Food provides enjoyment and nourishment while also bringing people together through sharing. As globalisation progresses, new foods and cuisines are being introduced to us. A cuisine evolves in response to the availability of raw food materials in the region. It varies by region but is grouped together under a broader geographical location.
For example, continental cuisine includes dishes from France, Italy, and Germany. Food items from the same cuisine are similar but may taste different because even though they originate from nearby places, the ingredients, the cooking style, and the local factors all have a role to play in the making of that particular dish.
Every food item has a history and an influence on the region and its culture. And continental foods are no different. Keep reading the blog to know more about the cuisine and its delicacies.
What is continental food, and what food items come under this category?
Continental cuisine is prepared on the European continent. It usually combines French and Mediterranean food. The cuisines of European nations, including Spain, France, Italy, and others, are included in this category of “continental foods.”
The main ingredients in this cuisine predominantly include meat like beef, poultry, fish and olive oil, wine, garlic, and a variety of other herbs and spices that are used to season and flavour the food. Continental cuisine is prepared via baking, frying, boiling, and roasting techniques. The main foods consumed are pastries, pies, stews, rolls, and baked goods.
Due to the inclusion of meat and eggs, continental cuisine is high in protein. Stewing, grilling, and roasting are used to prepare foods in this cuisine, which automatically translates to reduced calorie content. Fish with a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids is one of the staples of continental cuisine, making it a quite healthy option.
Now, coming to the most awaited part, what foods come under this category of continental cuisine exactly? Here are some of the most common and much-loved continental food orders of all time.
- Crispy Calamari Rings: This quick easy-to-make snack is a staple in continental cuisine. Squid rings are deep-fried in tempura batter. It pairs well with Thai chilli sauce and parsley.
- Lamb Patties: It is made with flavorful ingredients like minced lamb, fried onions, coarsely chopped parsley, horseradish sauce, and vegetable oil. It is served hot with a mayo dip and a crispy salad.
- Mac n Cheese: Did you know that the classic Mac n Cheese is a continental dish? This yummy and creamy delight can be made in just a few minutes with basic and minimal ingredients.
- Grilled Chicken Breasts with Chillies and Lemongrass: Grilled chicken is stir-fried with lemongrass and chiles. It is topped with some red wine sauce to make it absolutely delicious.
- Mashed/Buttered Potatoes: Potatoes are mashed and cooked with milk, butter, and nutmeg. Served with homemade whole-grain mustard for added flavour and health benefits, this is a classic Thanksgiving dish!
Difference between Continental and Oriental food
In many instances, people confuse continental and oriental cuisine and think of them as the same. News flash: they’re not. Continental and oriental cuisine are miles apart from each other, literally.
Continental food is prepared in the continent of Europe and includes French and Mediterranean food. Other regions include Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Greece. Olive oil, wine, garlic, and a variety of herbs and spices are basic components of this cuisine.
On the other hand, Oriental cuisine includes food items made in Southeast Asian countries like Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The main ingredients include noodles, rice, fish, poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, pickled foods and sauces like fermented foods like kimchi are used.
As it is obvious, the main difference between the two cuisines lies in the geographical region in which they are prepared.
Another distinction between continental and oriental cuisine is the use of fewer vegetables in continental cuisine. Even though both cuisines use baby corn, sun-dried tomatoes, and lotus roots in their dishes today, these ingredients were never used in Continental cuisine before. But as recipes evolved and new dishes were created, chefs began to add their own style and preferences to these dishes while keeping the base unchanged.
Continental cuisine’s primary cooking techniques are frying, roasting, and baking, whereas oriental cuisine uses stir-frying, boiling, and quick frying.
Both cuisines also differ in a lot of other factors like the use of spices, cooking techniques, preparation method and time, ingredients and sauces used, and protein and choices of meat used.
Continental food in Chennai
Chennai is one of the most happening metros in the country that caters to the needs of almost everyone from different parts of the world. From entertainment hubs to global-cuisine restaurants, the city has something for everyone. And when it comes to food, there are a ton of local eateries, cafes, and high-end restaurants that serve world cuisines in all price ranges.
And with many cuisines, including continental foods, gaining popularity around the world, no wonder Chennai has some of the best continental restaurants in town! From breakfast buffets to dessert stops, the city has got you covered.
But if you’re new to this continental cuisine and want to get introduced to these wonderfully cooked and flavoured foods of Europe, check out these 15 most delicious continental foods you can find in Chennai!
Indulge in the true taste of continental foods at Jonah’s Bistro!
Jonahs Bistro is one of the most popular Continental restaurants in Chennai, thanks to its vibrant ambience and ideal seating arrangement. You’ll love our pizzas, pasta plates, and other continental meals. The menu also offers Italian, Japanese, Indian and American cuisines. Right from starters to main course and special drinks, everything is a treat to both your eyes and your tummy!
So, that was all about continental foods! You would’ve probably eaten a few of these foods already but didn’t know they were continental cuisine. Or if you haven’t tried any of these, this is your sign to explore the taste of various European countries. With mild flavours paired with hints of herbs and spices, they are perfect for a mid-day brunch!
And, of course, don’t forget to stop by the nearest Jonah’s Bistro to taste some of the best and most authentic continental foods in Chennai.
1. Is noodles continental food?
No, noodles don’t come under continental food as they don’t belong to European cuisine. Continental food refers to the cuisine that originates in European countries. Noodles are believed to be from Asia.
2. What foods come under a continental breakfast?
A continental breakfast is a quick meal that often consists of toast, coffee, fruits, pastries and other baked products. It is typically served buffet-style and is based on European breakfast.
3. What is a British breakfast?
Fried eggs, sausages, back bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread, and a slice of white or black pudding are all part of the full English breakfast. It comes with buttered hot bread and tea or coffee.
4. Are continental foods healthy?
Yes, continental foods are high in protein and low in calories. But at the same time, they are also heavy on sugary carbs like muffins and pastries. They aren’t really considered “healthy” to eat regularly, especially if you’re not a native of the cuisine.
5. What are some of the most popular cuisines in the world?
Some of the most common cuisines in the world are: