From Congee To Fondue: Comfort Food From Around The World
Image Credit: Pixabay. In Switzerland, the practice of sharing a bubbling pot of fondue is a communal activity that people indulge in at mealtimes.

The term ‘comfort food’ has connotations that include memory and belonging. Most people associate comfort food with a warm, snuggly feeling that lingers long after the meal is over. Whether it’s cheesy or soupy ones, comfort food includes dishes that have the potential to induce a feeling of solace in difficult times and sometimes even cure sickness. We list five comforting dishes from around the world:


Congee is a classic Chinese breakfast dish that’s also considered recuperative for when someone is unwell. It is made by boiling rice in water until the grains begin to fall apart and create a thick, soupy consistency. It can seem a bit bland to those who are used to more flavoursome food, but can be gussied up with garlic, ginger or sliced spring onions. In China, congee is traditionally served with fried dough sticks (called youtiao) that are dunked into it. 


Poutine first appeared in snack bars in Quebec in the 1950s. Made up of hand-cut chips, gravy and cheese curds, it soon became a beloved comfort food. It is commonly believed that ‘poutine’ originated from the English word pudding (or pouding in French). The word was used to refer to a messy mixture of various foods, and is slang for mess in Québec. Today, poutine is no longer eaten only in Canada, and has spread to other parts of the world, from street food stalls to upscale restaurants.


Image credit: Pixabay


Considered a bowlful of comfort in Vietnam and even other parts of the world, pho is a nutritious noodle soup that uses meat like beef, pork or chicken and vegetables. A bowl of pho is always garnished with fresh herbs like mint and coriander leaves. The dish was originally sold at dawn and dusk by street vendors in North Vietnam, but is now a culinary norm nationwide and at Vietnamese restaurants across the world. Pho may be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


Another noodle soup that has transcended geographical boundaries, ramen has spread from Japan to other parts of the world. Made with flavoursome broth, the noodle soup has origins in China. Ramen restaurants can be found anywhere, ranging from humble establishments to those that have been awarded Michelin stars. Ramen includes long noodles and toppings like roasted pork, chicken, boiled egg and dried seaweed. Packs of ramen are also available as instant noodles. 


In Switzerland, the practice of sharing a bubbling pot of fondue is a communal activity that people indulge in at mealtimes. A caquelon (fondue pot) is kept warm at the table with a candle or spirit lamp placed beneath it. Traditionally, the caquelon is rubbed with garlic and the cheese-and-wine mixture is topped up with a splash of kirsch (a type of brandy). Pieces of crusty bread and sometimes even meat are dipped into the molten mixture and eaten.