What overlooked and obscure cuisines are Chowhound worthy? And what gateway dish would help culinary explorers come to love unfamiliar fare?

Some say we should start by looking in our own backyard. “Most Americans know very little about the contributions of the Shakers to their country’s cuisine,” says greygarious. “The Shakers were the first to make extensive use of herbs and spices, not to mention that they created the paper-packet seed industry, among their scores of other innovations. They invented a dough-kneading machine and a vertical rotating oven that baked dozens of cakes, pies or loaves of bread at a time. There are many Shaker cookbooks with inventive but hearty and still familiar dishes, like Spiced Grape Drink, my favorite summer alternative to lemonade.”

cbjones1943 says that Americans tend to underestimate German and Austrian foods, which are often associated with “too much beer, too much sausage, too much sweet wine of poor quality” such as Liebfraumilch. cbjones says, “[I]t appears to me that German cuisine receives a bad rap. I’ve worked briefly in Germany and have had some refined, tasty dishes (eg macerated pork w/mushroom/cream/wine sauce, trout pulled out of a stream just prior to cooking etc).”

Cambodian cuisine also flies under the radar, says Rocky74. “People complain that it isn’t as interesting as Thai or Vietnamese but the Khmers ruled that region for so long that a lot of Thai and Vietnamese food was influenced by them,” says Rocky. “What many fail to appreciate is that Cambodian meals need to be eaten as such rather than a single dish so each meal has a spicy soup, a salad, a vegetable dish, protein of some sort…”

mariacarmen suggests gaining entry to Bolivian food by trying a “fantastic” dish where a “ball of mashed potatoes is stuffed with basically the same beef stew that’s in the salteñas (diced beef, onions, olives, hard boiled egg, raisins), then the ball is rolled in egg wash and flour, then fried in butter until crispy on the outside.”

Good food comes from around the globe and in all forms, says danionavenue: “Hungarian food is good. … But I think there needs to be more Minnesotan Tater Tot Hot Dish in the world!”

Discuss: Underappreciated Cuisines & The Dishes You Would Choose To Spotlight Them

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