Are These Truly the 75 Best Foods in the World?
Have you ever eaten something you enjoyed to no end and immediately declared it the best thing you’ve ever eaten? Of course you have!
Food has a way of making us exaggerate, which is fitting for the ranking of the best foods in the world by TasteAtlas, a website that aims to catalog and promote global cuisine in all its forms. The list is created with user ratings that are always changing, so these are the opinions of everyday eaters and not restaurant critics who raise their pinky fingers when sipping tea.
We decided to analyze the food ranking to decide whether or not we agree. We were shocked by some of the entries, while pleasantly surprised by others. Many, many foods were omitted, and there are some popular dishes in here that just really shouldn’t be.
There’s something magical about the flavor of sweetened, deep-fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar. Add a cup of thick melted chocolate, and you have the stuff of dreams. Crispy, crunchy, sugary, chocolatey — churros play well with all the pleasure centers.
Spanish explorers brought these treats to the New World, and nowadays, they are particularly popular in Mexico but can be found throughout Latin America.
*Note: Rankings are at the time of writing and constantly change.
Do Churros Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Although they came first, churros are the evolution of doughnuts. We’re certain Charles Darwin would agree.
And when doughnuts appear later in this list (you know it’s going to happen), we will lament whatever high ranking they receive.
Cheese, flour tortillas and a griddle pan. That’s all you need to create one of the world’s greatest snacks. Mexicans know what they’re doing in the kitchen like few other cultures, but they also know when to dial it back and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Melted cheese is good for that.
Quesadillas, of course, can have many additions like meat, beans, sour cream, salsa and veggies, but they must always include cheeses that melt well.
Do Quesadillas Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Quesadillas are a perfect food, and we have enjoyed them big and small since childhood with no plans of stopping anytime soon.
73. Mexican Tamal
Here’s another reason to appreciate Aztecs and their contributions to modern society: the tamal, or tamales when you have more than one. These are simple to an extreme, using cornmeal dough called masa that’s pressed into a dried and rehydrated corn husk then filled with something sweet or savory, wrapped up and steamed.
It all melds together seamlessly and is best enjoyed with some sort of salsa.
Do Mexican Tamales Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! There’s a reason tamales are sold fresh, frozen, on street corners and in bars out of large coolers turned heaters.
They’re cheap, tasty and filling, a vehicle for basically any flavor you desire at that moment.
This Korean dish translates to “fire” and “meat,” which couldn’t be more appropriate for something that is spiced meat cooked over a barbecue.
And while that might sound too simple to be considered one of the world’s finest foods, it’s the marinade of honey, sesame, soy sauce, garlic and scallions alongside interesting sides that make bulgogi memorable.
Does Bulgogi Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! It’s hard to go wrong with grilled meat (salt, acid, heat and fat), and bulgogi is as tasty as it comes.
Eat at any Korean restaurant, and marvel at the abundance of plates on the table. Koreans have 1,000 different condiments that all play an essential role in the overall meal. They range from mild to spicy to funky to … whoa, is that even edible?
Bibimbap is like the to-go version of this restaurant experience, literally translating to “mixed rice.” Meat, veggies, rice, egg and red pepper paste-sauce called gochujang create a blissful lunch or casual dinner.
Does Bibimbap Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Bibimbap is like Korea in a clamshell box and a terrific example of controlled culinary chaos.
70. Parmigiano Reggiano
Not to be confused with the inferior parmesan cheese, which can be made anywhere, true Parmigiano Reggiano comes from a few places in Italy and is aged from a year to several years.
Aging this cow’s milk cheese gives it a nutty flavor and gritty texture that makes it the perfect grating cheese. That’s why it’s so popular over Italian foods, but it should have space next to any of the common cheeseboard occupants.
Does Parmigiano Reggiano Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Parmigiano doesn’t get enough credit, and people often balk at its high price tag and opt for something “domestic.” Poor choice.
Pay the few extra dollars for one of the world’s greatest cheeses.
As iconic to France as the Eiffel Tower and arrogance, the baguette is an understated masterpiece the likes of Monet and Matisse could only dream of. Dating back to the 1800s, its name is rooted in Latin for “stick.”
Its unmistakable shape is due to a law about working hours and the need to bake bread faster in the morning. It seems so French to care about human rights while also demanding a proper breakfast — no wonder the baguette is now part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Do Baguettes Deserve This Ranking?
