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 Algerian Food
Algeria is a country in North Africa that has a unique blend of Mediterranean, Berber, and Arabic influences. The five nations with the most similar food are all predominately Muslim countries. They also have relatively dry climates. Furthermore, these countries are neither especially wealthy nor especially poor.
- Morocco is on Algeria’s western border. Both countries have many Berber people, but most people natively speak Arabic now. These countries have a rich tradition of tagines, slow-cooked stews bursting with aromatic flavors. Key ingredients such as lamb, chicken, couscous, and a variety of spices like cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon are common in both Algerian and Moroccan dishes. Additionally, preserved lemons and olives play a vital role in enhancing the flavors of many traditional Algerian and Moroccan recipes.
- Tunisia is another Arabic-speaking country that borders Algeria and the Mediterranean. Both countries were once colonized by France, before becoming independent. Couscous, is a staple in both countries. Harissa, a fiery chili paste, is a beloved condiment used extensively in Tunisian and Algerian cooking.
- Azerbaijan is not in North Africa, but Azeri cuisine often showcases an array of flavors, similar to Algerian food. Aromatic spices such as saffron, coriander, and sumac, enhance the taste of many dishes in both countries. Grilled meats like beef, lamb, and chicken are commonly consumed in these countries as well.
- Iran is another country that borders the Caspian Sea on this list. Slow-cooked stews, known as khoresh, are popular in Iranian cuisine, similar to Algerian tajines. Both countries are known for their generous use of spices. Furthermore, the most common fruits eaten in Iran and Algeria are watermelons and oranges.
- Libya is another country that has a delightful blend of Mediterranean and North African culinary influences. Couscous features prominently in both cuisines. They tend to use a lot of garlic, onions, and olive oil as well. Additionally, lamb and chicken, are popular sources of protein in both countries.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Algerian Food
Although Algeria is located in Africa, four of the five countries with the least similar food to Algeria are also located in Africa. However, these African countries are all mostly Christian. Furthermore, these countries get significantly more rainfall as well. Interestingly enough, with the exception of Liberia, these countries were once colonies of French speaking nations (Belgium and France), before becoming independent.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is a large country located in the middle of Africa that is mostly tropical rainforest. Cassava is the dominant staple crop in the country, unlike in Algeria, where wheat and potatoes are more prevalent. Fish is the most common source of meat in Congo, unlike in Algeria, where lamb is more popular.
- Cambodia is the only country outside of Africa on this list. Its cuisine is far different from Algeria’s, since the country’s diet is heavily based in rice and cassava, while relatively little wheat and potatoes are consumed there. Like Congo, freshwater fish make up a large part of the diet in Cambodia.
- Burundi is a landlocked country in the tropical regions of Africa on this list. Its diet is in large part based on cassava, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas. Very little potatoes or wheat are eaten in Burundi, compared to Algeria.
- Liberia is a West African country, founded in the 19th century by freed African-American slaves. Their staple ingredients are far different. While couscous is integral to Algerian cuisine, Liberian food has a lot of rice, cassava, and plantains. Additionally, Liberian dishes often feature tropical ingredients like palm oil, fresh seafood, and tropical fruits.
- Central African Republic is to the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a former French colony in the middle of Africa. The majority of the country’s diet is based on cassava and yams. Bananas and plantains are also an extremely common source of food in the country.
Algeria’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Lamb, Chicken
Fruit: Watermelon, Orange
Vegetable: Onion, Tomato
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.