Have you ever stopped to ask just how many different kinds of food start with the same letter? It’s an interesting thought experiment that, more than anything, tests to see how vast and diverse your knowledge of global cuisine is!
When discussing this particular subject online, be sure to use a capital ‘L’. After all a lower-case ‘L’ looks a lot like an upper case ‘i’, so that can get real confusing in a hurry! Keep that in mind if you want to do a similar thought experiment yourself or share it with friends.
This article is a bit different than others, we’re going to just get straight into our list!
#1 – Lasagna
Starting off with a classic! This dish is made by stacking several layers of flat pasta, each one topped with sauces and seasonings and usually cheeses. These layers are then baked and most frequently served in square portions.
Oftentimes you might struggle to keep lasagna from coming apart in your fork, but it’s delicious for sure. It’s been said that the original lasagna recipe dates back atleast as far as the 14th century. The iconic Italian dish is a staple fit for any home, and an essential part of an orange cartoon cat’s diet.
#2 – Linguini
From one pasta to another, this one is shaped a bit like fettuccine, except it’s elliptical and ribbon-like rather than flat. It’s also thin and lengthy, bringing it closer to spaghetti. Like many pastas, it’s mild enough to take on the flavor of whatever you add to it. The name, incidentally, is Italian for “little tongues”, which we can only presume sounds more appetizing in Italy.
#3 – Lemon
A citrus-y fruit, very similar to limes, with a yellow skin. They are famous for their sour taste and though they’re not usually eaten by themselves, their use in other foods is common enough that they’re a very popular fruit.
They are of course often made into lemonade among other things, which we’ll get into more in a moment! And they can also be used as garnish or to flavor tea and other such drinks. There’s a few types of lemons out there, like Eureka, Bonnie Brae, Lisbon and Sorrento lemons.
#4 – Lemonade
In its simplest form, lemonade is simply lemon juice and sugar, making it a very easy beverage to make. The distinctive lemony sourness with enough sugar to take most of the bite away makes for a delicious and very popular drink, one of the most popular fruit drinks around.
Water is also typically added in, since pure lemon juice can be pretty strong on its own. Lemonade has many common variations, with strawberry lemonade perhaps being the most popular spinoff flavor.
#5 – Lemon Basil
Lemon basil is an all-year-round growing plant. It isn’t actually directly related to lemons, like the next few we’re about to list, but given the name it seemed appropriate to go here next. Lemon basil is particularly common in Asian and Middle Eastern countries and is named for it’s powerful lemony flavor and scent.
#6 – Lemon Balm
Like lemon basil, lemon balm actually refers to a plant unrelated to lemons aside from having a very similar taste and scent. These are leaves which are frequently harvested for use in tea, as well as essential oils. Notably, honeybees tend to take a shine to this plant and frequently make honey with its nectar; lemon balm honey is known for it’s minty, lemony flavor.
#7 – Lemongrass
Lemongrass has the appearance of a small leek (more on those later!) with a decidedly tropical scent to them, as well as – you guessed it – a very lemony taste. It’s frequently used as a garnish. Pick them fast if you’re on the lookout for them, as young lemongrass is known to be more fragrant than the more mature variety.
#8 – Lemongrass Chicken
This is chicken that has been marinated overnight in lemongrass paste, alongside other mixtures like pepper, garlic, oil, fish sauce, garlic, sugar and/or lime juice. The chicken is then grilled, occasionally over rice and optionally with garnish like thyme or cilantro.
#9 – Lemon Aspen
This is actually the name of a different fruit, a sour-tasting berry. But in this case they’re distinctly cream-colored rather than yellow, and much smaller than lemons, about the same size as a cherry. They generally grow in pairs or bunches. Lemon aspen is native to Australia and very hard to find elsewhere.
#10 – Lime
Mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to talk about lemons without talking about limes, as they are pretty closely associated and often combined. Sprite, for example, is a famous soda with a lemon-lime flavor. While not quite as popular as lemons, limes are a well known tart and sour fruit in their own right.
