalebi has definitely overshadowed its place of origin.
Well known in Russian cuisine and the national dish of Ukraine (Kiev is the capital), chicken Kiev actually originated in France. French food was so popular in Russia during the 1900s that Empress Elizabeth sent dozens of her best chefs over to France to study it. One dish amongst what came back and adapted was cotelettes de volaille, a chicken dish with herbs and butter that is very similar to the chicken Kiev we have today. The dish and the name gained popularity when it was served after WWII in Kiev to the delegation returning from Berlin.