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Celebrate Cultural Traditions Through Food

Posted by Staff, National Agricultural Library in Equity Food and Nutrition
May 16, 2022
Okra soup served with fufu, a spongy dough made from boiled cassava and plantain

Do you enjoy exploring food from countries around the world? Celebrating cultural traditions through food is a great way to connect with people from various communities and learn about their heritage. It is also a way to appreciate your own cultural roots! Discover simple ways to enjoy three cultural foods and see what vitamins and minerals they contain using FoodData Central from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

  • Papaya: Did you know May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders Heritage Month? Papaya is a fruit widely eaten throughout Asia and the Hawaiian Islands. Unripe green papaya is often used like a vegetable for salads or soups. Discover what nutrients are in papaya.
  • Plantains: Plantains (or plátanos) are starchy fruits popular in Latin American and African cuisine. Ripe yellow plantains can be baked or pan-fried for a sweet, caramelized side or mashed for empanadas (flaky turnover pastries). Green plantains are less sweet and traditionally mashed, fried or boiled. Learn about the nutrition of green and yellow plantains.
  • Okra: Sometimes called “lady’s finger” or “bhindi,” okra is a staple food in Africa and South Asia. This green vegetable is commonly used in gumbo, soups, and curry dishes. Get nutrient information about okra.

Interested in learning more about cultural foods? Find resources and recipes on’s Culture and Food page.

Category/Topic: Equity Food and Nutrition