There’s a number of varieties, such as key lime, famous for it’s use in key lime pies. It’s a tasty and healthy fruit, filled with vitamins and antioxidants. Lime juice is often used in dishes like guacamole and lime dessert bars.
#11 – Limeade
Lime’s association with lemon is so deep that it’s really no surprise that it has it’s own answer to lemonade. You make it the exact same way as lemonade, except of course you substitute the lemon juice for lime juice. It makes for a refreshing and tasty drink for sure, and just like lemonade, has its own variations, most famously Sonic’s Cherry Limeade.
#12 – Lime Mint
An herb with a citrus-y flavor, just as there are many lemony plants, this is a mint that reminds many of the taste of lime. The fragrance and flavor become all the more evident when the herb is crushed and the oils within are released. This makes for an easy way to give things more of a lime flavor.
#13 – Lettuce
You’ll hardly ever find anybody that eats lettuce all by itself, and yet so many of us consume atleast some of it. After all it’s the most common veggie for use in burgers, wraps and sandwiches, and usually makes up the bulk of salads.
Iceberg lettuce used to be quite popular, until it caught on that it was lacking in nutritional value, causing it to tank in favor of romaine lettuce.
#14 – Liquor
Liquor, occasionally referred to as spirits, is one of the more long-standing and popular categories of alcoholic drinks. The term liquor actually refers to a wide swath of famous drinks, including whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, brandy and tequila.
#15 – Liqueur
This probably seems like we’re cheating to get an extra entry, but no no, liqueur is actually different from liquor, albeit very similar. They are similarly distilled spirits but they’re distinguished by their sweetened flavor.
#16 – Lollipop
Lollipops are iconic, with the most recognizable being the enormous and perfectly round variety. Of course there’s all sorts of them out there. They were created over a hundred years ago back in 1908 by George Smith. They were named after a racehorse called Lolly Pop.
#17 – Liver
Of course liver refers to the liver of an animal, but there’s lots of liver that can be consumed, such as chicken liver, beef liver, pork liver or even duck and lamb liver. They’re often fried or sauteed. Liver is very much a love-it-or-hate-it food, and pretty divisive and is thought to be something of an acquired taste.
#18 – Liverwurst
A kind of sausage made from the liver of pigs or calves, often with a variety of spices all allspice, thyme, nutmeg, ground mustard seed or ground black pepper, it’s a very soft sausage that’s most commonly eaten whilst spread on bread. It’s also seen sliced on plate in certain areas of Germany.
#19 – Lobster
Sea-dwelling crustaceans, lobsters have a bit of rep as being high-end seafood. They’re often steamed or boiled, but sometimes people just cook their tails. More than perhaps any other animal they are cooked alive, something that greatly reduces their chances of causing food poisoning.
#20 – Legumes
A word for the seeds of plants in a particular family, one that peas, beans, lentils and peanuts all belong to. Indeed a legume can refer to all sorts of things.
#21 – Licorice
Usually eaten as a bitter type of candy but that takes a bit of processing. Licorice starts its life as a flowering plant, one closely related to beans and other such legumes. The root of the licorice is the part that is most commonly used to flavor the candy, and it’s very pungent with a strong taste.
Pure licorice is fine in smaller dose but it can be toxic in big enough quantities and is very rarely eaten raw.
#22 – Lalanga
A deep fried flatbread, also known as Langos, Lalanga is a Turkish food that is deep fried in fat instead of over a fire, making it distinct from other flatbreads. It traces it’s roots back a long ways, to the days of the Ottoman Empire and can be served as a full meal, snack or for breakfast.
#23 – Latte
A classic morning beverage, latte is effectively just a fancy kind of coffee combined with espresso shots that will give you a serious bolt of caffeine!
#24 – Lumpia
A spring roll most frequently made with a thin wrapper, these are frequently found in Indonesia and the Philippines. They’re made into a thin wrapper and rolled around a filling, and they can be served fresh or deep fried alike.
