Fun Facts About Pizza

Condiments from Different Cultures

What sits on the dinner table as an accompaniment to the dishes being served can be as varied as the cuisine you’re dining on. Most countries have their own habits, their own palette and therefore their own condiments, herbs and spices.

Salt is commonplace on nearly all dinner tables, and across western societies you’re bound to find ketchup, but what rarities do the less renowned regions rely?

In Morocco, you might notice another shaker sat in between the salt and pepper. Cumin is popular across many Mediterranean countries and the Southern American continent. Cumin offers a warming, nutty depth to any dish and goes great with rice, beans, sausages or couscous.

Over in South East Asia, particularly in Thailand you’ll find the options for heat, or sweet. Chilli flakes and sugar are often found among the ring of condiments provided in most eateries or street food stalls. Thai food is known for its variety in spice, sweet and sour flavours. The chilli and sugar serve to balance those flavours to your own personal taste.

Traditional chutney may come as a surprise if you ever have the pleasure of visiting India. Rather than the sweet jam like qualities you may have tried, in the southern most regions of India you’ll find powdered chutney, made with lentils and peanuts and a variety of spices.

In Indonesia, you might mistake the bottle of brown liquid on the table for soy sauce. This is in fact the sweeter cousin of soy, Kecap Manis. Translating as literally, sweet sauce, this Indonesian accompaniment is fortified with an array of spices and lots of sugar. For Indonesians living in the west, if they’re unable to find a bottle for the table at home, they’ll often create their own using soy sauce mixed with brown sugar or molasses.

Salsa is a straight translation of the word sauce in Spanish. Although what salsa usually refers to is a part cooked or even raw sauce. Salsas are actually quite versatile and varied in themselves. A base mix of tomatoes, garlic, onions and chillies make up the main body of the sauce. Some are then cooked, others served raw. Various other spices, juices, fruits and vegetables can be added to make unique flavours or compliment various dishes.

Cultural cuisines will almost always have their own variations and combinations of condiments, sauces and sides.

For a more complete experience when experimenting with recipes from different cultures, it is always worth looking to see if your table is missing a key addition to the dishes. Chips without a pinch of salt, would not be the same.

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