Italian food is world’s most popular, Indian cuisine ranks ninth
March 12th, 2019, Bhawna Singh

Italian food is world’s most popular, Indian cuisine ranks ninth

  • In a survey of 24 countries, pizza and pasta take the top spot, closely followed by Chinese and Japanese cuisine
  • Indian cuisine is the ninth most popular in the world

An international YouGov study of more than 25,000 people in 24 countries finds that pizza and pasta are among the most popular foods in the world, as Italian cuisine beats all comers.

We asked people which of 34 national cuisines they had tried and whether they liked or disliked them, with Italian food being the most well-liked. The cuisine received an average popularity score of 84% across the 24 nations we studied.


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 countries 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 enamoured, 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 countries surveyed but Peru was not, meaning that the loyal 94% of Finns who like their own country’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.

Indian food all the way!

Indian cuisine is among the top ten popular cuisines in the world, standing at number nine, with an average popularity score of 62% across the 24 countries.

Other than their own cuisine, which 93% of Indians claim to like, they also have a palate for Italian (80%), Chinese (77%) and American cuisines (75%). However, Indians have lower tolerance for Norwegian, Filipino, Finnish and Peruvian cuisines.

Although 77% Singaporeans and 70% Malaysians like Indian cuisine, the rest of South East Asia has a lower preference for our food. In Indonesia 49% and in Vietnam 44% of those who have tasted Indian food claimed to like it.

In Thailand, on the other hand, people hold the cuisine in disdain, with only 27% who tried it stating they like it. However, it is actually China that has the least liking for Indian food, with only 26% saying they like it.

Indian cuisine is more warmly received in the European countries, with over half the people in the surveyed countries saying they like it. It is particularly popular in Britain (84% of those who have tried it say they like it), Norway (75%), France and Finland (71%).

Nearly three quarter (74%) Australians are fans of Indian cuisine. Even in Middle-Eastern countries, Indian food is a hit, with 76% in Saudi Arabia and 71% in UAE saying they like it.