No, it should be much higher! Butter and brie on a baguette — few things are more perfect.
We’re curious to see what other bread styles make the top 68, but we think baguettes are getting shorted here.
Soft or hard, the pretzel is perfect. In soft form, the deep-brown exterior provides a lovely snap and counterpoint to the soft and luscious interior. Don’t be shy with your hot and tangy mustard.
And boy oh boy do they pair well with beer, likely because they contain virtually the same ingredients. Germans are practical if anything. If you want to take your burgers or hot dogs to 11, put them in pretzel buns.
Do Pretzels Deserve This Ranking?
No, like the baguette, it should be much higher! We just adore pretzels because they’re simple and reliable — and, to be considered a true pretzel, they must be dipped into a lye solution before baking.
The fact that you need a hazmat suit to whip up a batch of pretzels is pretty awesome.
67. Cellophane Noodles
Better known as glass noodles, this starchy unleavened dough is made from water and mung beans, yams, cassava or potatoes. It is a popular soup noodle in China and also does well in a stir fry, absorbing flavors while retaining texture.
That’s about all there is to say about glass noodles, as they have never in history been the star of a dish.
Do Cellophane Noodles Deserve This Ranking?
No, it shouldn’t even be on this list! Clearly voters enjoy the dishes in which these noodles are contained and have therefore inflated their value.
Try a bowl of plain glass noodles, and then tell us they’re a global top 75 food.
66. Thai Curry
Finally, back to something edible. Thai curry is so much more than your Wednesday night Uber Eats order. Whereas other curries are thick and stew-like, Thai curry resembles soup more than anything else, and that’s due to coconut milk or water (for super-spicy versions).
Fresh herbs like Thai basil and cilantro and aromatics like lemongrass elevate the umami big time. Thai families eat curry on a daily basis, and for good reason — it’s lovely.
Does Thai Curry Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Even the worst Thai curry is good.
And the best ones are transcendent in a way only expertly crafted food can be.
Among the smorgasbord of chilly and raw seafood dishes it’s easy to forget that one of Japan’s most beloved foods is a warm and hearty stew.
Thanks to Britain’s superiority complex, curry was introduced to this Asian island nation in the 1800s. As curries go, it’s rather straightforward and generally served over rice or noodles or tucked into a pastry shell.
Does Kare Deserve This Ranking?
Sure! We’re neither offended nor excited about this ranking, mostly because we almost never eat kare?
Let’s be real, though, there are tons of better curries out there.
Few things in life are as simple and satisfying as skewered and grilled meats. Thank goodness for the Maillard reaction, which is what happens when meat browns. Indonesians go crazy for satay, and it’s easy to see why.
The country's national dish can be found at the grimiest street vendor up to the fanciest restaurant. It’s marinated with expressive chilies and herbs. Sometimes instead of beef or chicken, they skewer crocodile and snake meat.
Does Satay Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Meat on a stick never gets old. It helps when it’s heavily seasoned and grilled.
We’ll also take a healthy cup of peanut sauce for dipping, thank you very much.
63. Chocolate Chip Cookie
The origin story of the chocolate chip cookie reads like a Hollywood fairytale of American baked goods royalty. In the 1930s, a woman running the Toll House Inn was given a newfangled chocolate bar by her friend Andrew Nestlé, which she then broke into pieces and added to her cookie dough.
She eventually served it to Duncan Hines, who then published a book about roadside eateries that would be read by millions. True story.
Do Chocolate Chip Cookies Deserve This Ranking?
No, it should be ranked much higher! Every kid’s perfect moment consists of a cold glass of milk and a pile of chocolate chip cookies. As we grow older, the milk turns into coffee or tea, but the satisfaction never wanes.
This is the type of perfect comfort food that wraps itself around you in a bear hug and never lets go. It’s in our personal top 10.
Fajitas are without a doubt the granddaddy of Tex-Mex cuisine — meat and veggies cooked fast at a high temperature and tucked into a tortilla. It was actually Mexican ranchers in Texas who first created the dish in the 1940s, but it didn’t make it into the Tex-Mex vernacular until the ’70s.
Fajitas are often gussied up with sour cream, cheese and guacamole.
Do Fajitas Deserve This Ranking?
No! We’ve never been fans of fajitas and don’t think they deserve space in the top 75. Yes, it was always fun to watch the heavy cast iron pans emerge from the cantina kitchen making so much noise that every table turned to watch.
