A World Map of Flavors – 36 Regions, 36 Herb and Spice Combinations

tim ferriss typographic map of flavors

Inspired by The 4-Hour Chef, the friendly folks over at the startup Maptia (launching soon) have created this fun typographic map of flavors from around the world. You can download a large version by clicking here.

Aside from the map, this post showcases 36 simple recipes and flavor combinations from the 36 regions covered in the map…

Maptia has ambitious plans to re-imagine mapping. They want to make it easy for everyone to create beautiful maps of their lives and the places around them.

Enter Maptia

Here in Morocco, in the kitchen of Maptia HQ, there lies a somewhat battered copy of The 4-Hour Chef – a little dog-eared and spice-stained from enthusiastic use.

Being naturally rather map-obsessed, we loved Tim’s flavor and place pairings on pages 148-149 of his book. They come from all over the world, and range from the perfumed and fragrant herbs of Provence (thyme, rosemary, and sage) to the sweet and spicy tastes of Indonesia (tamari, brown sugar, peanut, and chili). One of our favorite recipes Tim has since shared, based on another of these pairings, is scrambled eggs mixed with garlic, cumin, and dried mint for a tasty North East African twist.

typographic map of flavors

The Recipes

For the more adventurous food lovers out there, we reached out to a few of our favourite chefs and food bloggers to put together a collection of recipes from all of the places Tim featured on the above flavor map.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to share recipes, ranging from mouthwatering main meals to tempting desserts. To give you a quick taste of the spectrum (pun intended) – we have everything Shaheen Peerbhai‘s grandma’s homemade Chicken Curry recipe from India, while from the more temperate European climate, we have a traditional Normandy Apple Tart by Imen McDonnell.

If you’re getting hungry by now, bookmark this page so you can come back to cook these recipes later… It’s possible travel around the world in your kitchen.

Here are the 36 flavor combinations in action!

1. Yucatán (map) | Traditional Sopa de Maiz shared by Sarah Kieffer who told us, “This soup is one of my absolute favorites – so many good flavors happening at the same time. The drizzle of lime juice is the best part.”

2. Mexico (map) | Homemade Tacodeli-style Salsa via Tribeza – thanks to Noah Kagan for the suggestion!

3. India (General) (map) | Homemade Chicken Curry from Shaheen Peerbhai

4. Northern India (map) | Garlic Chicken by Prerna Singh who says, “You don’t need to rush to the supermarket or an Indian grocery store to buy ingredients for this recipe. It’s pretty straightforward! You just need chicken and tons of garlic along with some basic ingredients like lemon and whatever you have in your spice shelf.”

