There are many foods that start with “I”. But what is food? According to Wikipedia, food is “any nutritious substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism.” To me, food is simply anything that people and animals can ingest and digest.
Food plays an essential role in our life, our culture, our development as humans. It is the fundamental need of every person on earth. As the population grows, food is also expanding in its quality and variety.
Yet, somehow, we still struggle to find food that starts with a simple letter: I.
Don’t worry, buddy! After reading this article, I hope you discover 20 foods that start with “I”. Besides, you can also gain some exciting knowledge about foods along the way and maybe come up with more ideas about food that begin with not only “I” but also other beautiful letters in the alphabet.
Table of Contents
Here Are A Brief List Of 20 Foods That Start With “I”
This list covers the best 20 foods that start with “I” ever. Can you name them? Which food will you try first?
- Ice Cream
- Ice Cream Cake
- Ice Pop
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Ice Tea
- Icing Sugar
- Idli/ Idly
- Inca Berries
- Indian Curry
- Indian Mustard Plant
- Irish Nachos
- Irish Coffee
- Italian Dressing
- Italian Kisses
- Israel Falafel
- Instant Noodles
- Iodized Salt
- Idaho Potatoes
Different Types Of Food
Before getting serious with the listing game, we have to know what food is? How many types of foods? It might sound obvious at first because food is so familiar with our daily life. But trust me, you will be surprised later when you discover some fascinating facts about foods.
All the food that we consume every day can break down into seven basic categories: Meat and poultry; Seafood; Vegetables; Fruits; Grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds; Dairy foods, and Eggs.
There are also many different ways to divide the types of food. Some say it’s four groups: fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and alcohol; others say it’s five.
In this post, I’m going to stick with the most specific way: seven types. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive right in!
1. Meat And Poultry
Meat is definitely the first one that people think of when it comes to the type of food. There are two types of meat: red meats and white meats.
There are many kinds of red meats, to name just a few: cows, pigs, chickens, and lamb. White meats are usually poultry, such as goats, ducks, venisons, and rabbits. Both are excellent sources of protein and nutrients.
Meat is basically the flesh or other edible parts of animals. Meat is also a unique way to tell where you come from because it’s related to the culture where you live.
For example, lamb and goat are popular in the Mediterranean region; poultry is favored in Asia. Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil are the top 3 countries that consume red meats the most.
Although meat is one of the most significant foods, it is also the most controversial food on earth. Some say it is the leading source of protein and nutrients. Others say it is unhealthy, unethical, and unnecessary.
From my standpoint, whether to consume meat or not is a personal choice. Properly cooked meat brings you many health benefits. In contrast, if you are concerned about environmental issues or an ethical problem, you can switch to a well-balanced vegetarian diet.
2. Fish And Seafood
Speaking of food, it’s such a shame if we forget to mention fish and seafood. People usually see fish as one type of seafood. That could be the case. But the slight difference between them is fish has backbones, and seafood is any living creature under the sea that is regarded as food.
One interesting fact about fish is that most fish do not keep a constant internal body temperature. Usually, their temperature will change based on the environment around them.
Fish is a low-fat but high-quality protein source. People who are on a diet usually prepare fish for their meals. Fish and seafood are also rich in Omega 3, calcium and phosphorus, vitamin, and mineral. Therefore, it is crucial to eat fish and seafood at least two times per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Fish, like any other food, is also a symbol of culture. For instance, in Buddhism, the fish symbolizes freedom as they have the privilege to swim freely in the water. To American Indian Tribes, salmon is a symbol of prosperity.
Apart from fish, seafood like shrimp, squid, octopus, crab are also famous for their benefits and tastes. Usually, places that have many kinds of seafood are popular for tourism.
I’m not a fussy eater. I can eat pretty much anything. But without some vegetables in my meal (I’m not exaggerating), that will not work for me.
Veggies not only creates a better appetizing taste for our dishes, but it also provides us essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Typically, we can divide vegetables into five subcategories: root vegetables, bulb vegetables, leafy vegetables, and stem:
Some vegetables that we eat regularly, such as potatoes, carrots, radishes, turnips, are the top of mind when it comes to root vegetables.
The best-known bulb vegetables are onion, chive, spring onion, and garlic. They usually can not be eaten directly (although some eat garlic to prevent colds and flu). Instead, they are used to elevate and complete the flavor of the dishes.
Leafy vegetables, or we can also call greens, pot herbs, on the other hand, are the type of plant leaves that we can eat directly. Herbaceous plants, such as lettuce and spinach, are examples of leafy vegetables.
