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berries-dessert-food-221092Some of the delicious dishes we love are named after cities and countries in different parts of the world. French toast, California roll, English muffins and Yorkshire pudding are just some notable examples. While these toponyms or 'place names' are usually associated with the origin of the dish, in some cases, they don't reveal the true origin of the food. Read on to discover the origin of some mouth-watering dishes named after famous places.

1 Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce was created in the 1830s. At this time, many returning soldiers tried to create recipes for the type of pungent sauces they discovered while serving overseas. The origin of this sauce is credited to Sir Marcus Sandys who made it with molasses, vinegar, garlic, tamarinds, shallots, and assorted spices. Sandys took it to a shop called Lea and Perrins - a local grocery store located in Worcester, England - where it was subsequently commercially produced and from which its name was derived.

2 Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is a famous dish in the U.K. The origin of this dish is not well established, but the first time it appeared in print was in a 18th century cookbook. It was called Dripping Pudding because of the meaty juices that dripped from the spit roast. However, it was the British cook, Hannah Glasse, who called it Yorkshire pudding in her popular cookbook.

3 Turkish Delight

This sweet treat was created by Bekir Effendi, an Anatolian immigrant who set up a shop in 1777 in Istanbul. Using beet sugar and corn flour, he adapted an older recipe that combined molasses, honey, flour and water. Thus he created a chewy and firm jelly that became famous and enabled him to get employment as a confectioner in the Sultan's palace.

4 Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs have most of the common ingredients in meatballs including minced meat, herbs and spices. But they are unique because of their small size and they are often served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry. The Swedish meatballs were taken to North America in the middle of the 20th century by Scandinavian immigrants. Thanks to the popularity of another famous Swedish export (hint - they sell furniture) most people today are quite familiar with this menu staple.

5 Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev is popular with many all over the world and it's one of the most famous Ukrainian national dishes. In the early part of the 20th century, Empress Elizabeth sent some of her chefs to France to study French cuisine due to its popularity at the time. Modern chicken Kiev is an adaptation of cotelettes de volaille, a dish containing chicken, herbs and butter.


6 Beijing Roast Duck

China has given much to the world and this culinary speciality is just one notable example.  This dish, also called Peking roast duck (or simply Peking Duck), traces its history to the Ming dynasty when only the best chefs made their way to the capital (Peking) to prepare it for the Emperor. The original version consists of thin slices of crispy duck meat combined with spiced vegetables and a tasty sauce. Should you find yourself visiting the Chinese capital, try choosing a hotel with a restaurant which serves up the famous dish on its menu. Upon ordering, it’s often common that the servers will cut the strips of the duck at your table followed up by a short demonstration of how to make a duck roast wrap with chopsticks.

7 California Roll

The California Roll is an adaptation of the popular Japanese dish sushi. In the 1960s, a  Japanese chef, Ichiro Mashita, based out of Los Angeles, decided to use real crab in place of deep sea fish like tuna when it was not available. Significantly, the ‘packaging’ of the roll took on an inside-out approach, dropping the traditional seaweed paper normally packaging a sushi roll. After his modified sushi creation gained wider acceptance, his fans called it the California roll.

8 French Toast

French toast developed as a way to reuse stale bread across Europe. Even before France (as we know it today) became a country, the bread was already being used as a method to maximise the scarcely available food. Peasants used stale bread to create the toasted dish. It eventually became popular among the French and they called it "pain purdue" which is translated as "pure bread" or “just bread”.

9 Belgian Waffles

Just like French toast, Belgian waffles originated during the Middle Ages as a mixture of oats and barley cooked in a "waffle iron". The waffle iron has two metal plates that are connected by a hinge and attached to a wooden handle.

In 1964, Maurice Vermersch brought the waffle to the World's Fair held in New York. The Belgian waffle was originally called the Brussels waffle, but most Americans preferred to call it the “Belgian Waffle” because they hadn't heard much about the city itself.


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Last edited by DrFumblefinger
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I have often asked for Worcestershire Sauce in American Restaurants - same as I do at home in England. But have always been refused.

Years later when dining with my American family I discovered that it was not called Worcester Sauce - but received its full title.

It surprised me as Americans have a penchant for shortening the names of produce.  I often ask for a Bud and a Big Mac on my travels. But I cant in America !

(English pronunciation for Worcestershire Sauce is Wuster Sauce)

Last edited by GarryRF

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