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 Paraguayan Food
Unlike other countries in Latin America, cassava is the most commonly consumed starch in Paraguay, so it is unique. Still, the five countries with the most similar food to Paraguay are located in South America. With the exception of Brazil, these countries were all once colonized by Spain before becoming independent. In addition, all of these countries have a tropical climate.
- Brazil is located to the north of Paraguay. The Brazilian churrasco and Paraguayan asado both feature grilled meats, especially beef. The meats are often seasoned with salt and sometimes served with flavorful sauces. Furthermore, Brazil is another country in South America that commonly eats cassava, especially in dishes like Farofa and Escondidinho.
- Colombia does not border Paraguay, but they have some culinary similarities. Both countries love to eat empanadas, savory pastries typically filled with ingredients like ground meat, potatoes, and spices. However, rice and potatoes are more commonly consumed starches in Colombia.
- Mexico is in North America, but the two countries were both once Spanish colonies. Corn is the most common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, since it originated there. However, Paraguayans eat it commonly as well. Although chipa is usually made with cassava it can also be made with corn. In addition, their cuisines include many stews and soups.
- Venezuela‘s cuisine is like Colombia’s. In many ways, arepas resemble Paraguayan chipa in being dough-based bread that are commonly flavored by cheese. However, Venezuela’s diet has more tropical fruits like bananas and pineapples.
- Bolivia is another landlocked country in South America that has many indigenous influences. In both countries cassava is enjoyed in various forms. They also tend to eat a lot of beef. However, potatoes are more commonly eaten in Bolivia.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Paraguayan Food
All five of the countries with the least similar food are located on tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. In contrast to landlocked Paraguay, these countries consume and lot of seafood. Furthermore, coconuts are a much bigger part of their diet.
- Kiribati is an archipelago in the Pacific. The country’s diet is centered around seafood, coconuts, and breadfruit. Corn and beef are not commonly eaten there, so its ingredients differ significantly from Paraguayan food.
- Vanuatu is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Unlike in Paraguay, taro and rice are rice are the two most common ingredients in Vanuatu’s food. Like other countries on this list, saltwater fish and coconuts are also commonly eaten there.
- Solomon Islands is another Melanesian archipelago. Most of its people live near the coast, so saltwater fish is the most commonly eaten meat in the country’s cuisine. Sweet potatoes, yams, and rice are three of the nation’s most popular staples.
- Micronesia is another group of small islands in the Pacific. The country’s isolation has limited its exposure to foreign influences. Coconuts are an important part of their cuisine. In addition, rice is the most commonly eaten grain in the country.
- Papua New Guinea is another Melanesian country on this list. Its cuisine often revolves around root vegetables like yams and taro. The culinary practices in Papua New Guinea vary widely across its numerous tribes, each with its own traditional cooking.
Paraguay’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Beef, Egg
Fruit: Orange, Watermelon
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Cassava, Corn
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.