But in the end, the dish is more sizzle than substance.
India's bread often takes a backseat to whatever it’s served with — basically, any Indian food — so it’s easy to overlook. Cooked in a tandoor oven, naan is usually slightly charred and brushed with ghee. Sometimes, it contains fillings like potatoes, onions or garlic.
It was introduced to India in the 1300s by a Persian poet, and when it’s good, it’s epic.
Does Naan Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We couldn’t imagine an Indian feast without copious rounds of naan to soak up the sauces.
The Japanese have a word for foods that are influenced by Western culture: yoshoku. Tonkatsu is the dish pictured with the word’s definition. It’s a breaded and fried pork cutlet, very similar to German schnitzel but with a different breading.
The great thing about tonkatsu is its versatility, pairing with virtually anything — with ramen, in a sandwich, with miso or rice noodles, or served alongside curry for katsu kar.
Does Tonkatsu Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! It’s meat that’s breaded and fried.
It’s almost impossible not to enjoy this dish.
Not to be confused with the swine feed pushed at 7-Eleven and sports games, a true nacho uses real cheese and toppings beyond pickled jalapeno. And yes, it was first created for gringos in the 1940s.
Over the years, Americans really sank their teeth into this dish and made it their own — complete with piles and piles or extras like meat, sour cream, beans, salsa, more meat, more sour cream, extra cheese, chilies, even more cheese, etc.
Do Nachos Deserve This Ranking?
No, this is too high! Nachos might deserve top 100 real estate but somewhere in the high 80s or 90s.
They’re fine for those drunken nights out when literally anything tastes good, but 7-Eleven and sports kind of ruined this dish.
Whoever came up with the saying “big things come in small packages” must’ve been talking about dumplings. Wontons are but one variety of the mighty dumpling, but they are easily the most recognizable.
Often called Chinese “ravioli,” wontons are a thin dough skin filled with meat, seafood or veggies, or sometimes a combo of them all, and scrunched up into a little ball. They’re briefly steamed and served piping hot with a dipping sauce. It’s easy to eat 100 and not realize it.
Do Wontons Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We’re certain other dumplings will appear on this list, so introducing us to this most superior food category with the humble wonton is a good call.
Udon noodles are one of the staple foods of Japan. They’re long, thick and pleasingly chewy. They can be served with anything, but a traditional dish sees the noodles bathing in a broth of soy sauce, dashi and mirin.
Otherwise, they may accompany whatever is in season. Once the food of royalty, they are now the cheaper of Japan’s two noodles (along with soba).
Does Udon Deserve This Ranking?
No! They’re just noodles. At this point, almost at the halfway mark, we want to be impressed.
It doesn’t cut it that something is popular with the locals so, therefore, it's ranked too high.
56. French Fries
Whether you call them pommes frites, Belgian fries or French fries, they are one of the world’s most perfect foods. Something intensely enjoyable happens when you deep fry a stick of potato twice. Even if you only do it once, however, the result will be sublime.
Belgians are credited with perfecting this dish, but the French will argue otherwise. It doesn’t really matter since deep-fried potato sticks can be found throughout the world. Mayo, mustard, ketchup, gravy — the toppings really don’t matter, it’s all about the texture of the potato.
Do French Fries Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We struggled a bit with this one, thinking fries should be ranked higher. After all, can anything ruin your day faster than a soggy fry?
But 56 is a good number for this humble dish.
A refined version of Mongolian one-pot cooking that actually originated in China but is wildly popular throughout Japan, shabu-shabu is named for the sound the thin slices of meat make when dipped into the cooking liquid (swish, swish).
This is a communal dish that can use all manner of meat or seafood, although beef is the most common. It’s served with rice and various pungent sauces and sides.
Does Shabu-Shabu Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Food is as much about community as anything, and this is a dish to be enjoyed by a large group of friends or family enjoying each other’s company.
It helps that it tastes amazing, too.
One could make a top 100 canapé list, and it would only cover a tiny portion of the wide world of these miniature French appetizers.
They must have a bread base component, and they must be consumable in one single bite. The rest is up to you — put whatever you want on top, the possibilities are endless.
Do Canapés Deserve This Ranking?
Sure! We’re not super-excited about canapés, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with them.
That said, we personally would have chosen several different things for the 54th spot.
