Global flavors: Celebrate the Olympics with creative nacho recipes

Posted February 7, 2018 3:11 p.m. EST

AUSTIN, Texas -- The global experience that is the Olympics returns this weekend, which gives us a fun opportunity to learn about different countries and parts of the world while watching the triple axels and halfpipes.

Food is one way to bring far-off places a little closer to home, and snack foods are perfect for eating by the TV. I propose that you could probably come up with a riff on nachos for every country -- from South Korea, which is hosting the games on the slopes of Pyeongchang, to the not-so-wintry South Africa, which hopes to send its first black Alpine skier.

To start, find the country's best-known (or most appealing) meat or protein source -- think German sausage or tandoor chicken. For South Africa, you'd probably experiment with the national sausage called boerewors. Make sure the main meat or vegetable isn't too soggy, or else your crunchy bed of chips will get mushy. Then look for other side dishes, signature spices, garnishes and sauces associated with that meat and part of the world to add to your culinary creation.

For a Thai-spiced chicken, you'd add cilantro, Sriracha and maybe a lime rice; for an impressive plate of Korean nachos, layer bulgogi beef, scallions, gochujang and kimchi. Don't forget the regional U.S. staples, such as barbecue nachos with pulled chicken or pork, shredded cabbage and pickles.

You'll notice that nearly every nacho creation has some form of pickled element to balance out the heaviness of cheese and meat. Pepperoncinis top Deana Larkin Evans' barbecue chicken nachos. The Austin blogger behind the Weekly Menu adds smoked gouda cheese, roasted chicken, barbecue sauce and Greek pepperoncini to a pile of everyday tortilla chips.

For its popular appetizer, the Southwestern-style chicken nachitos, Jack Allen's Kitchen uses chargrilled chicken, which adds a smokiness that's hard to replicate at home unless you're using a grill. You could use rotisserie chicken or chicken al carbon from a Pollo Rico or Pollo Regio.

When combined with a tinga sauce -- made with adobo sauce, tomatoes, red onion and pico de gallo -- the chicken graces the top of a stack of chips piled in a very specific way: chips topped with whole black beans and queso topped with more chips, which are then covered in pureed black beans, American cheese, the tinga chicken, cotija cheese and pickled jalapenos.

Austinite and Sneaky Apron founder Hema Reddy serves her Indian-inspired nachos more as a dip than a stack of chips, which is why she nicknamed the dish Nachos on the Side Please, Not Smothered, and Make It Curry.

It illustrates the point: When it comes to snacking, you just can't beat a good chip with a bite of something delicious on top.

Addie Broyles writes for the Austin American-Statesman. E-mail: abroyles(at)

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