North American and Western European cuisines tend to use ingredients that share flavor compounds, while East Asian and Southern European cuisines tend to avoid ingredients that share flavor compounds, according to a study by Northeastern University network scientists.

The findings — which were reported in the December edition of the online journal Scientific Reports — appear to debunk the food-pairing hypothesis, which is based on the principle that foods that share flavor compounds taste better together.

“Some scientists in the molecular gastronomy community think foods with similar compositions taste well together, but we found that it really depends on the region,” said coauthor Albert-László Barabási, a Distinguished Professor of Physics with joint appointments in biology and the College of Computer and Information Science. More