These are America’s favorite foods from around the world

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
Linley SandersData Journalist
March 12, 2019, 3:30 PM GMT+0

On average, American food only received an average popularity score of 68% across the globe

America loves Italian and Mexican cuisine, but its own hotdogs and hamburgers aren’t exceptionally popular on the world stage.

An international YouGov study of more than 25,000 people in 24 markets finds that American food ranks 7th out of the 34 cuisines. YouGov asked people which of 34 national cuisines they had tried and whether they liked or disliked them. Italian cuisine beat all other fares, with pizza and pasta standing among the most popular foods in the world. The cuisine received an average popularity score of 84% across the 24 nations we studied.

For US residents, food from Italy (88%) was beaten out only by their devotion to American cuisine, which earned 91% popularity domestically. Italian food was closely followed by Mexican dishes (86%), which America ranked the highest out of all surveyed markets. Respectively, Chinese cuisine (84%), Spanish meals (79%), and Japanese cooking (74%) followed for most US natives. Americans were least likely to enjoy Emirati (23%), Saudi Arabian (24%), and Finnish (27%) cuisines, which are less prevalent in the country.

American food ranks seventh globally and is favored by 68% of the people surveyed—with only people in the Philippines (93%) ranking the cuisine higher than most Americans do. Residents of Singapore (83%), Taiwan (76%), and the UAE (75%) also rated American food very favorably. On the opposite end of the spectrum, American food is the least popular in Spain (49%), China (51%), and Germany (53%).

Patriotically, the biggest fans of Italian food are Italians themselves, with 99% enjoying their national cuisine. Other big fans include Spaniards (94% of those who have tried it say they like it) and the French (92%), while the least impressed by Italian food are the Chinese (59%).

Second place behind Italian food goes to Chinese cuisine, which scored on average 78% across the markets surveyed. It’s liked by 95% of Chinese people, with Singaporeans (94% of those who have tried it say they like it) and Hongkongers (91%) also particular fans. The cuisine is least popular in Saudi Arabia (54%) and Indonesia (57%).

The world’s third most popular cuisine is Japanese, scoring an average of 71% across the 24 nations. Aside from the 94% of Japanese people who like it, 94% of Singaporeans who have tried it also do, as well as 93% of Hongkongers. Once again it’s the Saudi Arabians who are least enamored, with only 43% enjoying it.

At the bottom of the table comes Peruvian cuisine, which received an average score of only 32%. Scoring only fractionally higher (and rounding to the same percentage score) was Finnish cuisine.

It should be pointed out, however, that Finland was one of the markets surveyed but Peru was not, meaning that the loyal 94% of Finns who like their own market’s cuisine was enough to give them the edge. Had the study included Peruvian opinions then Finnish cuisine would likely have come bottom.

The lowest opinion any nation had for another nation’s cuisine was Japan towards Saudi Arabian cuisine, with just 11% of Japanese people who have tried it saying that they like it.

In fact, the survey finds that Japanese people are the harshest food critics of any nation surveyed. Of the 34 cuisines we asked about, 23 scored less than 50% among Japanese respondents. On average only 39% of Japanese people said they liked any given foreign food.

By contrast, it’s Filipinos who are the most likely to appreciate international cuisine. An average of 67% of Filipinos who had tried any given cuisine said they liked it, with only five types of food being liked by fewer than half.

See the full YouGov survey results here.

Image: Getty