June 23, 2024

15 Best Cuisines in the World

In this article, we take a look at the 15 best cuisines in the world. If you would like to skip our detailed analysis of food cuisines, you can directly go to the 5 Best Cuisines in the World.

The Global Food Industry

According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the global food service market was valued at $2.39 trillion in 2022. The industry is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.79% from 2023 to 2030, reaching $5.42 trillion at the end of the forecast period. The food service industry refers to all businesses that prepare and serve food, either for takeaway or on-premise consumption. Examples of these include restaurants, canteens, university cafeterias, and catering services. In 2022, the Asia-Pacific market held the largest share in the industry, amounting to $944.71 billion.

Another report by Fortune Business Insights valued the US food service market at $824.6 billion in 2022. From the forecast period of 2023 to 2030, the market is expected to grow to $1.7 trillion at a CAGR of 10.03%. The ethnic food market, which includes international cuisines such as Asian, Mexican, and Italian, has also been growing in size. In 2023, a report by Fortune Business Insights valued the ethnic foods industry at $81.59 billion. From the forecast period of 2024 to 2032, the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.34%, reaching $153.21 billion by the end. Within the ethnic foods market as well, Asia-Pacific held the largest segment, amounting to $38.22 billion.

Cuisine Preferences – Analysis of Social Media Trends

Social media trends can give us essential insights into consumer preferences. To gauge the popularity of various cuisines around the globe, we conducted a hashtag analysis through Instagram. As of April 29, 2024, the term ‘Italian food’ had been mentioned in Instagram hashtags 23 million times, making it the most tagged cuisine on the platform. The second spot was held by Japanese cuisine with 22.4 million tags, followed by Indian food (18.5 million tags), Korean food (10.5 million tags), and Mexican food (9.9 million tags). Thus, Instagram tags showed that most people on the platform were talking about Italian food. Chinese and Thai cuisines were also trendy, with around nine million hashtags for each.

We also evaluated the popularity of certain cuisines by conducting a keyword analysis through Semrush, which showcased different results. We checked global volumes, which Semrush defines as the total number of searches for an analyzed keyword in all databases. The search volume data on Semrush is updated every month. As of April 29, 2024, the term ‘Chinese food’ had a global search volume of 1.4 million, of which 450,000 searches were from the US. Furthermore, the term ‘Chinese food near me’ was the top related search, with a global volume of 3.4 million. Based on these statistics, Chinese food is the most searched cuisine in recent days. The second spot was held by Thai food (549,000 global searches), followed by Indian food (496,400 global searches), Mexican food (480,900 global searches), and Korean food (410,000 global searches).

Mexican Popularity in the US

Our analysis of Instagram hashtags and global searches showed that Mexican food was in the top five spots on both platforms. According to a report published by the Pew Research Center on January 11, 2024, 11% of the restaurants in the US serve Mexican food. This means that every one in ten restaurants around the country focuses on Mexican cuisine. The report further stated that 85% of US counties have at least one Mexican restaurant, and those without them tend to have small populations. The 15% of counties that do not have Mexican restaurants only have a population of four million individuals.

California and Texas are the states with the highest number of Mexican restaurants, collectively accounting for 40% of the total. California is also home to several cities with the largest fast food consumption in the US, making it an excellent state for food enthusiasts. The report also evaluated the states where Mexican restaurants made up the highest share of total restaurants. These were Southwestern states bordering Mexico, showcasing that geography can affect how cuisines spread through a country. In New Mexico, Mexican restaurants make up 22% of all restaurants. In Texas, they make up 20%. In Arizona, 18% of all restaurants are Mexican.

The report also noted certain common features among these restaurants. Out of the total Mexican restaurants, 22% are categorized as fast food restaurants, 12% specialize in tacos, 8% are food trucks or carts, and 6% offer Tex-Mex food, which is a blend of Mexican and Southern American culinary features. PRC also noted that most Mexican restaurants were towards the inexpensive price scale. When evaluating restaurants whose pricing was publicly available, 61% only had one dollar sign on Yelp, emphasizing their moderately priced food. Less than 1% of restaurants had three dollar signs or more.

Lastly, the study noted that while Mexican food was considerably popular around the country, other Hispanic cuisines did not share the same level of fame. Even though 85% of counties had at least one Mexican restaurant, only 29% had at least one Hispanic or Latino restaurant which was not mainly Mexican. Previously, in a 2023 study, PRC discovered that 12% of all US restaurants served Asian food. Of these, 71% serve either Chinese, Japanese, or Thai. In total, 73% of US counties have at least one Asian restaurant of any cuisine. Certain Japanese restaurants also made their way into our list of the most expensive restaurants in the world.

Biggest Mexican Names in the US Food Scene

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) is one of the biggest Mexican restaurant chains in the US, with a market capitalization of $87.954 billion as of April 29, 2024, and nearly 3,500 restaurants in North America and Europe. On April 24, 2024, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) announced its earnings for the first quarter of fiscal year 2024. The company reported earnings per share of $13.37, outperforming EPS estimates by $1.69. The company’s total revenue for the quarter amounted to $2.70 billion, showcasing a year-on-year growth of 14.07%. Here are some comments from the company’s Q1 2024 earnings call:

“And finally, expanding access and convenience by accelerating new restaurant openings in North America and internationally. I’ll begin with our world-class people leadership. Last month, we held our All Manager Conference, where we brought together 4,500 of our restaurant and support center leaders to celebrate their success, as well as amplify our focus on exceptional people, exceptional food, and exceptional throughput. The conference included over 3,200 general managers, 100 apprentices, 450 field leaders, 60 team directors, and 11 regional vice presidents. For the first time, we also included crew members who have worked with us for over 20 years to celebrate their commitment and dedication to Chipotle. In fact one of our general managers in attendance from Denver, Colorado has been with Chipotle for 23 years and she also had four crew members from her restaurant who have each been with the company for over 20 years.”

