Getting acquainted with traditional foods from around the world can be an exciting experience. Or something absolutely terrifying, depending on your taste buds and, of course, the meal itself. Some cuisines, such as Italian, Mediterranean, or Japanese are praised by people from all over. Others, as you’re about to see, are way less appreciated.
A curious redditor, u/KPH102, recently addressed the ‘Ask Reddit‘ community in hopes to find out which country has the overall worst food. The answers provided not only locations, but some amusing commentary as well, which we put on this list for you to giggle at. Sadly, for some countries, they appeared there quite a few times.
The Vatican has the worst cuisine. The bread is so flat that you have to wash it down with mediocre wine. And they have outlets for the stuff all over the world.
I can handle bland or bad food…but when I’m paying 5x normal prices for that same bland food…it just pisses me off.
Iceland was one of my favourite places I’ve ever seen. But the food situation there is brutal.
Iceland. Ever had fermented shark? Horrible.
If I Recall Correctly, Iceland was the one place Anthony Bourdain couldn’t wait to leave. When a guy who made a living eating his way around the world, comes to your nation and concludes even the alcohol is disgusting, there be a lot of problems.
Iceland: Pack A Lunch
There must be a reason why I’ve never seen a Finnish restaurant outside of Finland.
I went out to lunch in Finland. It was a buffet. I s**t you not, everything on the buffet was a form of potato.
Russia. It’s not even a question.
Never been to Russia, but had dinner at a Russian family’s apartment in Israel. They served chicken feet in a jello mold. What the f**k?
I’ve never been to Mongolia or Iceland (the clear winners in this thread), but Russian food is the stuff of nightmares. Mystery soups seem to be big there – you will put bones out of several different species, and the flavor will give you no clue to the origin of those bones. I also saw bread that made me think of the war years….seemed to be made of sawdust and plaster.
I’m a chef, and I’ve cooked all over the world.
This is my *opinion*, but Norway and Russia have the worst local cuisine.
Scottish cuisine is basically based off a dare.
I was once gifted a Scottish cookbook and nah I’m good
Surströmming, the fermented fish from Sweden, smells very bad, tastes very salty and fermented, and has a gooey texture. Surströmming might just be the ultimate disgusting food. Disgust has a very important evolutionary function, it warns us of weird foods that could be potentially dangerous or deadly.
Pro tip: don’t get Mexican food in Switzerland
I would expand the scope – don’t get Mexican food in any European countries except Spain.
Specific cuisine so not what food you can buy in the country it’s absolutely hands down Dutch food. Boiled potatoes, boiled vegetables, a piece of overcooked meat and some packaged gravy is what most Dutch kids eat 5/7 days a week. The other day it’s bread for dinner(no joke) and Sunday more than likely you’re eating Fries and some other deep fried snacks.
It’s the most underwhelming cuisine I can think of. Granted I have never been to Russia, North Korea or Antartica.
Edit: if we’re counting take out or restaurants then definitely not the Netherlands lol. There’s such a variety of restaurants and the food is honestly great.
The Netherlands. As soon as I could drive we’d go to Belgium for dinner with my high school class mates.
Never seen something good from there… But I’ve seen literal fried spiders…
You have to consider that there is a difference between a country’s traditional “cuisine” and the modern food that you can get in that country.
For example, everyone is talking about how bad traditional English food is, but when you actually go to England, their modern cuisine like Chicken Tikka Masala (probably due to Colonization) is actually pretty good.
A similar example is Japan. Almost all the food that Westerners love from Japan like ramen, teriyaki, okomomiyaki, etc. are modern incarnations. Traditional Japanese food is a bowl of white rice, a few pickles, a bowl of miso soup, and a little fish if you are lucky.
Anyway, from my experience around the world, I would say that the worst food experiences I have had were in Myanmar and the Philippines.
I’m Irish, I do plenty of family get-togethers centered around a big Irish table of food, I love it, I love the feeling of sentiment and history. The food is always just a wad of boiled ingredients. We eat it lovingly, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But it’s not like there’s anything *right* with it.
My grandparents emigrated to the US from Ireland in the 1940s, and holy hell the food they made was godawful. Everything was boiled and gray, there were no spices or sauces, and the only sides were root vegetables.
Maybe my experience was unique – please let me know if it is. It’s entirely possible my grandmother was just a terrible cook as an individual, apart from her heritage.
