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What is the Most Garlicky Cuisine?

The Japanese refer to the Koreans as "garlic-eaters" and I know French cuisine relies very heavily on garlic, but are these cuisines really the most garlic-heavy? If not, which do you nominate?

And, yes, I'm looking for a place in which to build my retirement house.

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  1. South Korean garlic consumption laps the field. I suggest you build you retirement home in the south of the peninsula, beyond the range of Kim Jung Un's artillery. He seems to be feeling frisky lately.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Who knew So Ko laps the field in garlic consumption..

      Maybe you, Rodman and Kim Jung need to go clubbing and talk him down off his missile perch.

      1. re: Veggo

        Hopefully NoKor will lob a flite of ICBMs filled with garlic toward west Texas. MAD--mutually assured deliciousness.

      2. The United States. You can find it in any region and sooner or later in any food group. The denizens actually pay big bucks to down concentrated pills of it. I have found it in mashed potatoes, salmon, and even ice cream. No matter what regional or national cuisine an eating establishment may offer, rely on the cook adding garlic to make it their own.

        1. As a garlic freak, I love how you roll Khan!

          1. Well, I'm not sure about the #1 spot, but I learned today that Syrian food should go onto the list.


            Aside from that, I would vote for Korean. But there ARE differences in garlic -- this happened when I was living in Seoul, and the general consensus was that Chinese garlic had different "properties" and was therefore unmarketable in Korea:

            1. I'm surprised nobody has said Italian, that was the first thing that came to mind. I would say Middle Eastern right behind it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rockandroller1

                IMO, the spiciness (including garlic) of Italian cuisine is overrated. Now Sicily and Calabria may be exceptions, but generally speaking, Italian cuisine seems to rely heavily on tomatoes and butter/olive oil for much of its flavor.

              2. actually, other than in Provence and it's aioli, there's not a whole lot of garlic in most other French regional cuisines (my students all look at me wide-eyed when I tell them that Anglophones think French food is garlic-heavy)

                There are some Middle Eastern cuisines that are pretty potent -- I remember a baba ghanoush that could have killed an army of vampires

                1. I'm with Korea as the winner. I don't think of French food as garlicky at all. The ubiquity of garlic in Korean food is amazing. It's used in everything. Meats, vegetables, salads. Garlic goes into everything. Then there's kimchi. I have a hard time coming up with another cuisine that makes such a wide use of garlic.

                  1. How about a pan-ethnic tour?

                    Sopa de ajo (garlic soup - Spain)
                    Karnatzlach (garlic sausage - Rumania, Jewish)
                    Garlic ice cream (I think invented in Gilroy, CA)
                    Pickled garlic (Korea)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: plf515

                      I recently made a Slovakian garlic soup that was most splendid. Don't know if Slovakian cuisine is noted for its heavy use of garlic, or not.

                    2. In my experience, Korean by far, particularly for the use of chunks of raw garlic.

                      American Italian I would rate as medium, but I noticed in Italy that the use of garlic was a lot lower than in Italian food I'd had elsewhere.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                        I'm with those who feel that garlic in Italian food is crucial but rarely copious. Some of my Italian friends (and I, since they exposed me to the idea) often control its effect by using halved cloves in a cooking preparation but they remove the cloves before serving.

                        Further, I cannot think offhand of any aspect of Italian cuisine in which excess is celebrated.

                      2. Ex-wife's mother was a Eastern European Jew who came to the US via decades in Palestine/Israel (1939-1955).

                        All her meat meals were burdened with garlic.

                        I asked why?
                        It was the common practice in both Eastern Europe and the middle east to hide the off taste of poor quality or turning food with large doses of garlic.

                        Glad she's an ex-MIL

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: bagelman01

                          garlic also has some anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties....which would be a good thing if it's begun to turn the corner.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            that's why I haven't had a cold for years!

                            I don't need no stinking flu shot!

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              I don't currently, but I took a garlic capsule daily for years and years (the odorless kind, please)

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                I don't need no stinkin' garlic!
                                (apologies to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre)

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  that's pretty much what I thought when I bought a bottle of the other kind.....

                                  but it kept the skeeters and no-see-ums away.

                            2. re: sunshine842

                              Why am I reminded of a scene from, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

                          2. Yeah I'm going with Korea on this one. There's probably fewer Korean dishes without garlic than with.

                            Also they're the only people I know who are crazy enough to put raw garlic out as a condiment.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: joonjoon

                              i agree, korea without a doubt. they're also the ones who have automatic mouthwash dispensers right by the automatic soap dispenser in the bathrooms at korean bbq restaurants! would need that for the raw garlic dipped in garlicy ssamjang, topped with kimichi and garlic soy marinated kalbi all wrapped inside leaf lettuce

                            2. In my family putting garlic in a thanksgiving turkey is a normal thing.

                              1. This may just be anecdotal, but American vegetarian/vegan food tends to have a ton of garlic in every single thing.

                                1. Since this thread has been resurrected, I'm going to pipe up with Greek.

                                  Or at least in my Greek mother's eyes, there is never too much garlic. Garlic is added raw or barely sautéed to nearly every non-dessert dish. Cloves upon cloves upon cloves of garlic.

                                  1. Korean is the winner to me. It's in almost everything, and, they often eat it raw, just dipping it in a sauce.

                                    1. gotta also note that koreans are garlic crazy enough to let the stuff ferment for months in heat until its sticky oozy and dirt black. it looks like charcoal but its sweet and delicious. the first time i made it at home, it sat in low heat wrapped up in my heating mattress for weeks. try explaining that to your friends when they find out you're sleeping next to bulbs of garlic

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ajk11

                                        I can think of many possible explanations. Alas, none of them savory, so to speak.