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Anjali Shah

Exploring The Richness Of Popular Cuisines Around The World

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For centuries, people have been passing down recipes and cooking techniques from one generation to the next, creating a rich culinary heritage that reflects their cultures’ history and traditions. 

Our world’s culinary landscape depicts the ever-evolving reflection of human civilization, creativity, and innovation. From early civilizations with spices and recipes to culinary artists creating fusions and adding new dimensions to traditional dishes – we have witnessed cuisines cross borders over time. 

Today, as food becomes more diverse – we can experience global cuisines without leaving our country. So, let us take a closer look at some of the world’s most popular cuisines and dishes according to the latest data that we’ve collected.

Chart showing most popular cuisines worldwide.

Italian and Japanese cuisines are the most popular cuisines in the world – as of 2023, each has been tagged more than 20 million times on Instagram. 

Italian cuisine offers various dishes to explore, from simple tomato spaghetti sauce to complex risotto flavors. And let us not forget about the wine! 

On the other hand, fresh, seasonal, and intricate preparation methods, low in fat and high in nutrients – Japanese cuisine, too, has gained popularity with sushi and ramen dishes all across the globe. 

Although Japanese food is the second most popular, the nation ranks 11th per its population of over 125 million people. 

The second most populated nation with about 1.4 billion people – India – has the third most popular cuisine in the world with more than 12 million tags on Instagram.

From hearty, aromatic curries and vegetarian dishes from the north to the spicy seafood dishes of the south, Indian food is loved and enjoyed by billions worldwide. 

As we explore the flavors of East Asia, Korean cuisine – known for its spicy and fermented flavors, such as kimchi and gochujang – is reportedly tagged almost 10 million times on Instagram, making it the fourth most sought-after cuisines worldwide, followed by Mexican and Thai food. 

Chart showing the world's most popular meal type.

Food is nourishment as well as a language known to all. Italian cuisine, with its simple yet flavorful dishes, is famous for pizzas which are reported to be the most popular meal mentioned on Instagram. 

America’s cuisine blends Native American, European, African, and Asian influences. This has blessed us with a unique culinary landscape where dishes like fried chicken, mac and cheese, and barbecue are served alongside tacos, pad Thai, and sushi – the fourth most popular meal as of 2023. 

Barbecue is one of America’s most iconic dishes and can be traced back to the Caribbean’s indigenous peoples. European colonists then adopted this practice and brought it to the southern parts of the United States. 

As of 2023, over 30 million Instagram tags related to barbecue have been recorded under the world’s most popular meal types. 

Now, in the south, barbecues are a way of life – it brings people together for social gatherings and celebrations. A symbol of hospitality – barbequing has become a norm in American cuisine.

As the world becomes more health-conscious, fresh, high-quality ingredients in Italian dishes like pasta, risotto, and seafood, have won over people’s taste buds. Seafood also is among the top five most tagged meal types on Instagram. 

With the fast-moving world, American breakfast culture slowly faded away, paving an avenue for brunch – a British meal that gained immense popularity across the states. As of 2023, brunch is the third most popular meal, with more than 35 million tags on Instagram. 

Chart showing the most common restaurants in the top most visited cities.

Be that as it may, Chinese restaurants are the most common eateries found across the top most visited cities in the world.

It is easy to see why Chinese cuisine is sought after by many worldwide – the unique flavors coupled with several healthy options, Chinese food has something for everyone. It ranks 7th among the most popular cuisines in the world. 

With abundant spices home to the Indian subcontinent, Indian cuisine is renowned worldwide for its rich blend of spices and flavors. It is one of the planet’s most diverse and exciting cuisines, with ancient culinary traditions dating back over 5,000 years! 

It is not surprising that Indian restaurants are the third most common food places across the world’s top most visited cities. 

Japanese food is versatile and adaptable to local tastes, and Japanese restaurants are the fourth most common restaurants across the world’s most visited cities. 

This could be because of the Japanese culinary culture of “Omotenashi,” which emphasizes hospitality and attention to detail. This has made dining in Japanese restaurants a unique and memorable experience for billions! 

When we talk about food, we see the diversity of cultures and traditions. American cuisine is a melting pot of flavors mixing with traditions and cultures from around the globe. All the states combined offer various dishes that depict their diversity. 

This can also be seen in American restaurants worldwide – the fifth most common restaurants across the top most visited cities. 