Whether developed specifically as a new confection or made by accident, fudge is a popular American treat that consists of cream, chocolate, butter and sugar heated and cooled into a soft paste that holds its shape well. Fudge can also be gooier as a topping for desserts or ice cream.
It’s believed to have originated in Baltimore in the late 1800s. It became so popular in the early 20th century that entire fudge factories popped up around the country.
Does Fudge Deserve This Ranking?
No! When we think of fudge, we think of our aunt bringing small sandwich bags (the kind with no ziplock) to the holiday gathering filled with a vaguely chocolate-looking substance that has a sort of grayish-white coating.
People are expected to take a bag as a holiday treat — but, honestly, we wish we could just politely decline.
Created centuries ago before the advent of chopsticks, these little balls of rice were easy to eat with your hands. Nowadays, you’ll find onigiri anywhere people go in Japan — it’s like the ultimate on-the-go snack.
And it’s even better when filled with fish, plums, or pickled or grilled veggies and wrapped with a piece of nori seaweed.
Does Onigiri Deserve This Ranking?
No! Onigiri is fine, but 52nd best food in the world?
Even if you’re including booze, this ranking is way off.
This is one of those simple and comforting foods that Mexicans seem to do so well. To make enchiladas, take a tortilla (corn or flour) and soak it in chili sauce. Then, stuff it with meat, veggies, cheese or all of that, roll it up, and tuck it into a casserole dish that has a layer of sauce on the bottom.
Once full, drench the entire thing with chili sauce, and top with cheese, bake and devour. Repeat when necessary.
Do Enchiladas Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! If you can’t tell by now, we’re huge fans of Mexican food. Often overlooked or simply dumbed down for Americans, Mexican food never gets the credit it deserves as one of the world’s greatest and most intricate cuisines.
Enchiladas are not very intricate, but they’re divine when done well.
Somewhere between tortillas and phyllo sheets you will find yufka. It’s a thin (but not phyllo-thin) dough that makes the base of börek (also burek, byurek, byrek or böregi), a savory or sweet pie that came about during Ottoman rule and is popular throughout the Balkans.
A typical Balkan breakfast is a slice of börek with drinkable yogurt. If that’s peasant food, then get us some land to farm.
Does Börek Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Börek’s crust is flaky, oily and crunchy in a way that a pie shell will never be able to achieve.
Round pies are great, but börek is something else.
No matter what your gutter-minded uncle says, the French pronounce it “keysh” and give it feminine names like Lorraine and Florentine.
A classic quiche will be filled with bacon, cheese, mushrooms and eggs, and it’s just as good warm or cold.
Does Quiche Deserve This Ranking?
No, this is way too high! Quiche is fine. It’s good even. But it’s not going to shatter your idea of memorable cuisine.
It will do but not as the 49th food in the world.
Variations on this dish are everywhere, but the Turkish version has a distinct flavor profile that makes it truly memorable as a simple meze component. Spice levels vary, and some köfte are coated with egg and fried. Other versions contain obscene amounts of butter, while yet another is named after the sound it makes when the meat hits the hot grill.
Köfte also gets bonus points because one of its beverage pairings is turnip juice, very much an acquired taste.
Does Köfte Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Heat, salt, acid and fat. It just works.
47. Pizza Napoletana
Naples, Italy is where this pizza version first came about and where it is still the best in the world.
Pizza is a study in time and heat. One must have the patience and care to bring the dough to fruition. And the oven that the dough enters must be scorching hot so as to achieve a blistered crust with a soft interior. At this point, the toppings are secondary, which is why it’s so brilliant that a traditional Neapolitan pizza simply consists of dough, cheese and tomato sauce.
Does Pizza Napoletana Deserve This Ranking?
Yes and no! This could easily be in the top 10, although we believe “pizza” will appear alone high on this list in due time.
But the Neapolitan preparation is easily the best version.
46. Pasta Carbonara
Sometimes, the best meals are the most basic and unexpected. Carbonara fits this profile to a T. Spaghetti, guanciale (cured pig jowl; similar to pancetta), egg yolks and Pecorino Romano. That’s all it takes to create one of the world’s best noodle dishes.
There’s much debate about whether this is a Roman dish or something created out of necessity after World War II. Either way, we’ll take seconds.
Does Pasta Carbonara Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! It’s creamy, salty, chewy and filling.
It’s a warm blanket, roaring fire and rom-com in one bowl of pasta.
