From local diners to fine-dining establishments, steak is a ubiquitous menu item. Whether eaten with a knife and fork or in a sandwich, this meat is popular in various forms across the globe.
Keep reading to learn about 12 steak dishes from around the world, from steak tartare to steak and ale pie.
Chicken-fried steak is a southern riff on the wiener schnitzel.
According to The Spruce Eats, German immigrants introduced the concept of fried steak (a riff on wiener schnitzel, or breaded, fried veal cutlets) to the southern United States in the 19th century.
Chicken-fried steak ― named for its preparation style, similar to how fried chicken is cooked ― and its cousin, country-fried steak, are variations on the theme of breading and frying meat. While the former dish is typically crispier and served with white gravy, the latter is often accompanied by brown gravy, which sometimes gets added to the steak in the final stages of the cooking process so the flavour can be fully absorbed.
Lamesa, a city in Texas Hill Country, bills itself as the birthplace of chicken-fried steak. Each year, Lamesa hosts a festival dedicated to this crispy, filling creation.
Steak-frites is a French take on the classic meat-and-potatoes combo.
Think of steak-frites, a French take on the union of meat and potatoes, as an elevated version of the classic dinner combo. Pairing beef steak with fries may not be the best option for the health-conscious, but it’s a tasty and utilitarian meal found everywhere from fine restaurants to neighbourhood bistros.
Popular in France and around the world, it’s often served with gravy or creamy béarnaise sauce.
Steak tartare has been traced to Mongolian horsemen and became popular in 20th-century Paris.
Despite a dearth of historical proof that Mongolian horsemen ate raw beef, steak tartare has nonetheless been traced to central Asia. The dish’s name stems from the Latin word “Tartarus” (hell), due to its presumed association with barbaric nomads.
It became popular in the western world when Russians introduced this dish of chopped, uncooked meat (usually beef, horse meat more rarely), raw egg, and seasoning in Germany, according to The Real French Foods. From there, it gained traction as an haute cuisine staple at high-end hotels in Paris in the early 20th century. In fact, “steak tartare” is actually an abbreviation of “à la tartare,” a French phrase referring to the sauce that accompanied the meat ― tartar sauce. However, most contemporary iterations are flavored with a mixture of Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, and ketchup.
“You can tell a lot about a restaurant and a chef by how they execute beef tartare,” Nick Fine, chef de cuisine at One Fifth in Houston, Texas, told Food & Wine. “Tartare is raw meat that’s simply seasoned: When it’s done correctly, it hits all the notes. When it’s wrong, it’s wrong.”
Steak and eggs are eaten everywhere from the US to South America.
Like steak-frites, steak and eggs bridge the gap between haute cuisine and populist comfort food.
You’ll find this protein-packed dish everywhere from the US, where it’s a fixture on diner menus across the country, to South America, where it’s called “churrasco a lo pobre” (poor man’s steak) in places like Peru and Chile.
Steak is one of the main components of an asado, Argentina’s answer to barbecue.
The meat, grilled over a charcoal fire, is traditionally topped with chimichurri sauce.
The cheesesteak is a storied Philadelphia creation.
We have Philadelphia to thank for American democracy ― and for the popular sandwich known as the cheesesteak, a hoagie roll loaded with thinly sliced steak, melted cheese (your choice of American, Provolone, or even Cheez Whiz), and sometimes grilled peppers and onions.
Although the famed creation has origins in the 19th century as a “beefsteak sandwich,” the cheesesteak we know today was invented in 1930 by brothers and hot dog vendors Pat and Harry Olivieri. Pat’s King of Steaks, one of two rival South Philly cheesesteak shops, was founded by the former sibling.
Steak and ale pie is a hearty dish from the UK.
The steak and ale pie, eaten in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom, has humble roots. Epicure & Culture traces its lineage to a Northern European specialty called an “umble pie,” a baked concoction of motley animal innards which, over time, evolved into the more appetizing mincemeat pie.
By the 18th century, heartier pies (like steak and kidney pudding) were the norm, giving way to the savoury baked goods Brits enjoy today.
Carne asada (“grilled meat”) is a common taco filling in Mexico.
In Mexico, steak is synonymous with carne asada, spanish for “grilled meat.” It’s commonly served as a filling for tacos.
The Delmonico steak was invented at the eponymous New York City restaurant.
Dating back to the mid-19th century, when it was invented at the eponymous New York City restaurant― one of the most historic eateries in the US ― the Delmonico steak is loosely defined as a sizeable, marbled steak. It can be cut from a cattle’s rib or sirloin section.
Kalbi flank steak, a Korean BBQ staple, is flavored with a sweet and savoury marinade.
Kalbi flank steak, a grilled beef dish, is a prevalent staple of Korean barbecue. Flavored with a sweet and savoury marinade, it can be accompanied by vegetables and rice, according to the PBS Kitchen Explorers blog.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a simply prepared steak from Italy’s Tuscany region.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine-style steak) is a simple yet tasty grilled steak dish, usually served rare. To make it, you start with a T-bone or porterhouse cut of Chianina beef (a Tuscan cattle breed) and season the meat with rosemary, sage, olive oil, and salt and pepper.