#25 – Lard
Lard is much more of an ingredient than anything as practically nobody just straight up eats lard. Lard is the fatty tissue of a pig and it was once very popular in cooking, most commonly used for biscuits, but it fell out of favor as people chose healthier and less gross options. Still many old hats will swear by the taste of food cooked with lard from back in the day.
#26 – Lima Beans
Among the more commonly eaten beans, lima beans are sometimes called butter beans. Some will shell them and eat their seeds, which are known to have a slightly sweet flavor similar to nuts. The cooking time is a big part of their taste, as cooking them for too long can leave them bitter.
#27 – Loganberry
You can’t always judge a book by its cover… but it does work out sometimes, as is the case here. Loganberries are exactly what they look like – a cross between blackberries and raspberries. They’re a bit tart with a flavor that sits neatly in the middle, and are shaped nearly the same as blackberries but with a lighter, reddish hue.
#28 – Loquat
This is the name for a large tree, one grown commercially for it’s fruit and leaves. Loquat fruit grow in clusters, are yellowish orange and have a taste somewhere between a peach and a mango and they are harvested in the spring and early summer. Loquat leaves are also used for tea.
#29 – Lychee
A very sweet, small, pinkish-red fruit with a rounded shape. Lychee are native to China but have since been migrated to India, South Africa, Madagascar and parts of Asia. Lychee are known to be very nutritious and high in Vitamin C.
#30 – Lutefisk
Lutefisk is pretty strange looking and comes from a similarly strange cooking process. It’s actually dried cod, but you wouldn’t know it at all at a glance. Lutefisk is specific to the Scandinavian and Norwegian regions and is what happens when you take a cod, soak it, skin it, debone it and boil it.
The result is a food that’s very hard to even recognize as a fish, as it looks and feels more like a batch of Jello than anything else. In spite of this, it’s known to have a very unassuming and mild taste.
#31 – Lobscouse
From the name it seems like this dish wanted to be related to lobster in some way, but alas, it has nothing to do with it. Instead it’s a one pot stew filled with slow cooked beef and veggies, such as carrots, onions and potatoes. A very hearty dish, this is commonly associated with European sailors.
#32 – Lupin Beans
It’s a bit hard to think of beans as a snack food, but that’s exactly the case for this particular member of the legume family. Typically pickled as they’re much too bitter otherwise, these beans are most commonly spotted in the Mediterranean basin, Latin America and North Africa. Brownish-yellow and ovular in appearance, they actually look a bit like corn.
#33 – Loin
You’re most likely familiar with the ‘tender’ variety! The term loin refers to an oblong cut of meat, one that is derived from the spine to lower rib area of certain animals. Pork and beef loins are very popular, owing to being quick to cook and remarkably… well, tender!
#34 – Lahana Sarmasi
The name might make this sound like a crazy exotic dish, but the truth is this is just a plain ‘ol cabbage roll. Popular in Asia, Africa and Europe, lahana sarmasi is made by cooking cabbage leaves and then wrapping them around a filling, usually some kind of meat.
#35 – Lamb
Lamb refers to a young sheep, in the same way that veal refers to younger cows. It has a flavor completely unique to it compared to other meats, more natural and rich. And it’s very tender, able to be pulled apart without the aid of knives or any other utensil.
The flavor is strong and robust with lamb and the right seasonings can go a long way as well. Lamb chops are the most popular and sought-after cut of lamb, but as is often the case, the leg and breast cuts are always popular.
#36 – Lox
A kind of brined salmon that was invented as a means to keep fish stored for longer periods of time – this was of course in the time before refrigerators. It’s basically just salmon with a ton of salt on top, often paired with veggies and cream cheese. A frequent topping for bagels.
#37 – Limburger Cheese
Limburger is most famous for it’s ridiculously pungent smell. Its stench is so strong that it seems to have given cheese as a whole a rep for being stinky. That’s not to suggest that it’s alone but it’s definitely the worst offender among the most famous types of cheese.