On April 22, 2024, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) announced that it had opened its first restaurant in Kuwait. This marks Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.’s (NYSE:CMG) first location in the Middle East. The company also has a location planned for Dubai, which is set to open later this year.

Taco Bell, owned by Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), is also one of the biggest and most popular Mexican restaurants in the US. The taco chain has around 7,200 restaurants in the US, which serve over 40 million customers each week. This makes it one of the fast food chains with the most restaurants in the world. Since the beginning of 2024, Taco Bell has announced the launch of several new items, including fruit beverages, five new menu items based on Cantina chicken (a slow-roasted chicken with Mexican spices), and a return of its nacho fries. The chain’s parent company has been going through upgrades as well.

On April 1, the Wall Street Journal reported that the technology chief at Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) had a plan to turn Taco Bell and Pizza Hut into ‘AI-first’ restaurants. One of the examples of the company’s increased focus on AI is the SuperApp for its employees. This app allows restaurant workers to order ingredients, schedule shifts, and even use augmented reality to learn specific recipes. The app is currently in use in around 8,700 locations of Pizza Hut and KFC, both of which chains are owned by Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM).

While Mexican cuisine has been popular in the US for several years, other cuisines have also been making their way into the public’s good books. With this context, here is our list of some of the best cuisines in the world.

15 Best Cuisines in the World

15 Best Cuisines in the World

15 Best Cuisines in the World

Our Methodology

In order to compile a ranking of the 15 best cuisines in the world, we conducted a consumer survey through Reddit. We perused three different threads that asked commenters to mention the best cuisines they had ever tasted. Each thread had at least 600 comments, which showcased its activity level. Across the three threads, we had a total of 3,235 comments. We reviewed all comments and shortlisted cuisines that had at least 100 upvotes in total. The cuisines are ranked in ascending order of upvotes. Based on this methodology, here are the 15 best cuisines in the world according to a sentiment analysis of Reddit users.

Note: This list is not exhaustive and does not reflect our opinion. The ranking is solely based on the opinions of mass consumers on Reddit.

15 Best Cuisines in the World 

15. Moroccan 

Reddit Upvotes: 115

Moroccan food ranks 15th on our list of the best cuisines in the world based on Reddit upvotes. According to one Reddit user, Moroccan cuisine comprises several unique dishes, both meat-based and vegetarian. The food is also rich in spices, which adds a lot of flavor.

14. Singaporean

Reddit Upvotes: 116

One Reddit user pointed out that Singaporean food was a melting pot of several other cuisines. It managed to bring together Indian, Thai, Malaysian, and Chinese flavors, balancing them all out with each other.

13. Turkish

Reddit Upvotes: 249

Turkish food is 13th on our list of the world’s best cuisines. Most Reddit users were of the opinion that Turkish food was quite underrated. According to one user, the fusion of foods across the Europe-Asia border makes Turkish cuisine quite unique.

12. Peruvian

Reddit Upvotes: 308

Most Reddit users who voted for Peruvian cuisine said they were surprised by it, as they had not expected it to taste delicious. According to one commenter, Peruvian food offers something for everyone. Several people pointed out that seafood tends to be one of the best parts of the cuisine.

11. French

Reddit Upvotes: 319

While people might expect French cuisine to rank higher on the list, it only received 319 upvotes on our Reddit survey. On one side of the spectrum, people called France the ‘food capital of the world,’ while others found the food severely overrated. However, one user who had lived in France, Spain, Japan, and Thailand mentioned that France had the best produce out of all the countries. It ranks 11th on our list of the best cuisines in the world.

10. Vietnamese

Reddit Upvotes: 438

Vietnamese food ranks tenth on our list of the best cuisines in the world, with 438 upvotes on Reddit. Most food enthusiasts liked it for its fusion of French and Asian flavors, along with the fresh taste of all the dishes.

9. Greek

Reddit Upvotes: 441

Greek cuisine was popular on Reddit for its delicious seafood, good wine, and plenty of vegetarian options for those who do not indulge in meat-based products. It is ninth on our list of the best cuisines in the world, securing 441 upvotes on Reddit.

8. Korean

Reddit Upvotes: 456

One individual on Reddit pointed out that while Korean cuisine was filled with comfort food options, it could also be revered quite a bit for the complexity of its flavors. Most users commented on the immense spice used in Korean dishes, which might make it a bit hot for certain people.

7. Chinese

Reddit Upvotes: 486

Our analysis of social media searches showcased that Chinese cuisine is one of the most searched-about in the world. It ranks seventh on our list, with most Reddit users praising the country for its variety of regional cuisines. Another commenter pointed out that Chinese cooks can get creative with ingredients that many other cuisines might not have considered using.

6. Spanish

Reddit Upvotes: 564

Spanish food ranks sixth on our list of the best cuisines in the world, with 564 upvotes on Reddit. According to one user, the Valencian and Catalonian cuisines were the best of all the options in Spain.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Cuisines in the World.

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Disclaimer: None. 15 Best Cuisines in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.