If you’re curious about foods that start with A, you’re in the right place.
When traveling, the easiest way to explore a new culture is through food.
Traditional cuisines and ingredients can help any traveler understand the history of their destination.
We gather, sing, laugh, cry and talk around food, no matter your culture.
It’s the traditions that have been passed down through history that make local ingredients and recipes so special.
Here are some dishes and ingredients from around the world that start with the letter “A.”
Abalone refers to sea snails that live in cold coastal waters.
Their appearance consists of flattened, spiral shells that protect them from predators as well as a muscular foot to help them attach to hard surfaces.
Abalone is known as the most valuable shellfish and is a seafood delicacy.
Many abalone species are at risk for extinction today due to overfishing and disease. In fact, some species are listed as endangered.
Commercial fishing for wild abalone is illegal in the US so farmed abalone farms have been on the rise.
Abalone can be eaten raw or cooked. When eaten raw, it has a crunchy texture. The flavour is buttery and salty.
One way to enjoy abalone is as an ingredient in a Chinese hot pot where you can cook it in a broth of your choice.
Who doesn’t like sweet ingredients and fruits? Achacha has Bolivian origins in the Amazon Basin.
The name achacha is known as Achachairú in Bolivia, which literally translates to “honey kiss” – isn’t that sweet?
Achacha is delicious in its natural form, giving off sweet and tangy citrus flavors.
It resembles the consistency of a rambutan or lychee, but with half the sugar content.
It can be served cold or frozen as well – a great treat in hotter climates!
Achacha is egg-shaped and can be opened by pinching it at either side – it will pop out.
Achacha is a great fruit to add to your diet – it boost your natural energy and packs so much flavor with not so much sugar.
Tuna has been a staple in diets across the globe forever.
“Ahi” is the Hawaiian name for Yellowfin Tuna, and the word “ahi” technically refers to two types of tuna: Yellowfin tuna, as mentioned, and the Bigeye tuna.
In Hawaii, these fish can be caught in the summer months, which is between May and September.
Ahi tuna has a nice, firm texture, making it great for “steak” like preparations (grilling, searing, etc.), and a mild flavor.
It can also be prepared cold and raw, which is most common in sushi or sashimi making.
Fish in general has great fatty acids that support our bodies, specifically our bones.
It’s a lean form of protein and rich in many types of vitamins, and omega-3. Whether it’s grilled, raw, hot or cold, eat more ahi tuna!
Continuing on with our list of foods that start with A is asida – a staple in the South Sudanese diet, similar to rice or mashed potatoes in other cultural diets.
It’s typically made from grains, sorghum, even certain corn meals.
When dining, you’re supposed to cut a piece off with your right hand, mold it between your hands and create a dip in the middle – the dip is used to hold stew.
Across different regions in Africa, Asida has different names including pap in South Africa; posho in Uganda; sadza in Zimbabwe, and more.
Since Asida can be regional, that means different types of grains can be used in any given location, making it unique from place to place.
Be warned: if you attempt to make your own Asida, do not use white flour.
Refined white flour has high gluten content, which will make the Asida too sticky to eat or mold.
Another addition to our list of foods that start with A is aspic – a savory, meat filled gelatin that is usually made with concentrated soup stock (or consommé).
Once the mixture cools, it resembles Jell-O, but do not mix up to the two!
Aspic has origins dating back to the 1300s with French influence.
In France, it is known as ‘chaud froid,’ literally translating to “hot cold” – a nod to the hot to cold setting process that gives Aspic its gelatin texture.
Aspic is a great tool for setting foods into mold. The contents could be meat, poultry, vegetables or eggs, and the gelatin mixed with the soup stock preserves moisture in the filling while also ensuring the contents inside the mold stay fresh.
While Aspic isn’t wildly popular in the United States, you’ll find it’s a delicacy and winter specialty in countries like Russia.
Nutritionally, the soup stock used in Aspic is chock-full of nutrients and good fatty acids.
Whatever fillings are placed in the mold will also determine the nutritional value – for example, meats and poultry would offer more protein.
In general, Aspic is also a good source of collagen, something our bodies produce naturally – but that production tends to slow down as we age.
