Happy Hannukah! Winter brings so many celebratory holidays. What better to enjoy and celebrate our diversity with friends, food and family?
America is a nation of immigrants, and since comfort foods are the foods we learned to love as children, dishes that spell comfort for some of us seem exotic to others. But many who grew up on meatloaf and macaroni ’n’ cheese have acquired a taste for more exotic fare. Whether it’s a steaming bowl of phó from our local Vietnamese café or the tamales we tasted on vacation in Mexico, we’ve welcomed these hearty, soothing dishes into our kitchens and our hearts.
And since the United States is such a big country, you’ll find many regional variations in comfort food preferences, based on local history and immigration patterns. Louisiana has its gumbo, the Southwest favors chili, while New Yorkers go crazy for a big Reuben sandwich!
Here are a few more of our favorite regional and ethnic comfort foods:
Egg foo young – This Americanized Chinese-style egg pancake is filled with bean sprouts, vegetables, chicken and pork, and topped with a lightly thickened sauce of chicken broth and soy sauce.
Curry rice – A steaming bowl of rice topped with curry sauce is a favorite comfort food in Japan that’s now catching on in the U.S.
Spaghetti and meatballs – Pasta with hearty meatballs in tomato sauce has become such an American menu mainstay that we no longer think of it as Italian.
Ramen – Everyone loves a hearty bowl of noodles, and ramen—thin noodles served in a soy or miso broth and topped with everything from raw eggs to tempura—is fast becoming an American comfort favorite.
Southern fried chicken – Juicy fried chicken in a crisp batter coating is even better with fluffy biscuits on the side. A drizzle of honey puts the whole thing over the top.
Chili verde – This spicy pork stew with tomatillos and chilies is easy to make in a slow-cooker.
Mat zo ball soup – Fluffy matzomeal dumplings are the Jewish contribution to soothing chicken soup.