Given its harsh climate necessitating a largely nomadic and pastoral lifestyle, just not a lot of crops that could historically be incorporated into traditional meals. So everything is either straight up dairy or meat, with little spices of any kind to add any flavor.
“Mongolian is definitely the worst cuisine I have ever had. It’s just fermented horse milk and boiled meat (like mutton and marmots). Vegetables don’t exist and they literally don’t season anything because they don’t have any spices at all.”
“I don’t like Russian cuisine (it’s pretty mid) but Russian cuisine actually helps to improve Mongolian food at some of the trendier Mongolian restaurants (which don’t serve pure traditional Mongolian food).”
“Generally, cold places with a lack of access to spices or not much agricultural history make the worst food and Mongolia checks all those boxes. Kazakhstani food is similar, but they have more ethnic diversity so you can get some decent Georgian or Korean hyphenated foods.”
North Korea. Cold noodles and whatever the hell pine mushrooms are.
I’ve actually had soju (weak liquor) made in North Korea. It tasted like a cleaner version of the watered down vodka you can buy at gas stations where I live.
I won’t say it’s the worst but I grew up my entirely life thinking I liked Chinese food. After dating a woman from Shanghai for 3 years I can now honestly say that I do not like Chinese food. Anyone that grew up on a western diet and abruptly switched to eating authentic Chinese food on a regular basis knows exactly what I’m saying.
Kenya. Poor refrigeration meant that meat was often cooked until extremely chewy. I lost so much weight in the six months I lived there.
Worst I experienced as a national cuisine – Kazakh. There are good restaurants there, but they are more Uzbek, Uighur or Dungan.
I am not a fan of boiled meat, especially if it is horse; fermented horse milk, or dried fermented milk. There are a few dishes that are ok, but the lack of strong spices or seasoning make this something I don’t enjoy much.
That said, I always eat it when we go to family events with my wife (from KZ!) – I respect the culture, but it is not something I would ever actively choose to eat!
Not a country, but speaking as a snobby east coast native, the U.S. state of Minnesota has the overall worst food I’ve personally experienced. It’s all like weird bland casserole “hotdish”; “salads” made with stuff like jello, marshmallows, canned pie filling, and Cool Whip; and Swedish cultural holdovers like lutefisk (dried whitefish brined in lye). Also, people just really aren’t into veggies there!
Even at nicer restaurants, I’ve never had a dish where I was like: “Wow, this was amazing! I’ll have to come back to this place.” Restaurant food ranged from “pretty good” to “tolerable.”
Oddly, though, the food in neighboring Wisconsin was great!
Still, after reading this thread I think I would rather dine in Minnesota vs. Iceland or Mongolia.
ETA: I just remembered…if you’re vegetarian, in parts of Minnesota, you really have to double-check to make sure that baked goods aren’t made with lard! I once got sick after eating a doughnut I later found out was fried in lard. One bakery I encountered even used lard to make their cake frosting.
I don’t know about the rest of Canada, but Quebec’s everyday cuisine was pretty much boiled meat and potatoes and shepherd’s pie until the 1970’s, when the province underwent a foodie revolution fueled in part by immigration and in part by the increasing sophistication of cooking shows.
New Zealand is pretty sh**t. Everything is borrowed, and the native cuisine is just meat and vegetables cooked in the ground. We don’t seem to have a defined dish or taste.
I had some truly terrible food in Ukraine, particularly in the Chernobyl exclusion zone workers cafeteria, which we were kindly allowed to use when touring. The best food I had there was in Kyiv in an Indian restaurant!
One of the most disgusting dishes I’ve ever had was from Nicaragua, called “Indio Viejo” which literally translates to “Old Indian”.
It’s a stew made out of fermented corn and shredded beef. I’ve had some nasty s**t before, but this tasted like carcass.
Just about everywhere I’ve been in Sub Saharan Africa had some offerings that were pretty unappetizing to me. A lot of pasty starches and stews, some of them rather funky. Perhaps acquired tastes I didn’t spend enough time acquiring
I looked at booking a week in Kyrgyzstan a couple of years ago and the consensus was that the food is pretty terrible. I still haven’t been but by the sounds of it they could be in with a shout.
Out of the countries I’ve visited, Tunisia was the worst.
It’s probably prudent to answer this question if you’ve actually tried the cuisine, which I suspect a lot of people haven’t, looking at the answers
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