It doesn’t take a lot to get totally pumped about the Summer Olympics, especially if you’re cheering on Team U.S.A. To date, the U.S. has cumulatively won more medals than any other country in the games, earning a whopping 2,406 pieces of hardware since the first ceremony in 1896.
And there’s so much to get excited about this year: rockstar world champ Simone Biles, who’s set to sweep up the gold for women’s gymnastics, another round of talented divers making ridiculous faces, and of course, the always-eventful Opening Ceremony.
Will Brazil top the United Kingdom’s incredible 2012 spectacle, which finished with the Queen of England jumping out of a helicopter with James Bond to light the Olympic torch? There’s no telling what will happen, especially with the mess that Rio is in just a few weeks before athletes and spectators begin pouring into the city. Regardless of what happens, one thing is certain—the Opening Ceremony is a great excuse to throw a party.
Invite over all your friends to throw a festive celebration filled with foods from around the world, with a side of all-American spirit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sports fan or not—there’s just something so inspiring about cheering on the home team! Here are nine international dishes that’ll get you excited for the games.
Mapo tofu is a classic Sichuan dish, in which tofu slices are baked with a little sesame oil. Serve ’em with a sweet and savory sesame-ginger dipping sauce for a crunchy, surprisingly addictive appetizer your guests won't soon forget.
That satisfying sizzle of meat on the grill—it’s music to Americans’ ears. These Paleo-friendly sliders are basted in golden butter for extra flavor. Top them off with mayo, ketchup, and bleu cheese for an extra-patriotic red, white, and blue touch.
Since the world learned of Russia’s state-run doping program, which provided Olympic athletes with illegal drugs to improve their performance, the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) banned the Russian track team from the games. There’s even talk of excluding all of the country’s athletes from the games, but as of this publish date, it’s still unclear.
Whether they make it in under the wire or not, we still recommend cooking up this bulgur wheat fruit porridge. It’s a healthy take on a classic Russian breakfast cereal called kasha, but our version adds sweet fruit to make a dish that’s perfect for midsummer suppers.
Germanic cuisine isn’t exactly famous for its veggie-friendly dishes—it’s a lot of meat, bread, potatoes, and beer. Thankfully, we have just the recipe! Perfect for a crowd, bacon-braised short ribs are best served directly out of the slow cooker with a side of sauerkraut.
At its very best, British food is battered and fried. Chip shops—grab-and-go restaurants that sell steaming bags of french fries and fish sticks—are as common in the U.K. as burger joints are in the U.S. Chances are you don’t have an industrial-sized fryer at home, so try this slightly easier recipe for fish sticks instead. They’re baked instead of fried, but have the same crunchy, buttery flavor. And you can’t forget the fries!
Watching the most athletic people in the world parade across the TV screen might inspire you to make at least slightly healthier choices. May we suggest this gluten-free pizza topped with so many veggies, it’s basically a salad!
Guests will expect the typical cheese party plate—considering France is famous for stinkers like Roquefort, Pont-l'Evêque, Camembert, and Raclette. Don’t so obvious! Instead, surprise and delight partygoers with a light, French-inspired dessert that lets the flavor of summer berries really shine—and no one will miss the stinky cheese.
We can’t forget the country where it’s all going down, where acai bowls have reigned supreme for years. Whip up this smoothie and divide among small Dixie cups or shot glasses so everyone gets a little taste.
You’ve got this around-the-world-thing on lock. And if the ceremony ends up being a total bust, you can still pull up “Cool Runnings” on Netflix and enjoy the amazing spread. Let the games (and the feast) begin!
Photo credit: Alicia Cho