Mapped: The colour palettes of each country’s favourite foods


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Research has shown that colour is the most effective sensory cue when it comes to imagining the flavour of food, inspiring to uncover the colour palette of each country’s typical lunchtime meal.

Romania’s colour palette includes greens, browns and red, due to their popular dish of sarmale. The delicious green cabbage stuffed with spiced meat and rice is sure to satisfy cravings. Don’t forget the tomato sauce on top for a pop of flavour in the dish and red in the palette!

Over in the United Kingdom, kebabs and fish and chips pave the way for colours such as red, green and white. Kebabs are often accompanied by salads packed full of tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce, as well as seasoned meat. Fish and chips is England’s most iconic meal and a seaside staple, especially when paired with mushy peas. 

Spain’s colour palette consists of oranges and browns, thanks to their popular lunchtime dishes cocido and escalivada. Cocido is a chickpea-based stew made with a variety of meats like chicken, chorizo and pork belly, whereas escalivada is one for the vegetarians, consisting of roasted vegetables and garlic.

With dishes of baguettes and tartiflette, France’s colour palette consists of neutral browns and beiges. While baguettes can house a range of ingredients and hence colours, tartiflette is an iconic French Alps dish made with potatoes, cheese, lardons and onions, paving the way for the neutral colours. 

Italy’s most mentioned dishes are carbonara and risotto, creating a colour palette of greens, yellows and oranges. Carbonara, a pasta made with egg, cheese and bacon is an ideal lunch choice and best accompanied by some garlic bread.

Colour palettes around the world 

One of the United States’ iconic dishes, stuffed pizza from Chicago, lends itself to the golden-brown colour palette of the country. Uramaki, the sushi roll with rice coated on the outside prevalent in Los Angeles, also contributes to the green hues. 

In Indonesia, Bakso is the most popular lunchtime meal. Contributing to Indonesia’s heavily green and brown toned palette, this meal is a surefire way to warm your stomach due to the herbs, spices, vegetables and poultry included.

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