garlic chicken northern india

5. Southern India (map) | Deliciously simple Nan Khatai baked by Tanvi Srivastava

6. Bengal (map) | Bengali style Aloo Dum from Archana Doshi

7. Middle East (map) | Quick but tasty Baba Ganoush from Cara Eisenpress

8. North Africa (map) | Harissa Turkey Meatballs by Lydia Walshin

9. Morocco (map) | Vegetable Tagine from David & Luise

10. East Africa? (map) | Pigeon Peas in a mild Coconut Curry by Sukaina

11. West Africa (map) | West African Ginger Drink via The Kitchn

12. North East Africa (map) | Ful Medames on Serious Eats

13. Greece (map) | Greek Nachos from Ashley Rodriguez

greek nachos

14. Italy (map) | Spaghetti with fresh Soppressata by Lindsay & Taylor

15. Northern Italy (map) | Tomato Flatbreads with Anchovy Oil from Nicole Gulotta

16. Southern Italy (map) | Arancini Di Riso by Michael Natkin

17. France (map) | Spectacular baked Mont d’Or cheese from David Lebovitz

baked Mont d'Dor

18. Southern France (map) | Old-fashioned Merveilles by Mimi Thorisson

19. Normandy (map) | The traditional Apple Tart baked by Imen McDonnell

20. Provence (map) | Provencal Vegetable Tian by Martha Stewart

21. Spain (map) | Gazpacho from Matt Armendariz

22. Hungary (map) | Hungarian Pork Stew by Cheri

23. Eastern Europe (map) | Wild Mushroom and Onion Kasha via Bon Appétit

24. Northern Europe (map) | Swedish Kalops? from Kimberly Killebrew

25. Central Asia (map) | Risotto Balls with Mango Chili Sauce by Sneh Roy

26. Burma (map) | Burmese Tofu Salad from Katherine

27. Nepal (map) | Sekwa Chara (Nepalese Chicken Roast) via Awesome Cuisine

28. Thailand (map) | Thai Shrimp Cakes from Leela Punyaratabandhu

29. Vietnam (map) | Beef Pho Noodle Soup from Andrea Nguyen via Jodi Ettenberg

30. Laos (map) | Spicy Laotian Beef Salad by Katherine Foshko via Victoria Frolova

31. Japan (map) | Mouthwatering Takoyaki from Stephane Lemagnen, who says, “It’s my favourite street snack in Osaka.”

32. Indonesia (map) | Nasi Goreng from Jun

nasi goreng

33. Korea (map) | Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce by Alexandra Stafford, who says, “Both healthy and satisfying, this warm tofu costs next to nothing to prepare, comes together in 10 minutes, and is completely delicious.”

warm tofu with spicy garlic sauce

34. China (map) | Stir-fried Nai Bai via Noob Cook

35. Szechuan (map) | Peppercorn Roasted Chicken from Jaden Hair

36. Canton (map) | Char Siu (Barbecued Pork) by Diana Kuan who reckons that, “Along with Wonton Noodle Soup, Char Siu is the Cantonese people’s greatest contribution to mankind.”

And A Mini Culinary Challenge (Just for Fun)

Whoever shares the most interesting or unusual recipe (with accompanying photo or video) by 5pm PDT this Sunday (24 March) will receive a one-off wall print of our original hand-painted typographic map above.

Your submission could be a family recipe that has been passed down through the generations, or perhaps one of your own experiments in the kitchen. Bonus points for creativity!

Here’s how it works:

1) Post your recipe and accompanying photo or video (perhaps a 6-second Vine snapshot?) somewhere online.

2) Tweet the URL of your submission (and the place it is from) to @Maptia and @tferriss, and make sure to include the hashtag #RTWflavors.

3) Make sure to tweet us your submission before 5pm PDT this Sunday (24 March).

Rules of thumb:

– The recipe must come from (or be inspired by) one of the 36 places listed above in the photographic tributes to the flavors.

– It must be an original recipe, or your own twist on an existing recipe. Do not violate copyrights or other intellectual property.

– The photo or video must be your own and must be of the recipe you are submitting.

As soon as the deadline (5pm PDT, Sun 24 March) has passed we will choose the person who has submitted the most interesting or unusual recipe, and send them the one-off wall print of the typographic flavor map. We will also feature the winning recipe over on our Maptia blog.

We’re really excited to try out some of your recipes and to see where in the world your culinary imaginations have taken you… Good luck!

Bonus: The Flavor Combo Pics

With such diversity and color among the different flavors Tim wrote about, we decided what better way to get people inspired about using them in their cooking than to create a photographic tribute for each place and each set of flavors on the map. Here they are:

flavors from around the world

(Photos: Sources listed here)

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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60 Replies to “A World Map of Flavors – 36 Regions, 36 Herb and Spice Combinations”

  1. Tim, I can tell already that this is going to be one of the most frequently visited of the 4HWW blog posts I have bookmarked in my browser.

    As an individual who is more than just a wee bit enthusiastic to experiment with preparing dishes from all over the world, I find material such as this to be entirely fascinating.

    What’s more, the way you break down regional and cultural culinary trends with respect to herbs and spices is invaluable.

    Thanks for sharing, and I am excited to put some of these recipes into practise on my own. Who knows, perhaps I’ve got a thing or two up my sleeve to share with you!

    Best regards,


      1. Tim I was listening to one of your old podcast with Joe Rogan and had a question about the CKT diet. Particularly what you were saying about fructose not being a good source of carbohydrates when replenishing glucose levels, why is this? I follow mostly a Paleo diet and don’t eat to many grains but do love fruit so I was curious about that. Thanks for your time!