Another type of vegetable is the stem (plants) like celery, asparagus, kohlrabi, rhubarb, and turmeric. The stem/stalk is not as popular as the other types of vegetables above. However, it is still one of the primary sources to provide vitamins, minerals, fiber…
There are some misconceptions that tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant are vegetables. But actually, they are types of fruit botanically. However, in the culinary world, it is acceptable to say they are vegetables.
People usually mistake some fruits for vegetables. However, it depends on what terms you are talking about.
Botanically speaking, flowers produce fruits. The rest are considered vegetables.
While in culinary terms, fruits and vegetables are distinguished based on taste. For example, some botanical fruits such as eggplants, bell peppers, avocados, olives, and tomatoes are categorized as vegetables.
Both fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. So if you are not a vegan or a vegetable lover, you can eat fruits instead.
Eating enough fruits can decrease your risk of many diseases and cancers (1). Besides, it also helps to control your weight and blood sugar. In fact, you can lose weight by eating one apple every day.
Same with vegetables, there are many ways to categorize types of fruits. In my opinion, I subdivide fruits into five groups: drupes, berries, pomes, citrus, pepos, and the most popular one: tropical fruits. You can also base on types of fruits to guess the food that begins with “I.”
5. Grains, Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
When going on a diet is a trendy thing and eating less is a new swanky lifestyle, people are getting familiar with grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds as a form of food. Some even replace that as the main course of every meal.
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley is a grain product. Cereal grains that we consume in the morning for fast and healthy breakfast are also a kind of grain. Foods such as popcorn, bread, pasta, tortillas are also included in the grains group.
You have to agree with me, grains are ubiquitous.
Grains are divided into two subgroups: Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Seeds are primarily of two types: Monocotyledonous Seeds and Dicotyledonous Seeds. Nuts and legumes are not separated as an individual group, but they have countless species.
All the foods in the grains, nuts, seeds, or legumes family are full of nutrients, dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals. Consuming all these foods in your healthy balanced diet will help decrease chances of heart disease, improve digestion, and control weight management.
6. Dairy Foods
Are you a milk lover? If the answer is yes, maybe you’ve already too familiar with dairy foods.
Dairy foods are made from the milk of animals like cows, sheep, goats. Some animals that sound a little strange such as buffalo and camels, also produce milk to make dairy foods.
Milk is the base element to create many other wonderful dairy products like creams, butter, cheeses, yogurts, the list goes on. We can also choose how much fat content in our dairy foods from full-fat, low-fat to fat-free.
One of the most popular dairy foods in the world is ice cream, which coincidentally is also a kind of food that begins with the letter “I”. If milk does not attract you enough, an ice cream cone might do the trick to help you consume more dairy.
Dairy foods also offer numerous benefits. It provides calcium, vitamin D, proteins that are necessary for our better health function.
The bottom line is, milk and other dairy foods are tasty and good for our health (if we consume them properly). Whether you are a dairy food fan or not, it’s worth putting some dairy foods besides meats, seafood, or vegetables in your basket when you go to the market.
The last candidate in this food category is eggs. Nowadays, it’s easy to eat eggs because it’s everywhere, both cheap and healthy, easy to cook and very delicious. But maybe because of that, we somehow unintentionally underestimate the existence of eggs and their benefits.
Eggs are amazingly rich in nutrients and high-quality proteins. Eggs also help increase levels of good cholesterol. Along with fish and other seafood, eggs are also a good source of Omega 3.
If you intend to lose weight, eggs are ideal choices for a healthy dietary meal. Scientifically prove that eating eggs can make you feel full longer, reduce variations in glucose levels, and provide many vital proteins.
20 Foods Start With The Letter “I”
Enough with the food knowledge. It’s time to seal the deal. Below are 20 foods and cuisines that begin with the letter “I”. I hope my recommendation will help you find satisfaction.
1. Ice Cream
The first food that is on top of the list is obviously the famous dairy food: ice cream. Ice cream is a mixture of milk, cream or butterfat, sugar, and other ingredients for various flavors. Some of the favorite flavors are chocolate, fruits, vanilla, mints.
You can serve ice cream in a bowl, a cup, a cone. Some chefs even elevate the regular ice cream to a fancy cuisine by covering ice cream with a thick layer of bread crumbs and fry it in a hot oily pan. Or pour hot chocolate on a thin oval shape cover until it melts and reveals a mouthwatering ice cream inside.
You can create countless dishes and desserts with ice creams. The only limitation is your imagination. And with a Cuisinart ice cream maker, the number of recipes for Cuisinart ice cream will add more to the already endless list of possibilities.
