According to an empirical view known as “the flavor principle”30, the differences between regional cuisines can be reduced to a few key ingredients with specific flavors: adding soy sauce to a dish almost automatically gives it an oriental taste because Asians use soy sauce widely in their food and other ethnic groups do not; by contrast paprika, onion, and lard is a signature of Hungarian cuisine. Can we systematically identify the ingredient combinations responsible for the taste palette of a regional cuisine? To answer this question, we measure the authenticity of each ingredient ( ), ingredient pair ( ), and ingredient triplet ( ) (see Methods). In Fig. 4 we organize the six most authentic single ingredients, ingredient pairs and triplets for North American and East Asian cuisines in a flavor pyramid. The rather different ingredient classes (as reflected by their color) in the two pyramids capture the differences between the two cuisines: North American food heavily relies on dairy products, eggs and wheat; by contrast, East Asian cuisine is dominated by plant derivatives like soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice and ginger. Finally, the two pyramids also illustrate the different affinities of the two regional cuisines towards food pairs with shared compounds. The most authentic ingredient pairs and triplets in the North American cuisine share multiple flavor compounds, indicated by black links, but such compound-sharing links are rare among the most authentic combinations in East Asian cuisine.