The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to German Food
Four of the five countries with the most similar food to Germany share a border with the country. These European countries have longstanding historical connections and have influenced each other’s cuisines over time. In addition, they have relatively similar temperate climates. These countries tend to eat a lot of bread, potatoes, and meats.
- Austria and Germany are both German-speaking countries that border each other, so it is no surprise they share so many culinary traditions. Pork is easily the most popular meat in both countries, since it is used to make Bratwurst. Their meals are often served with a side of potatoes or French fries. Wiener Schnitzel, Spätzle, Rindfleisch Goulash are common dishes. Sweet treats like Sachertorte and Black Forest cake are some popular deserts.
- Czech Republic is another country that borders both Austria and Germany. Before World War II, many German-speaking communities lived in the country for centuries. Both Czech and German cuisines feature a wide range of soups. They also have a rich tradition of bread baking. Czech and German bakeries offer a variety of bread types, including rye bread, wheat bread, and specialty bread such as dark bread or sourdough bread.
- Poland and Germany both border the Baltic Sea. Over the centuries, there has been a great deal of cultural exchange between the two countries. In fact, some parts of Poland were once part of Germany. Both countries eat roughly equal portions of potatoes and wheat products. In addition, Polish and German cuisines feature pickled vegetables as popular condiments. Sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, is often served alongside meat dishes.
- Denmark is another Germanic country to the north of Germany. Both countries have a tradition of open-faced sandwiches, sausages, potatoes, and delicious pastries. In addition, these countries tend to eat a lot of cheese. However, the Danish eat significantly less pork than Germans. Furthermore, Danish cuisine features a greater variety of seafood and fish, since most of its people live in close proximity to the coast.
- United Kingdom is just across the North Sea from Germany. Both countries are known for their love of sausages, although chicken is a bigger part of the British diet. Traditional British and German dishes often rely on simple, hearty ingredients and cooking methods that emphasize comfort and satisfaction over complexity of flavor. Furthermore, the most popular fruits in both countries are apples and bananas.
The Least Similar Cuisines to German Food
Four of the five countries with the least similar food to Germany are located in Africa. The climate in these countries is also significantly warmer. This affects what type of crops are grown in these countries. Moreover, these countries are much less developed than Germany. Neither potatoes nor pork are commonly eaten in these countries.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is a country in the middle of Africa. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country, a food that most Germans have not eaten before. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is fish, whereas pork and chicken are more popular in Germany. Furthermore, in contrast to Germany, their diet has little meat in it.
- South Sudan is located to the northeast of Congo. It is another country where cassava is the staple food, however the country eats its share of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. Unlike in Germany, beef is the most commonly consumed meat in the South Sudan.
- Chad is another country that borders Sudan. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains in the country. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. Like South Sudan, beef is the most popular meat, but lamb meat is also often eaten there. One popular dish is saka-saka, a mix of spinach and cassava leaves.
- Sierra Leone is a predominately Muslim country in West Africa, so due to their religious traditions pork is not commonly eaten. Like Congo, most of the meat eaten in this country is fish, since the country is located on the Atlantic Coast. The majority of Sierra Leone’s diet is made up of rice and cassava products. One of the country’s favorite dishes is Jollof rice.
- Solomon Islands is an archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, so it is the only country outside of Africa on this list. Most of its people live near the coast, so seafood is common in the country’s cuisine. Unlike in Germany, sweet potatoes, yams, rice, taro, and coconuts are all common ingredients in the food there. In addition, its people eat a variety of tropical fruits.
Germany’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Pork, Chicken
Fruit: Apple, Banana
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Potato, Wheat
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.