Smell aside, it’s got a creamy texture on the inside with a semi-soft surface with a grassy, mushroomy taste and a delicate, tangy aftertaste.
#38 – Lahmacun
A thin, crispy dough, Lahmacun is most frequently topped with tomatoes, minced meat and spices. Its name comes from part of an Arabic phrase, ‘lahma bi’ajeen’, which translates roughly to ‘dough with meat’. It’s sometimes known as Turkish pizza and is a very popular treat in Turkey.
#39 – Lady Finger
Bit of an odd name for these, they are egg-based, crispy cookies that have a very mild taste with the slightest hint of sweetness. They are frequently made to make elaborate desserts like tiramisu, banana pudding and lemon meringue. They can be enjoyed alone or with a serving of coffee or hot chocolate.
While we’re specifically discussing the European biscuit here, it’s worth noting that the term ‘lady finger’ could actually refer to a number of foods. There exists Lady Finger cocktails and Lady Finger bananas, and the term is also a nickname sometimes ascribed to okra.
#40 – Lentil
Much like peas and beans, yet a little bit different from each, lentils are very much a part of the legume family. They’re more colorful than their brethren and come in a real rainbow assortment. There’s black, green, yellow, orange, red and brown lentils out there.
Lentils cannot be eaten raw and generally they’re enjoyed in soups. They can be boiled and eaten on their own as well. Regardless, they’re considered to be a healthy and nutritious choice with tons of benefits.
#41 – Lentil Soup
We don’t want to alarm you but lentil soup is, in fat, soup made from lentils! They’re also joined by vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, celery and carrots and no shortage of herbs and seasonings.
#42 – Lingcod
Lingcod are some truly scary fish, with a scarily good taste! This is definitely a situation where you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover because this fish looks like a nightmare but tastes like a dream…
Their flavor is mild, nearly bland which makes them very easy to season and it’s said that they taste similar to lobster when cooked the right way. Their flesh is dense and white.
#43 – Lakoocha
Much like the loquat entry earlier, the word lakoocha actually refers to the tree in which the fruit is grown from. It’s a tropical tree that’s coveted for its timber as much as its fruit, but obviously the latter is what’s important to our list.
Lakoocha fruit has a yellow, velvety surface and is known for a sweet and sour taste. A nickname for lakoocha is monkey jack fruit.
#44 – Leek
Leeks are a lengthy veggie, most comparable to green onions except they are thicker, milder and flatter. That aside they come from the same family and even have a similar taste. However in comparison leeks aren’t quite as strong. They have a bit of a sweet, buttery taste that onions are certainly not known for.
#45 – Loaf
Loaf is used as a common, generic term today for bread loafs as well as meatloaf and other such loafs. Any food item that’s formed into an oblong shape and then sliced could be described as a loaf by definition today.
Back in the day though the term ‘loaf’ used to be specifically used for bread that’d been baked into one big piece.
#46 – Lavash
A leavened, thin flatbread that is primarily made in Armenia. Lavash are similar to flour tortillas, and they can served like hummus alongside dips or used for wraps.
#47 – Littleneck
Small clams that are able to be found in the sandy, muddy floor of the Atlantic ocean. These little guys can be eaten raw, grilled or steamed. And yes, just to reiterate for those keeping score, ‘little tongues’ refers to a kind of pasta, whereas ‘littleneck’ refers to clams. It’s a strange world we live in…
#48 – Linguica
How about that, after making a nod back to linguini, now we have a food with a very similar name. You might be tempted to assume it’s a variation of linguini, but it’s actually entirely unrelated, including being Portuguese rather than Italian.
Linguica is a smoke-cured Portuguese sausage, which is most commonly topped with paprika for seasoning, along with garlic and dried chilis. Linguica is typically served with rice and beans which altogether makes for a very hearty meal. It’s served in a number of Portuguese dishes like francesinha.