Ice creams also have unbelievable benefits that you might overlook. Since it’s a dairy food, it contains quite a few calcium, vitamins, and proteins. It’s also a good source of minerals. Eating ice cream with an average amount can stimulate your brain, boost your mood, and push your energy to the fullest.
2. Ice Cream Cake
The second candidate is the evolution of regular ice cream. As the name says, ice cream cake is a combination between ice creams and cakes. It has the delectable soft texture of cakes and the sweet, creamy frozen taste of ice creams.
It’s an incredible dessert with plenty of ways of organizing. The easiest way is to put a scoop of ice cream on the cake with add-in sweet sauces. You can also turn it into assorted layers of cakes and ice cream, served with various fruits to balance the fat and sweetness.
Ice cream cakes are the soul of the party, the famous face of the summer. It often serves at birthdays and weddings, particularly in North America and Australia. It is not as well known in Europe.
3. Ice Pop
You guys might be familiar with the terms lollipop, ice lolly, popsicle, freezer pop…Those are the famous ice pops that I’m going to talk about.
Ice pops are made from water or milk as a base, then added some colors, fruits, or even beans to make it more bountiful flavors.
People usually mistake ice pop with ice cream. But the main difference is ice cream follows the non-ice crystal formation, and ice pop is full of ice. Because the base element is water or milk, ice lolly becomes a solid block of ice after freezing.
Normally, there is a stick to hold a popsicle. So if you didn’t finish it fast enough, it would melt on your hands and get sticky.
4. Iceberg Lettuce
If this is the first time you heard the term “ iceberg lettuce”, you might be surprised that we see them all the time, especially in between luscious layers of a hamburger.
Iceberg lettuce, also called crisphead lettuce, is the type of leafy vegetable with green leaves and grows in cabbage-like bulbs. The ideal environment to plant iceberg lettuce is at a cool temperature. Therefore, it is more prevalent in Europe than in Asia.
Like most vegetables, the average shelf-life of lettuce depends a lot on the storage conditions. And as you can probably guess, iceberg lettuce requires refrigeration to maintain its taste and freshness over a long time.
We also use iceberg lettuce for salads, tacos. Although some researchers say that iceberg lettuce has zero nutrition, it actually provides a quite remarkable amount of vitamins A and K. It also contains many minerals that bring a fresh taste to our meals.
5. Ice Tea
It’s not like I’m cheating when using too many of the words “ice” at the beginning of the food’s name as an effortless way to extend many more ideas. But believe me, you can not ignore another amazing food that is made with ice. You know what I’m talking about: ice tea.
Having a cup of fresh ice tea on a scorching day in the summer is an excellent treatment for anyone. Making it is easy, enjoying it is amusing. How can we forget to mention ice tea when it comes to food that starts with “I”, right?
Do you know drinking a cup of green or black iced tea every day can improve your memory up to 50%? That’s incredible! I hope with this interesting fact, and you will drink more ice tea.
6. Icing Sugar
If you are a cooking lover, you no longer feel strange with the terms called icing, icing sugar, powdered sugar, confectioner’s sugar, 10X, all kinds of names. So what is it all about?
Icing sugar is any granulated sugar that has been meticulously ground until it becomes powder form. Icing sugar is commonly called in the U.K or Canada. While in the US, it’s more recognizable with the word “powdered sugar”.
Despite its popularity, icing sugar/powdered sugar’s shelf-life can be something of a mystery. Whether powdered sugar can go bad or not, it’s undeniable that this baking ingredient tends to run out before you can ever spot a sign of spoilage in it. After all, its taste is so addicting!
You can use icing for frosting, making candies, or cookies. It also can create an attractive decoration layer on cakes.
The main difference between regular sugar and icing sugar might lie in the texture that each one creates.
Take cookies as an example. If you use granulated sugar, it will form tiny little air pockets in your cookie texture, making it more crisp and crunchy as a result. On the other hand, if you use icing sugar instead, your cookies will taste more crumbly and can melt right in your mouth.
7. Idli/ Idly
Idli or Idly is a steamed rice cake made from rice and lentil batter. Coming from South India, idli is featured in many authentic Indian first courses. It can also be enjoyed as one of the softest and fluffiest breakfasts that contains lots of proteins.
If you are a health freak like I am, you can not overlook this healthy breakfast. Idli is a naturally vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free that can be fed even to babies. It will taste even better when paired with a famous Tamil dish named sambar (lentil-based stew).
The process of making idli is not as easy as its looks. First, you have to soak rice and lentils. Then grind it to semi-fine consistency by using a stone grinder or a mixer grinder. Next is to keep it ferment overnight or for 8 to 9 hours or more till the batter doubles or triples in volume. The last step is to steam it for 15 to 20 minutes.
