One of the joys of travelling is learning about, and enjoying, a traditional midday meal wherever you are. Breaking up the day to sit and stop is important no matter where you are in the world. Often a hearty meal – especially in Europe where lunch is the biggest meal of the day – it’s a delicious experience to try these traditional lunches from around the world. 

Japan: Bento box 

Bento box, Japan
Photo by eternal_travels on Instagram

Traditionally served in a lacquered wooden box, Japan’s bento boxes are sought after by locals and travellers alike. A bento box typically includes several different dishes that create a balanced meal of vegetables, rice, and protein. Don’t miss the seasonal variations, like special cherry blossom-themed bento boxes.  

Denmark: Smørrebrød 

Smørrebrød, Denmark
Photo by neudakhyana on Instagram

With humble beginnings, Denmark has most definitely put its unique stamp on the sandwich. The Danes are famous for their smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) served on rugbrød (a seedy, sourdough rye bread). Smørrebrød ticked the boxes for 19th-century factory workers who were after a solid, budget-friendly lunch using leftover food. A slice of rugbrød is always buttered first, then traditional toppings like pickled herrings, shrimp or fish, and cheese are layered on top.  

USA: Lobster roll 

Maine lobster roll
Photo by _eliseeats on Instagram

If you ever find yourself in Maine, one of America’s East Coast states, you must try a lobster roll for lunch. With a gorgeous coastline, an abundance of seafood is easy to come by. Lobster meat is stuffed into a fluffy bread roll along with a generous slick of mayonnaise and chopped celery for added crunch.  

India: Tiffin box 

Tiffin lunch box, India
Photo by babyjewel.abz on Instagram

When in India, you may spot locals cycling with their bikes laden down with cylindrical towers. These are known as tiffin wallahs and are responsible for delivering home-cooked lunches to office workers; a tradition that has been around for over a century! These towers are comprised of stacked containers, each containing a delicious food. From the bottom up, there is a carbohydrate (rice, naan or bread), a pickle or salad, protein (usually a curry) and sometimes an extra snack.   

Argentina: Empanadas 

Photo by ladoritaparrilla on Instagram

Easy to eat, comforting and tasty – Argentinian empanadas tick all of the (lunch) boxes! These pastry parcels are lovingly filled with a mixture of protein and vegetables and baked or fried. Argentinians also love to have a sandwich di miga for lunch, reminiscent of a classic ham and cheese sandwich.  

Italy: two course affair 

Pasta in Italy
Photo by tingting_lai on Instagram

Italians certainly don’t do things by halves, and that includes dining on a two-course lunch. The primo (first) course is a choice of pasta or risotto, followed by the secondo (second) course which is a fish or meat served with vegetables or salad. Wash it all down with an espresso to give you some extra pep for the afternoon ahead! 

Feeling hungry? Experience one of these traditional lunches from around the world on a Globus or Cosmos tour.  

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