Wego’s top 7 national delicacies and their surprising origins

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  • Date: 07-10-2018

GCC, 07 October 2018: Every country boasts culinary dishes and flavours that are strongly associated with its people and culture. Just names of iconic seasoning and dishes such as Cajun, curry, Pho, and tacos can lead us to conjure images of their supposed origins. But how many do we know the real origin stories of? Time to start travelling from city to city, on a gastronomic quest, as Wego maps out local delicacies to their often-surprising land of origin:

Delectably Scottish - Chicken Tikka Masala: While Chicken Tikka Masala intuitively appears to be from the Indian subcontinent, Glasgow has been laying claim to the dish for a while now. There has even been talk of giving Glasgow the EU Protected Designation of Origin status for its role in the creation of Britain’s favourite curry. Add more spice to your journey, as round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai to Edinburgh start at AED 2564, per person, at

Belgian Wonder - French Fries: Contrary to what the name of this fried indulgence suggests, French fries may not even be French. It is said to have originated in Belgium and today is part of the nation’s pop-culture – from art to music and advertising. Apart from the fries, visit Brussels, Belgium to indulge in some of the world’s finest waffles. Round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai start at AED 4947, per person, at

Mexican Magic - Caesar Salad: Here is a surprise - the Caesar Salad has little or nothing to do with the Roman emperor and namesake ‘Julius Caesar’. According to contemporary gastronomic lore, the salad was originally concocted in Mexico by an Italian immigrant - Caesar Cardini. Visit Mexico City to sample this delicious but healthy dish. Round-trip (multi-stop) flights from Dubai start at AED 5975, per person, at

American Special - Spaghetti and Meatballs: While meatballs are decidedly Italian, the meatball and spaghetti combination was invented in the US. In fact, the US even celebrates National Meatball Day, every 9th of March! Visit Chicago to try the city’s version of this pasta-based comfort food, with round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai starting at AED 4870, per person, at

Simply South East Asian - Sushi: For years, a version of the sushi has been a staple across South East Asia - Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Its earliest form is a dish that is today known as ‘narezushi’. Visit Hanoi, Vietnam for a taste, with round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai starting at AED 2719, per person, at

Greek Gastronomy - Cheesecake: It may be hard to believe, but the cheesecake did not originate in New York City. It was said to have been created by the Greeks and served-up to athletes during the first Olympic Games in in 776 B.C. A trip to Athens must also include a taste of their Souvlaki (grilled meat and vegetables). Round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai start at AED 2502, per person, at

Austrian Baked Goodness - Croissant: Here is yet another seemingly French delicacy, which is said to have its roots in Austria. Versions of this crescent-shaped breads have been prepared in Austria since the Renaissance period. Round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai to Vienna start at AED 2613, per person, at, will bring you closer to the authentic flaky breakfast pastry.

Arizonian Marvel – Chimichanga: Everyone, including comic book hero Deadpool loves these deep-fried burritos that are considered to be part of the Mexican cuisine. But as it happens, the dish actually hails from Southwestern U.S, and is also extremely fun to say out loud. Though popularly referred to as ‘Tex-Mex’, the roll has its roots in Tucson, Arizona. Fly to Tucson for a taste of this tortilla-based dish, with round-trip (multi-stop) flights from Dubai starting at AED 4533, per person, at

Iranian Sugar-Rush - Jalebi: "What? That’s unbelievable!", you say. "The sweet swirls of Jalebi are not from India?” Yet, it’s true. Jalebis or ‘zalibiya’(as it’s called in Persian) was originally brought to India by Iranians during an invasion. Don’t wait anymore to dig into this sinful confection at some of the authentic Iranian bazaars. Round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai to Tehran start at AED 1344, per person, at

More Chinese than Thai - Pad Thai: This dish of chewy, stir-fried rice noodles with vegetables, sprouts and egg is actually Chinese! The Thai government popularised this ‘Pad Thai’ recipe in 1930s as a means to improve the nutrition of its people, during an economic slump. Today, even though it’s the national dish of Thailand, even the Thai tend to refer to it as a Chinese dish! Ask for ‘Char kway teow’ when you visit China to try the original recipe. Round-trip (direct) flight from Dubai to Beijing start at AED 2525, per person, at

Innately Indian - Koshary: When you hear 'Koshary', you automatically think 'Egypt'. Though it's a staple Egyptian street-food, many believe that Koshary is derived from “khichri”, which refers to an Indian one-pot-meal of lentils and rice. Don’t wait anymore to dig into this comfort food, which dates back to the time of British Colonization of India, at some of the authentic restaurants in Delhi. Round-trip (direct) flights from Dubai to Delhi start at AED 944, per person, at

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