  2. First thought – Yes! Great idea!

    Second thought – submissions to the map? Here in central Kentucky we have many organic farms and food businesses that sell in local markets. There are regional favorite foods and recipes as well. How about a seasonal aspect? Mushrooms, forage greens etc.

    I’ve been sharing your books and ideas:)

    Thank you! and inspired:)


  3. Hey, doesn’t the UK get a mention? We are no longer grey! Last week my Mum made heavy cake (which includes lard and cinnamon), seed cake (with caraway seeds), we’ve been eating cheese sandwiches with onion chutney and home-grown rocket, chili-flavoured crisps, chicken tikka and I put garlic in almost everything. Oh and I had a cold so I made ‘tea’ by simmering a piece of root ginger and some cinnamon in lemon juice, honey and water.

  4. Great shout out to the guys at Maptia. Glad to see you making progress since those days at Techstars.

    Tim – thank you for supporting Maptia. Also a big fan of the four hour chef. I cannot stop making the chicken pate and eating over lettuce.

    1. Thanks for the comment Manny – yeh, we’re pretty thrilled that Tim posted the map. We had great fun making it 🙂

      Right now we’re cranking hard and getting ready for our launch in month or so – hope all is going really well with you.

      Bacon is pretty hard to come by in Morocco but when we find some we’re looking forward to trying out the bacon-infused bourbon!

  5. Tim,

    I got the 4 Hour Chef, and love it!!! I am glad to see that you are adding to my bag of tricks with articles and blog posts like this.

    Totally dig it; keep up the great blog and work!

    Darren Michaels

  6. Hey Tim!

    Love your take on life and all your travels.

    I’m a big fan of your books and your blog. They inspire me every day and have definitely changed my life for the better.

    I don’t think I’ve ever read anything on your blogs or books about Puerto Rico.

    As a Puerto Rico native I’d be very happy to show you around our food, our culture, and amazing spots that would make you think you’re in another planet.

    Why Puerto Rico?

    -No US Passport Required

    -Close to the US

    -US Currency

    -Amazing Food

    -Amazing Activities

    -Amazing People

    ** It’s way better to go with a local. Otherwise you’d just be stuck in the tourist traps.

    Pasión de Vida!


  7. Great post and a great idea. I see there’s a big hole in the middle of where the old East and West line of europe was. I can tell you that next to Italy (Croatia) is split up into three types of cooking due to it’s 3 influences of terrain. It seems that Paprika is big in all 3 areas. I know from my grandma’s side (Ex-Yugoslavia/modern day Croatia) this is true. A Lemon. While I can’t give a ton of examples of my head, they’re out there if you look. A quick look on http://foodgawker.com is a quick overview that might aid this if you were interested. Hope that helps. Cheers.

  8. Very cool map. People often forget how important the food is as part of our travels. Strange to live in the US and have all this food coming in and having no idea where these flavors and foods come from

  9. What an interesting collection of world flavors. I like how you put everything together in this very creative way. It’s hard to pick what my favorite is, though I have tried some of the delicious Asian dishes you featured here. I sure wish you include Philippine dishes someday in your global quest. Now that would be my personal favorite. Thanks for sharing. All the best to you!

  10. @Sumayya Jamil: Not only Pakistan is missing :). I think that it is in our hands to share and complete the experience, isn’t it?

    @EVO: totaly agree 🙂

    @Tim Ferriss: amazing ideea, great concept for hungry eyes 🙂

  11. Being from Australia, we aren’t exactly known for our own cuisine or spices. We take a lot of influence from all parts of the world including Asia and the US, so it’s nice to see these ‘ingredients’ that make up our culture and food laid out so nicely.

  12. Tim your posts never cease to amaze, you’re my top lifehacking/just living life mentor by the margin the US military budget leads other countries’ haha. Thanks so much for another fantastic post! Just know I buy every single book and product you produce and I always find myself recommending you to everyone due to my results (my Mum *loves* the slow carb diet), the blog is the best residual investment I’ve experienced.


    Lee (Adelaide, Australia)

    p.s My business is about to take off (training DVDs no less what a profit margin), I hope I can be a great testimonial to you sometime soon =)

  13. I love this concept of a world map of flavors. One of my favorite things about living in NYC is the variety of ethnic foods in one city!