Next up in foods that start with A is the brightly colored and chock full o flavour Ajvar.
Ajvar is a Serbian relish made with roasted red peppers. The dish has origins in the Balkans territories of the southeastern areas of Europe.
While the dish can be used as a relish for dipping or as a spread, it also can resemble a sauce.
Most commonly, you can put ajvar on top of sausages or use it as a condiment for fish, chicken, on sandwiches, or as a spread for crackers. Ajvar is a diverse dish!
In southeastern European countries like Croatia or Serbia, making ajvar is a clever way of preserving red peppers from the summer harvest throughout the winter months.
Making ajvar can be very personal from family to family – some prefer the texture to be smooth and others prefer chunks to the dish. It’s all personal preference.
Red peppers are low in calories and high in essential vitamins like Vitamin C while also providing antioxidants to our bodies.
Snack on ajvar for a healthy snack or incorporate it into your home cooking to add extra flavor and nutritional value.
Next up on foods that start with A is andouille.
Andouille is said to have originated in France or Germany, two countries who have expansive techniques and histories for creating their own rich, spiced sausages.
When envisioning andouille, you probably see Cajun cooking or Creole cuisine – and rightfully so!
Andouille is frequently utilized in the southern United States, the state of Louisiana in particular.
Creole cooking draws from the flavors and techniques of the French, Caribbean, West African, Spanish and more vibrant cultures.
In France, andouille is made from the entire digestive tract of pigs.
If you’re familiar with chitterlings, imagine that mixed with herb, spices and vegetables like onions – the sausage is then poached and left to cool, then sliced thinly for presentation on charcuterie boards.
In the United States, andouille is made from pork shoulder, or “pork butt, and instead of poaching, it goes through multiple rounds of smoking and packs so much flavor in stews, jambalayas and more.
Adzuki Beans & Anko
In this section, we discuss two foods that start with A: anko and adzuki beans.
Anko is a Japanese sweet, red bean paste, the most traditional filling in Japanese sweets and desserts.
You can make anko to be more chunky (tsuban in Japanese) or creamy (koshian in Japanese) – it just depends on the type of dessert you’re making and how you plan to use the paste.
Is it a filling? Is it spread on top? All things to consider when using anko. But yes, they can be either.
Anko is made from azuki beans (or red beans) that have been boiled and mashed together with sugar.
The reason anko is a sweet standard is because in the Edo era in Japan, sugar production was speeding up and heightening in popularity, making sweet anko the standard.
Adzuki beans can help with digestion and even weight loss. They can also aid in lowering the risk of diabetes and maintaining a healthy heart.
Who doesn’t love Italian food? Arancini is a Sicilian snack or antipasto, and delicacy in Italy and worldwide.
These fried rice balls can be stuffed with peas, sauce, cheese, pistachios, mushrooms, and more. It’s up to the cook!
Supposedly, arancini originated in Sicily while the area was still under Arab rule.
This antipasto delicacy is made for the Festival of San Lucia held on December 13.
The large cities of Sicily (Palermo, Siracusa, Tripani) fill with street food vendors serving so many variations of arancini fresh to passersby.
They can also be served as a sweet treat, covered in sugar and cacao.
Arancini is a decadent food you need to try the next time you’re cooking up a homemade Italian meal.
Are arepas just a variation of pancakes? Not quite.
These foods that start with a are cornmeal cakes that originated hundreds of years ago in Latin America, specifically in Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama.
They can be grilled, fried or baked in a pan called a budare, and differs in style from country to country.
Colombian-style arepas are usually grilled and a bit thinner because they can easily be stuffed with cheeses or other fillings.
Venezuelan-style arepas are thicker, fluffier and have a bread consistency.
For a refreshing, incredibly flavorful soup, there is the Avgolemono soup.
This Greece-originated soup is a rich, creamy based soup with chicken and rice in a avgolemono sauce (lemon and eggs).
This special sauce isn’t just used in soup – it’s used to dress chicken, salads, vegetables, you name it.
Chicken soup is a universal comfort food in households all around the world, this just so happens to be the Greek version.
When you’re feeling sick or need something to warm you up, this soup can act as a healer and a comforter.