South to East Asia – Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian cuisines are known for their bold and vibrant flavors, thanks to chili, lemongrass, and other fragrant herbs and spices. From pho in Vietnam to pad Thai in Thailand, Southeast Asian cuisine is a feast for the senses.

As a matter of course, Thai restaurants are the 7th most common restaurants found in the top most visited cities, followed by Mexican restaurants. 

Be it tacos or gourmet Mexican cuisine, there is a dish to suit every taste and occasion. This adaptability has made it a popular choice for everything from casual to fine dining experiences.

Chart showing most available cuisines by city.

Regarding affordability, Chinese food is easily accessible in bustling cities worldwide like Singapore, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and more – making it easy for people to try different dishes of bold flavors and a wide range of ingredients. This cuisine is also very popular in Dublin, Ireland, where more than 25 percent of restaurants provide Chinese food. 

On the other hand, with more than 8 percent of Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, we can say that Mexican cuisine has captured Angelenos’ hearts and taste buds. 

Mexican cuisine has become an integral part of LA’s food scene, and it is not hard to see why – the proximity to Mexico. Mexican food comes with a vibrant blend of indigenous and Spanish culinary traditions resulting in a unique flavor profile that is both bold and comforting.

Over time, traditional recipes have adapted modern takes and are emerging across different parts of the world. One great example of such influence would be the growing popularity of chai tea, turmeric latte, and chicken tikka masala – a fusion of Indian and British cuisines. 

Similarly, Indian expatriates have boosted their food and culture’s popularity in faraway places like Dubai, where traditional Indian cooking was introduced before any other. Currently, about 8.3 percent of restaurants in Dubai cater to Indian food. 

Chart showing cities where the local cuisine isn't the most available cuisine.

Italian is the most available cuisine in cities like Cairo, Rome, and Venice. It is surprising to see that Italian food is more available in Cairo when compared to their own local cuisine. 

Be that as it may, LA’s large Mexican-American population has made Mexican cuisine more popular than local food. We can see a thriving culinary scene with many restaurants and food trucks serving authentic Mexican dishes.

Mexican food is also known for using fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, avocados, and chili peppers, widely available in Los Angeles’ year-round sunshine. 

Cuisines are popular due to their unique flavors, cultural significance, historical legacy, and health benefits. Food varies widely depending on the region, ingredients available, and cultural traditions.

Explore your country’s delicious delicacies and flavors and experience the rich tapestry of diverse cuisines, each with its own story. 


Cuisines were used based on being national or regionally recognized, with meal types being those centered on a cooking method or specific item.

We looked at the 50 most visited cities according to the Govisity list and also listed down 65 cuisines around the world. For each city we counted the restaurants which serve these 65 cuisines. The restaurant data is taken from Foursquare api. We looked at 82,995 restaurants in those cities that might have the capability to serve multiple cuisines.

For popularity measures, we looked into Instagram. We searched for all 65 of the cuisines, 18 meal types and their hashtagged posts and collected their frequency. The data is updated as of 2023 and contains all the postcounts in instagrams lifetime.

For each city, the dataset has got its most available cuisine, based on a ranking of the percentage of restaurants in the city that serves that cuisine. In most of the cities, the local cuisine was the winner. However In some cities like Amsterdam and Cairo, that’s not the case. Also In cities like Paris and Moscow, the difference in popularity between local cuisine and other cuisines is less pronounced.

As from the previous analysis, local cuisine is not always the most popular. So, the next question becomes, for each cuisine which cities are the top. For each cuisine we listed and ranked the top city where they are most available.

Popularity of local cuisine varies across different cities. So, we examined the degree of availability enjoyed by local cuisines in each of the 45 cities (local cuisine data for 4 Saudi Arabian cities and Macau was not available). We ranked each city with the percentage of local cuisine restaurants it houses.

Most Available Cuisines in Top Visited Cities: We rank the most available cuisines restaurants which are in the top 50 most visited cities in the world based on the average percentage of each cuisine type restaurant found in those cities.

Cities Where Local Cuisine Isn’t the Most Available: When exploring the most popular cuisines, we noticed that 10 cities didn’t have their local cuisine rank as the most popular. This dataset contains those cities and their respective most available cuisines.

Most Popular Cuisines: As food is one of the most popular sections of instagram, the frequency of posts can represent simple form popularity measurement in this section. This dataset contains frequency of hashtags containing the cuisines as per ranked.

Most Popular Meal Type: The dataset contains 18 meal types and their respective count of hashtagged Instagram posts. The final dataset is ranked based on the frequency of each type’s post number.

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