Take a Trip Around the World Through 13 Tasty Appetizers

closeup of fried plantain slices on a square white plate
Photo: Melissa Goff

Take a trip around the world with popular appetizers from different countries. Add a few new dishes to your repertoire this year! Appetizers are a great way to sample food from around the world. Pick three or four and make a meal of it. From samosas to coxinha, spanakopita to bruschetta, here are some of our favorite appetizers from around the world.

01 of 14

Greece: Spanakopita triangles

Spanakopita II

Spanakopita — phyllo dough stuffed with spinach, onions and feta — make a perfect Greek entrée, but turn them into triangles for an appetizer that will be gone in minutes. The filling comes together pretty simply but phyllo dough can be fickle (especially when folding it into triangles) so take your time.

02 of 14

Brazil: Coxinha

Coxinhas (Brazilian Chicken Croquettes)

These chicken croquettes are a crowd pleaser for both adults and kids. The deep-fried dough is stuffed with shredded chicken, and in this version olives, onions, and parsley. The shape is made to resemble a chicken leg.

03 of 14

Puerto Rico: Tostones

closeup of fried plantain slices on a square white plate
Melissa Goff

Plantains are a big part of Puerto Rican cooking and this simple appetizer is just slicing and frying them. They are great as an appetizer or even a side dish and take less than 30 minutes to make.

04 of 14

Spain: Gambas al ajilo

Spanish Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
Chef John

In Spain small plates, or tapas, are super popular. This dish — gamabas al ajilo — is a garlic shrimp dish made with lots of garlic, hot smoked paprika, and sherry. Chef John recommends having all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go as this dish comes together quickly.

05 of 14

China: Pot-Stickers

Spicy Pork Pot Stickers with Ginger Dipping Sauce
Photo by Meredith.

Dumplings are fun to eat and prolific across menus in China. This recipe requires overnight prep time so make sure you leave enough time to chill the filling. Once the filling is ready, the dish comes together quickly with a frying and boiling method. Make a dipping sauce of chili oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar.

06 of 14

Philippines: Lumpia

lumpia with dipping sauce
Kim's Cooking Now

Similar to an egg roll, lumpia are thin wrappers filled with a flavorful filling, usually pork and vegetables, and then deep fried. Serve immediately after draining on paper towels.

07 of 14

Italy: Bruschetta

Double Tomato Bruschetta
House of Aqua

Bruschetta is a super simple appetizer to whip up, but it's always a crowd pleaser. Using good ingredients —fresh basil, a high quality balsamic — will really amplify the flavors. This recipe calls for both sun-dried and Roma tomatoes.

08 of 14

Mexico: Guacamole

Easy Guacamole
Chef Mo

Guacamole has become such a popular appetizer in America but it originated in Mexico. It's easy to customize as desired. Amp up your spice level or add in some mango for a sweet and spicy avocado dip.

09 of 14

Peru: Ceviche

Avocado Shrimp Ceviche-Estillo Sarita

Like guacamole, there are many ways to prepare ceviche — a flavorful raw fish dish, "cooked" in citrus that is popular in Latin American countries. This one is made with shrimp and amped up with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.

10 of 14

India: Samosas

Beef Samosas

Indian food can be full of new and interesting spices and samosas are the perfect introduction. This version is stuffed with beef, potatoes, and peas but there are many vegetarian versions as well.

11 of 14

Vietnam: Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls on green plate

Different than lumpia or egg rolls, Vietnamese spring rolls are wrapped in rice paper and aren't fried, making them refreshing and healthy. Stuff them with shrimp, a ton of fresh herbs. This recipe also includes two dipping sauces.

12 of 14

Israel: Cheese Bourekas

Cheese Bourekas
Photo by sugarplum.

Often served for breakfast, these bourekas also make a great appetizer and introduction to Israeli food beyond just falafel and hummus. These puff pastries are stuffed with cheese and baked for 30 minutes until golden.

13 of 14

China: Prawn Toast

Chinese Prawn Toast
Chinese Prawn Toast. lutzflcat

"These toasts are a popular and savory Chinese appetizer that's so very quick and easy to make," says lutzflcat. "They're perfect for just about any occasion." You'll spread a flavorful prawn mousse over crustless slices of sandwich bread and then fry the toasts to golden brown.

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