13 Lunch Dishes from Around the World

Kimbap, empanadas, and more

You might be stuck at your desk looking at the same lunch you've eaten the past three days, dreaming about other ways to fulfill your noontime cravings. Sometimes that sandwich or salad just doesn't cut it. If you want to shake up your routine, just take a look at the different ways the world eats lunch. Whether it's a fresh soba salad from Japan, or a beef stew from Kenya, pack a lunch that will make your coworkers jealous. Or, if you're on a sandwich kick, mix it up with a Danish smorrebrod. Here are our favorite ways to make your lunch deliciously different.

Chicken and Green Mango Salad

Chicken and Green Mango Salad
Chicken and Green Mango SaladChristopher Wise

This Cambodian chicken salad is bolstered by crisp green mango, roasted peanuts, and fresh herbs with a signature Southeast Asian sweet–sour–savory dressing. Get the recipe for Chicken and Green Mango Salad »

Kimbap

Beef Kimbap
KimbapFarideh Sadeghin

Korean kimbap is similar to Japanese sushi, but typically uses cooked or pickled ingredients. In this version, bulgogi (marinated beef) is paired with vegetables and egg. Get the recipe for Kimbap »

Beef Short Ribs Empanadas

Beef Short Ribs Empanadas
Beef Short Ribs EmpanadasJustin Walker

In his version of Chilean empanadas, chef Rodolfo Guzmán of Boragó replaces lean ground chuck with rich beef short ribs, which make each bite tender. Get the recipe for Beef Short Ribs Empanadas »

Puy Lentil Salad (Sallad på Puylinser)

Puy Lentil Salad (Sallad på Puylinser)
Puy Lentil Salad (Sallad på Puylinser)Felix Odell

Puy lentils from France's Haute-Loire region are celebrated for their robust, earthy flavor, which shines in this lively salad from Pelle Lundberg, a home cook in Vickleby, Sweden. The lentils, tossed with cherry tomatoes sautéed in butter and olive oil, flavored with rosemary and thyme, and then dressed in balsamic, make a festive vegetarian main course or a robust side dish for a Swedish midsummer lunch. Get the recipe for Puy Lentil Salad (Sallad på Puylinser) »

Sambal Goreng Tempe (Fried Tempeh in Tomato Sambal)

Fried Tempeh in Tomato Sambal
Fried Tempeh in Tomato SambalJames Oseland

In this Balinese lunch dish, tempeh—fermented soybean cake—is fried until golden and then tossed in a fiery tomato-and-chile sauce. Get the recipe for Sambal Goreng Tempe (Fried Tempeh in Tomato Sambal) »

Veal and Pearl Onion B'Stilla

Bstilla
Veal and Pearl Onion B'Stilla

B'stilla, a North African meat pie, is traditionally made with poultry, but this version includes veal and caramelized pearl onions. Get the recipe for Veal and Pearl Onion B'Stilla »

Potato, Spinach, and Red Pepper Frittata

Potato, Spinach, and Red Pepper Frittata
Potato, Spinach, and Red Pepper FrittataAndré Baranowski

This basil-laced potato and vegetable frittata makes a satisfying lunch. Get the recipe for Potato, Spinach, and Red Pepper Frittata »

Japanese Sashimi and Rice (Chirashi)

Chirashi
Japanese Sashimi and Rice (Chirashi)Stacy Adimando

Making sushi at home can be a challenge fraught with angst. That's where chirashi comes in. It's a rice bowl covered in colorful slices of fish, glistening balls of orange roe, and a rainbow of other garnishes from sesame seeds to seaweed promising all the architectural potential we lust for in a well-made sushi platter—but with far less effort. This recipe comes courtesy of chef Mike Lim of Chicago's Roka Akor. Get the recipe for Japanese Sashimi and Rice (Chirashi) »

Shrimp, Avocado, and Crispy Potato Smorrebrod

Shrimp, Avocado, Crispy Potatoes, Copenhagen, Smorrebrod
Shrimp, Avocado, and Crispy Potato SmorrebrodMarcus Nilsson

Take avocado toast to a new level with this tasty Danish open-face sandwich. Get the recipe for Shrimp, Avocado, and Crispy Potato Smorrebrod »

Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette

Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette
Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso VinaigretteDylan + Jeni

This refreshing salad of soba noodles tossed with winter greens and mixed vegetables is brought together by a tart dressing of miso, ginger juice, and lemon. Get the recipe for Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette »

Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains (Sukuma Wiki with Matoke)

Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains (Sukuma Wiki with Matoke)
Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains (Sukuma Wiki with Matoke)Ingalls Photography

The Kenyan lunch known as sukuma wiki—a combination of collard greens, chile-flecked ground meat, and tomatoes served with cornmeal or mashed plantain—is such a fortifying part of the workweek that its name means "week pusher". Get the recipe for Beef Stew with Mashed Plantains (Sukuma Wiki with Matoke) »

Tortilla Española

SPANISH POTATO FRITTATA (TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA)
Tortilla EspañolaMatt Taylor-Gross

This classic Spanish dish can be served for breakfast, cut in cubes for tapas, or as a summer lunch with a bowl of gazpacho. A quick note: Add the potato mixture while it's hot enough to start cooking the eggs but not so hot as to souffle them. Get the recipe for Tortilla Española »

Falafel With Tahini

FALAFEL WITH TAHINI
Falafel With TahiniMatt Taylor-Gross

The seasoned chickpea mixture for this falafel should have a coarse texture. This will ensure a crisp shell and a moist interior. Get the recipe for Falafel With Tahini »