#49 – Limoncello
The name Limoncello sounds like lemon and this time it’s not a coincidence, as it refers to an Italian lemon liqueur. It’s largely produced in Southern Italy and it goes back a way, being thought to have originated over a hundred years ago. It’s made specifically from the zest of Sorrento lemons. This zest is steeped in spirits until all oil is released, then mixed alongside a simple syrup.
#50 – Lamb’s Lettuce
Also known by it’s alternate name of corn salad, lamb’s lettuce has much more to do with lettuce than it does lamb. It’s a veggie with oblong leaves, dark green in color and a lot smaller than most kinds of lettuce. In fact it can be mistaken for spinach. Lamb’s lettuce is known for having a tangy flavor and goes well in salads. It can be eaten raw or cooked alike.
#51 – Limpa
A very sweet bread with a deep tie to Swedish cuisine. Limpa is sweetened with molasses and brown sugar, and is most frequently made with a variety of spices such as anise, fennel seeds and caraway. Limpa is made around Christmas time as a tradition in Sweden.
#52 – London Broil
The term London broil refers to meat that’s been marinated before being seared or broiled at very high heats. That meat is afterward sliced into very thin strips. Generally the meat is used for top-round or flank steaks.
#53 – Lekvar
Lekvar is a very taste dish indeed and is popular in Hungary, where it is better known by its nickname of ‘fruit butter’. Now fruit butter is made with apricots or prunes, and is something of a cross between fruit jams and fruit filling for pies.
More often than not, lekvar is used as a pastry filling and are known to be an easy method of making homemade pies since it only takes all of three ingredients to make it.
#54 – Lady Apple
Unrelated to lady fingers, this term refers exclusively to very small kinds of apples, around a similar size to crab apples, and they have a taste that mixes sweet and sour. There’s a juicy texture to them and their flesh is very tender.
#55 – Land Cress
AKA Barbarea verna, land cress is a very leafy veggie, one that is easier to cultivate in comparison its water cress brethren and requires less water on average. Fortunately, leaf cress can be used as a substitute for water cress in a number of dishes like sandwiches.
#56 – Lovage
An herb with a lot in common with celery, even to the point of being known as mountain celery in Italy. However by comparison the taste is less bitter and has a hint of parsley to it as well. Lovage is great as a garnish or seasoning but can also be eaten all on its own as well.
#57 – Liederkranz
The name liederkranz really couldn’t sound much more German if it tried, but funnily enough, it’s actually an American cheese, that is to say an American version of limburger. It uses a different bacteria for ripening but is otherwise very similar, including the strong, distinctive smell. Said smell can get particularly rancid if the liederkranz isn’t correctly aged.
#58 – Lavender
Thought of as more of an ingredient than food but it’s an herb like any other at the end of the day, lavender finds its way into main dishes, desserts and cocktails alike, showing its versatility. Lavender lemonade is a standout use for the herb.
#59 – Latke
Latke is a nickname for potato pancakes, among many others. In truth there’s not a huge difference, though many swear that there is a distinct difference. They say that latke are thicker, less round and not as smooth as the traditional potato pancake. But that all really boils down to how they’re cooked, as fundamentally there’s not really much of a difference.
#60 – Last Chance Peaches
And we saved the last for last… these peaches are hardly any different than regular peaches but there is one distinguishing factor and that’s the time in which they’re harvested. Their name comes from them being picked late in the season, effectively being harvested at the very last minute.
They’re bigger than your average peach, have yellow and burgundy skin and are noted for their firm yellow flesh. In spite of that firm texture, and despite not having as much juice as a normal peach, they’re still as sweet as ever.
There are all sorts of foods that start with L out there. It’s a fascinating exercise to think about how many you can come up with! Were there any stand out options that we missed? Odds are good that there’s always more we could talk about, since there’s just an infinite array of foods out there.
There’s certainly no shortage of foods that start with this letter, and the same can be said for plenty of others. Which letter do you think might have the most? Maybe one day we’ll find out the answer to that.