Known simply as bao, this Chinese breakfast staple can be a steamed bun stuffed with barbecued pork (char siu bao), a dumpling filled with soup and meat (xiao long bao) or a large steamed bun filled with pork or crab stock (tangbao). Whichever way you order them, they are divine.
This is what you’ll find at dim sum houses or Chinese bakeries if you live somewhere with a Chinese population. Figure that out and find yourself some bao.
Do Baozi Deserve This Ranking?
No, it should be much higher!
We go nuts for soup dumplings, easily a member of our personal top 10. They are unique and delicious.
Thankfully, we’re back to skewered and grilled meat, in this case chicken pieces on bamboo or metal rods that can be seasoned salty or salty-sweet and cooked over charcoal.
In Japan, there are special shops dedicated to selling this one item. It’s also popular at the Japanese equivalent of a gastropub, called an izakaya. And since each bite should be washed down with a gulp of beer, this makes sense.
Does Yakitori Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Admittedly we rarely if ever eat yakitori, but as you’ve come to know we are obsessed with skewered and grilled meats.
Often crowded out of the cheeseboard by dairy products with more exotic names, cheddar is like the infantry soldier. It does the grunt work in many dishes, often outshone by a more dominant flavor or more pungent cheese but nevertheless always there and always reliable.
Occasionally, it shines bright in the form of Stilton, Fiscalini or Kerrygold. It also takes to aging as well as any cheese, with some versions up to eight or 10 years old.
Does Cheddar Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We are pleasantly surprised to find cheddar on this list at all, let alone at No. 43.
Good for you, cheddar. You’re finally getting the recognition you have long deserved.
All you need to make this blank canvas of a dish is durum flour, water, patience and determination. Toppings and sauces are endless. The result is the stuff of dreams.
Interestingly, spaghetti came about in the 12th century when Sicily was under Arab rule.
Does Spaghetti Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! When made well and cooked perfectly, the textural pleasure of a mouthful of spaghetti is hard to match.
41. Pad Thai
The national dish of Thailand is a noodle stir fry with few equals. Its main components are tofu, shrimp, bean sprouts, peanuts and egg — each with a distinct purpose that contributes to the overall texture and essence of the dish.
In the end, your pad Thai is perfect if salty, sweet and sour are harmoniously balanced in every bite.
Does Pad Thai Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! If you want to know the quality of a Thai restaurant, just try their pad Thai.
They say Switzerland is a melting pot of people and cultures, so it stands to reason that the unofficial national dish is a melange of ingredients and aromas that play nice with each other.
Fondue also has a great back story. Swiss alpiners once subsisted through winter on wine, cheese and bread alone, but after a while, the cheese and bread would go stale. In order to revive them, someone came up with the brilliant idea of melting the cheese in wine and dipping the hard chunks of bread into the mixture to rehydrate them.
Does Fondue Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! It’s a bowl full of melted cheese that stays melted. You dip things into it. It’s perfect.
39. Afternoon Tea
This one’s a stretch, but not quite a stretch like alcohol since there is a food component to afternoon tea. That food component is fussy little nibbles like the tiniest sandwiches you’ve ever seen.
It matches the fussy nature of Brits, who adore this 3 to 5 p.m. activity like no one else in the world. The tradition dates to the 19th century and was started by a socialite duchess. How very British.
Does Afternoon Tea Deserve This Ranking?
Heck no! Even with fussy little foods, afternoon tea is drab and stuffy, and the nibbles can’t even provoke a starving hound.
A creamy curd that is often mistaken for cheese, ricotta can be made from cow, goat, sheep or water buffalo milk and is an Italian staple for both savory and sweet dishes.
Does Ricotta Deserve This Ranking?
No! There’s nothing wrong with ricotta, but it’s far from the 38th best food in the world.
We can think of 38 kinds of cheese we’d rather eat right now.
Milkshakes originally resembled eggnog more than the ice cream beverage we know today, and they were made with whiskey and intended as a healthy drink. That was the 1880s — boy, what a time to be alive!
Ice cream and milk now form the foundation of a shake, but that’s only the beginning. Whatever you crave, you can add it to your shake. That does still include whiskey.
Does Milkshake Deserve This Ranking?
No! We have nothing against milkshakes and might enjoy one from time to time, but we’d never place it anywhere near the top 40 foods in the world. It’s just too … meh.
