What World Cup Fans Are Eating All Over the World
From pork sandwiches in Portugal to fried chicken in Korea, we dug into what global football fans will be snacking on this month.
Sports fans are known for their superstitious ways—when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, it was, naturally, only because I wore one specific shirt for every single game. There are many iterations of this kind of lunacy, and many of them involve food. So when you’re on the eve of the biggest sporting event in the world (the World Cup), which brings people of all countries, colors and creeds together in appreciation of the beautiful game—it’s a good time to think a little bit about the lenses through which others see the world.
Every World Cup, there are a couple of trends that take over: We annoyed the crap out of each other in 2010 with those vuvuzuela apps on our phones, and in 2014, we piled the blame for cachaça over-consumption on host nation Brazil. This year, we thought it would be neat to take a look at what football fans around the world would be snacking on during the next few weeks.
We used an entirely scientific method of lurking on Reddit, conducting a Facebook poll, and digging around the interwebs to bring you this list. If we missed any, please let us know via Twitter or Facebook!
In Spain, sunflower seeds are king. So if you’re cheering for La Furia Roja, maybe pick up a bag. There are numerous health benefits to them—including antioxidants (they have four times the amount of blueberries, walnuts, and peanuts!) Sunflower seeds are a Russian favorite, too, so if you’re headed to the Cup, expect to see them there.
Fans of the Portuguese national team are pretty united in their love for bifanas, a pork sandwich that’s often eaten outside of the stadium with a cold beer in hand. We may not have a recipe for the hallowed treat, but here are some of our favorite pork recipes, so you can get in the spirit.
In South Korea, double-fried Korean-style chicken is the jam. Spicy, salty, and completely addictive, this treat is just as delicious as its Western counterpart. While we don’t have a Korean-style fried chicken recipe (hey, we’re Cooking Light!) these Korean chicken lettuce wraps are a good way to go. Bonus recipe? These kimchi nachos are a definite crowd-pleaser.
In England, the traditional football meal is a pie and a cup of Bovril (a hearty beef-flavored drink). English Premier League fans can get pretty passionate over the question of pies—it seems like everyone has a favorite pie vendor—so maybe don’t pick a fight with any of the (famously heated) fans, and just make these chicken hand pies instead. We can’t really endorse Bovril and its nutrition, but we can offer you this recipe for bone broth.
For German fans, currywurst seems to be king. The salty, meaty snack is appallingly addictive, so if you can get your hands on some, do. We don’t really have a CL-approved alternative to offer you for this guy, so here are some of our most flavorful curries to enjoy.
If you’re rooting for Team Belgium on June 18th, you might want to channel their enthusiasm with fan-favorite frites mayonnaise, the salty, creamy, completely addictive snack of fries with mayonnaise. We like these oven-baked fries with this spicy tomato aioli as a healthier—but no less addictive—option.
Nigerian fans may be munching on suya, the spicy, peanutty strips of grilled beef that you buy from a mallam. The treat checks all the boxes for football food: spicy, salty, and need-more-now addictive. This is a nice basic beef kebab recipe, but find out more about suya and other Nigerian treats here.
For fans of Team Sweden, it’s all about hot dogs and beer. Hot dogs are also a popular street food snack in Denmark, so expect Team Denmark fans to be all about them, too. What sets these Scandi hot dogs apart are the creative toppings, so here are some of our favorite (healthier) ways to make a top dog.
For fans of Les Bleus (the French national team), football food is quite regional, but there’s a pretty vocal majority for the galette-saucisse, a sort of sausage sandwich that’s served at the Stade Rennais. Get our (not at all comprehensive) glossary to French cuisine here.
Argentine fans savor the choripan, another sausage sandwich (we’re sensing a theme). The thing that sets these Argentinean treats apart, however, is the addition of addictive, herb-forward chimichurri sauce. Whatever you slather it on—a sausage sandwich or grilled tofu—these chimichurri recipes will elevate any meal.
I could go on and on and on, but I have to finish my bracket. I didn’t mention the United States because we, sadly, did not get into the World Cup this year. But there are two reasons not to worry! The first is that the Women’s World Cup is next year, and our ladies are amazing. The second is that, sure, we can eat our standard stadium fare, but isn’t it nice to take the opportunity to explore the foods of other cultures, even if it’s only once every four years?