The top 10 foodie nations to inspire MasterChef dishes

As the ultimate TV cooking competition returns, we map out where in the world to try some of the delicious dishes seen on screen

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Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace return tonight to BBC1 with another army of amateur chefs. This time the hopefuls have to cook for three previous winners, and will no doubt brings us a variety of dishes inspired by nations around the globe. It’s true that food and travel go together like Paul Hollywood and iced fingers, so if you’re feeling inspired by the show read on for our favourite ten places around the globe to try delicious MasterChef creations that hail from exotic lands…

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10. Lebanon

Dollops of hummus, babaganosh and moutabel with lashings of chunky bread and tabouleh, plus falafel and grilled halloumi is a worthy plate for most vegetarians. Infused with garlic, lemon and dozens of textures, Lebanese food is king of the Middle Eastern palate. Meat eaters will not be disappointed either, as grilled mince lamb, marinated chicken and beef shawarma is often on the menu and paired with a tangy, crispy fattoush salad. Find them all in the happening cultural capital of Beirut, or anywhere else in the region.

MasterChef dish: In series seven of the show, a contestant creates date parcels stuffed with frangipane and pomegranate, typical flavours from the Middle East.


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9. Vietnam

Super trendy in the UK capital right now, Southeast Asian cafes have popped up in almost every neighbourhood. The Vietnamese are famous in the food world for pho, a flavoursome noodle broth with either beef or chicken, and lime, chilli, beansprouts, coriander and basil on the side. Other dishes include bún chả, with Vermicelli, grilled pork sausage patties, a basket of herbs, bean sprouts and pickled veggies, or there’s gỏi cuốn, otherwise known as salad rolls, wrapped in a translucent rice paper and stuffed with veg and sometimes prawn. The best place to try them? The street food cafés in Hanoi.

MasterChef dish: In series nine, John Torode prepares a tricky glass noodle salad with crab and chicken.


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8. Mexico

Fresh guacamole, tangy salsa, crunchy tacos and hearty enchiladas are just some of the delights of Mexican cuisine. Colourfully presented, this country’s dishes are chock full of super foods, and antioxidants like tomato, lime and chilli, so you’ve an honest excuse to chow down the delights of the nation without feeling too guilty. Then there’s the firewater – tequila. Mexico’s most famous export is made from local blue agave and the ultimate party tipple.

Seen in MasterChef: Fajitas and guacamole were prepared during the street food episode of Celebrity MasterChef in 2014.


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7. India

Britain’s national dish – the curry. We can’t get enough of India’s addictive combinations of spices and herbs, deep breads and creamy masala. Find rice-based dishes in the south of the country and roti in the colourful north. Extras to try include dhal, local vegetables like okra and chutneys.

MasterChef dish:  In the semi-finals of series nine, a contestant rustles up a chicken makhani (otherwise known as butter chicken), while in 2012 MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo cooks a mutton curry.


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6. Spain

Saffron, cumin and honeyed sweets combine in Barcelona, where Catalan cuisine is dominant. Whether its tapas-style in a bar, paired with wines from the region or paella and flamenco dancing, one thing is for sure – it will be a leisurely late dinner.

MasterChef dish: In MasterChef: The Professionals (series 4) a contestant flavours a monkfish with Spanish chorizo sausage.


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