  14. YUM! I love the idea of themed cooking. My family tries to cook an authentic meal from another country once a week.

    Time to up my game….Culinary Challenge accepted.

  15. Oh my, I’m salivating just looking at the amazing colors! Thanks for all of the amazing recipes–what a great way to bust through our regular flavour-profile rut and expand our culinary horizons.

    Can’t wait to see Cuba and Latin/South America join the party too!

  16. Nice colletion, however a world flavor is not complete without the tantalising flavours of the Caribbean, known for tantalising delicacies. Jamaican cooking, for example, is uber deliciously yum!

  17. These are some killer recipes! I’m really excited to try a few of them. The garlic chicken one from Northern India looks incredible, that may be what I have for dinner tomorrow night!

  18. Do the the colored regions represent the source or home base for these spices and herbs? I don’t understand why there are such wide sections of grey.

  19. Great timing. I’m super-excited. I just ordered a whole shipment of herbs and spices I can’t usually find in my regular grocery store – for my fiance’s birthday. We’re going to have so much fun trying different cuisines!

  20. Here is my entry for the contest just for fun =)

    This Yummy Pesto Feta Spaghetti with Salmon and Zucchini dish makes my wife melt =)


    1. Thanks for the recipe submission Brian – looks delicious! Extra points for providing a video too 😉

  21. Tim – you are such a legend. I follow your stuff from all the way here in Australia and hope to meet you one day… This post is FANTASTIC! I’ll be looking for some inspiration here tonight for dinner! I’m loving the look of the Tofu dish!

    Now… where is Australia on this list?

  22. That garlic chicken looks amazing, definitely know what I’m making for dinner. Great blog post Tim!


  23. Greece left grey?? After all the culinary lessons we have taught the world? Come on guys you can do better than that!

  24. I enjoy experimenting with different flavors, as well as learning about new ones from other countries.

    There are some great ideas here I will definately be trying.

    Thank you!

  25. Maptia looks interesting. Any idea how they will monetize their service?

    And the recipes look awesome! They are making me nostalgic for Japan, Thailand, Bangladesh, and China. : ) Wish there were some Taiwan recipes, though. : (

  26. I bought the 4 Hour Body and love it!

    Garlic Chicken by Prerna Singh – This is exactly how I like to cook, not pay too much attention to shopping lists and follow a strict recipre. I have a basic knowledge of what goes well together and I rarely follow recipes and never get complaints.

    This way you can also tune the fat and carb contents of your food to your own preferences.

    Bacon is good, but Garlic is better!

    – John

  27. Man, you need more recipes for Indonesia!!! That is at least 5 different food types, that country is as wide as the US.

  28. Wow, those are some great recipes. I’ve been having cravings for spicy food recently and have picked the Homemade Chicken Curry and Garlic Chicken ones to try. The ingredients look very healthy too. Bookmarking this for future reference. I am guessing that there will be another post on the recipe winners soon. Looking forward.

  29. Excellent work and great visuals however I’d have loved to have Pakistan on the map too. We have some of the amazing cuisines around and even better than Indian one’s.

    1. Hi Tim, I recently bought the four hour chef and thought it was amazing.

      Did anything more ever come of the pigeon experiment? Did you ever get any toxin levels indicating if city pigeons were safe to eat?

  30. What a great idea for a blog post, love the map! Bummer I missed the contest, I eat mostly Paleo and all raw or fermented food, AND I’ve been heavily experimenting with organic herbs and spices from Maison Terre so I would’ve had a unique entry for sure. =)

  31. Tim,

    Do you you know where I can read about the origin of spicy food? I understand that even it belongs to plants people used to have near they lived, it is more related with food of people with low resources. The reason why, was to hide the flavors of the food they used to eat.

    tks, I.

  32. Pear honey is so yummy! Been making it for a couple months now and it is a favourite, love it.

    We need to get more people to become in love with a healthy lifestyle.


    Andrew Gates

  33. The idea is great, but…why’s the big empty area of Central Europe? No flavours at all? Moreover, Finland is not really a paprika nation, more like dill and potatoes with thick cream.