But in the end, you eat what you pay for. The result is super healthy and savory. Besides, you can keep it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. It’s worth trying at least once, right?
8. Inca Berries
People usually say Inca Berry is the next superfood trend because of its taste and its benefits. Inca Berries are incredibly high in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and even protein! Moreover, they have the highest fiber content of all dried fruit! What is this magical food?
Turn out, it’s not as eccentric as we think. People usually confuse this because it has many names, such as Golden Berry, Cape Gooseberry, Aquaymanto, Giant Ground Cherry, Peruvian Cherry, Pichuberry, Physalis, Poha…
Slightly smaller than cherry tomatoes or tomatillo, Inca Berries are somehow far more different from tomatoes or berries. These fruits have a syrupy, tropical taste that is redolent of pineapple and mango.
One thing peculiar about this fruit is it gets sweeter when dried than fresh. I prefer to eat Inca Berries when it’s dried because it has more complex flavors and layers. Many people enjoy Inca Berries as a snack or put it in yogurts, salads, sauces, and jams.
Another Indian food that also begins with “I” is the famous Imarti, or we can call Amriti, Jangri, Emarti, Omritti (yes, another food with tons of names).
It is a famous Indian sweet made from Urad dal batter, deep-fried in a circular flower shape, and served with a syrup-soaked cover. When you eat Imarti, you will instantly feel the gooey and chewy texture that makes the sweetness last longer.
If we just look at its appearance, it is easy to misread it as Jalebi – another popular Indian sweet and also a popular Afghan dish. The difference is in their ingredients. While Jalebi is made with maida (all-purpose flour), Imarti uses Urad Dal flour. Therefore, Jalebi is thinner and sweeter than Imarti.
Idiyappam, also known as Noolputtu or Noolappam, are string hoppers. These thin strands of noodles are made from rice flour. Can you guess what type of food that rice flour comes from? You can scroll up to check your memory!
Back to our topic, Idiyappam is a famous dish that is served with grated coconut or sugar as breakfast or a curry or kurma as a main meal. If you’re not a fan of Indian foods, this one might sound odd to you.
But once you’ve become familiar with this cuisine, it would be your all-time favorite dish that is hard to resist. But luckily, making it is not something impossible.
You can check out this short video on how to make the famous Idiyappam from my favorite youtube channel.
11. Indian Curry
I’m not joking, Indian might be the kingdom of foods that start with “I” because here comes another Indian traditional delicacy – the Indian Curry.
Yes, when it comes to Indian, the first dish that slips into everybody’s mind is curry, right? It’s like the symbol of Indian food culture! Indian Curry is something that is difficult to emulate, from the taste to the appearance. Everything about it is so unique.
But curry itself is not a complete dish but rather the sauce or gravy. We can serve the curry with rice or noodles, topped with vegetables, meats, or tofu. Typically, Indian curry is spicy. But you still can adjust that based on your preference.
Imagine a glowing bowl of freshly made Indian Curry that can evoke all your senses at the sheer thought of it. I mean, who can say no to this? You can learn how to make Indian Curry at home by watching this voluptuous 10 minutes recipe by the famous Chef Gordon Ramsay.
12. Indian Mustard Plant
Indian Mustard Plant is a type of Indian vegetable where the leaves, seeds, and stem parts are edible. It is one of the members of the broccoli family.
Young leaves are for salads, creating a fresh, spicy flavor. Seeds are used to extract essential oil and brown mustard, which seems to be more pungent than yellow mustard. The stem can be preserved and turn into pickled stem mustard or, Indians say: the achar.
Eating Indian Mustard Plants (2) brings you some incredible benefits. It includes tons of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and three times more calcium, potassium, and iron than the typical leafy vegetables.
13. Irish Nachos
Irish Nacho is the perfect appetizer, a quick lunch, a light snack, or a hit of the party on St. Paddy’s Day.
It’s a thinly sliced baked potato with several seasoning coats such as rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Serve these nachos with sour cream or guacamole in the center with some vegetables on the side.
I like eating these scrumptious foods from Ireland with a cheesy bacon layer on top to create the buttery, smoky, yeasty taste that is hard to find in other dishes.
One serving of Irish Nachos contains many nutrients (3) such as fibers, vitamin A and C, calcium, carbohydrates, proteins, and potassium. So if you are on a diet, pay attention to how many calories in your Irish Nachos.
14. Irish Coffee
As something of a coffeeholic and wine lover myself, it’s a delight to discover that, among the many delicious Irish dishes, there’s this one beverage that combines both. That’s right; Irish Coffee, also known as coffee cocktail, is definitely a must-try for wine and coffee lovers out there.
Irish coffee has the bitter character of the freshly brewed hot coffee, the complex flavor and vivacious note of Irish whiskey, and a little sweet taste of Heavy cream. All the seemingly opposite mixtures make the Irish coffee the King of beverages.
Unlike its unreplaceable fancy smell and taste, the Irish coffees are so simple to make. You don’t need any bartending experience or any special equipment to create this amazing beverage! How awesome is that!
15. Italian Dressing
One kind of food that is often underestimated is dressing. It turns the plain dishes into a festive, flavorful meal within a sec. That is so true with Italian dressing.
It is a vinaigrette-type salad dressing that is super popular in American cuisine. If you’re trying to lose weight and those salads seem too tasteless to eat, pour a little Italian dressing into your salad bowl. You will immediately see the difference.
In America, people also use Italian dressing to marinate foods or vegetables.
Italian dressing offers a healthier option to regular creamy sauces because it’s naturally lower in calories and fat. It’s also a good source of are vitamin K.
The ideal expiration date of a jar of Italian dressing is up to two weeks in the refrigerator. So remember to use up all your dressing before that to enjoy its best quality.
16. Italian Kisses
Another famous Italian food that begins with “I” is the Italian kisses dessert. It’s a kind of soft and sweet chocolate with little crunchy nuts mixed in.
You should eat this tiny piece of chocolate while it’s still cold. Because inside the Italian kisses chocolate is a small spoon of ice cream that could quickly melt if you don’t finish it fast.
This Italian kisses chocolate is a perfect gift on Valentine’s day, or you can make it by yourself to give to your friends or your family to show how much you love them.
Let’s learn how to make a lovely Italian kisses chocolate by watching this five minutes video.
17. Israel Falafel
Every country has its traditional cuisine that says a lot about its culture. When you mention Indian, the first dish that comes to mind is Curry. Same with Israel, the most important traditional cuisine is the Falafel.
Israel Falafel is a yummy deep-fried chickpea ball often seen as exquisite street food in many cities throughout North America.
People usually eat Israel Falafel alone or with salads, sandwiches, topped with some typical vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and other garnishes.
Israel Falafel is super healthy with a lot of nutrients. It is also a good source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and protein. Even though this dish requires a deep-fried process which can increase the fat and calorie content, you can avoid that by baking instead.
18. Instant Noodles
Instant noodles are the most popular fast food eaten all over the world. It’s tasty, convenient, easy to cook, and inexpensive.
Instant noodles are a type of pre-cooked noodle that includes flour, salt, and palm oil. The seasoning usually contains dried pieces of vegetables, some spices, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Usually, instant noodles are packed in small yet colorful packages or disposable one-time-use cups.
Although there are many controversial discussions about whether instant noodles are good or bad, people continue consuming them every day.
19. Iodized Salt
If you look at every American kitchen or restaurant, you must see at least one box of Iodized salt as an essential pantry staple. It’s all around not only because of its taste but also its benefits.
When I mention Iodized salt, I mean the chemical element sodium iodide or potassium iodide has been added to ordinary salt.
Since Iodized salt has the added nutrient, it’s easy to assume that it is healthier for our bodies. Especially with any woman who is in their pregnancy, Iodized salts help both the mental and physical growth of the unborn child.
20. Idaho Potatoes
In the United States, the name Idaho potato is a short term to call high-quality russet potatoes, trademarked by the Idaho Potato Commission. Idaho potatoes are growing in Idaho state.
There are three things that make Idaho potatoes different. Firstly, baked Idaho potatoes are fluffier. Secondly, French fried using Idaho potatoes are crisper and absorb less oil. The last thing is Mashed Idaho potatoes are softer and have a more consistent texture.
While the skin is the thing that sets aside the Idaho potatoes, creates a different color and texture, Idaho potatoes do not have much difference in flavor compared to other regular potatoes.
More Ideas About Foods That Start With “I”
There are still a lot of foods that begin with “I”. These are just my suggestions due to my limited knowledge and research. But with my recommendations, I hope you can develop more ideas about foods that start with “I”.
It’s been a long journey if you can patiently stay with me till this line. So let me ask you one more favor: to comment down below any ideas about foods that start with “I” so everyone can broaden their knowledge and trigger their curiosities.
Remember sharing is caring. Let’s share this article so more and more people know about foods that begin with an “I.”
- Mail Online. 2021. Lower the Risk of Dying from Cancer with Fruits and Veggies.
- Mail Online. 2021. Heal yourself with Indian mustard plant.
- Culinary Hill. 2021. Irish Nachos (Potato Nachos) | Culinary Hill.