There are a couple of foods that define Greek cuisine, and feta is one of them. There are serious rules governing its production, and anything made outside of Greece is nothing more than an impostor — especially if cow’s milk was used. Greeks only make it with sheep milk and occasionally some goat milk, but never more than 30 percent.
Feta is great in salads and with pasta but can and should be eaten alone with olive oil and oregano.
Does Feta Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! It’s one of the most ancient foods around and has stood the test of time as well as anything.
The Italian equivalent of feta, mozzarella is also an ancient cheese and one of the defining foods of Italy.
It dates to 4th century BC and is best fresh, soft and stretchy. This cow’s milk cheese is the essential component of many Italian dishes, like Caprese salad or pizza.
Does Mozzarella Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Without mozzarella, we wouldn’t have pizza.
Now, that's a scary thought!
When you think about food and its impact on a people, nothing quite compares to the tortilla and its place in Mesoamerican history and modern-day Latin America. The original practice of harvesting and drying corn kernels for masa flour, then mixing it with water and forming small balls that are pressed into thin tortillas is still alive with native Indian tribes.
Corn is the OG tortilla ingredient, and Spaniards are largely responsible for the wheat flour version we know so well today.
Does Tortilla Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Tortillas are so important to Latin American cuisine, specifically Mexican, that they are well deserving of a top 35 spot.
They’re also delicious, even if simply warmed up and eaten plain.
33. Fish and Chips
Nothing quite says “you’re in England” like grease-stained newspaper sheets wafting around in the summer breeze of Blackpool. If it’s not newspaper, make sure there’s something to soak up the oil, which is both the blessing and curse of fish and chips.
Too much oil that isn’t hot enough and you have a soggy mess of a lunch. But when it’s right, it’s everything. Don’t forget the malt vinegar and lemon juice for a much-needed flavor pulse.
Does Fish and Chips Deserve This Ranking?
Maybe! Top 100, yes. Top 35...
We’re torn here, as we consistently order fish and chips lusting after that perfect bite of shatter crust and fleshy Atlantic cod when everything seems right in the world. Yet more often than not, that is a pursuit akin to the dog chasing his own tail.
We’ve reached the holy grail of skewered and grilled meats. Brazilians saw kebabs and laughed. They saw yakitori and satay and cried from laughter. Like Crocodile Dundee, they pulled out the real knife and shoved it into giant pieces of beef, veal, pig and chicken. Slabs, slices, steaks, chops — all brought to heights previously unknown through serious fire roasting.
Never mind that gaucho Europeans brought it to Brazil in the early 19th century, it’s Brazilian to the animal bone. At a churrascaria, the final product is paraded around for all to see and admire like a debutante. It’s a scene and one worthy of your attention.
Does Churrasco Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! This is an appropriate number considering there are similar cooking methods in other countries — although not nearly as extravagant — and the lack of Brazilian steakhouse presence on the international culinary circuit.
It seems so American that the sundae was created in America. It’s the definition of excess.
You take a bunch of super-sweet things that are already desserts and combine them together into the sweetest concoction ever created, drop a fake cherry on top and some nuts for appearance’s sake, and you have the ice cream sundae.
Do Sundaes Deserve This Ranking?
No! Sugar shouldn’t be consumed at these levels unless under the supervision of a trained professional.
Delicious and nutritious. That pretty much sums up hummus, a food of the gods. And it’s so simple. Chickpeas, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and garlic.
There’s a reason so many people scoop this up like liquid gold. It’s a great side dish to a proper Mediterranean meal, goes great with your morning eggs, or can be enjoyed plain with bread, a stream of olive oil and a dusting of paprika.
Does Hummus Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We make hummus all the time, and we’re firm believers in the Israeli version that dials up the tahini to previously unseen levels.
If you want to make it the creamiest thing that’s ever touched your lips, take the time to individually peel the cooked chickpeas.
The name of this dessert translates to foam in French, which is appropriate for something so light and fluffy that you just float away into the chocolate clouds while eating it. Mousse is one of those desserts that always falls into the “indulgent” category, likely because it usually ends up as the foundation of a more intricate dessert.
It’s unclear who created mousse, but the first recipe appeared in the latter half of the 1800s.
Does Mousse Deserve This Ranking?
No, this is too high! Mousse is great, but it’s not top 30 great.
Mousse has never changed anyone’s life or set the world on a new, better course. We’d take a gussied up milkshake over this alpha pudding any day.
Popular throughout Latin America, ceviche is the national dish of Peru (where it’s usually spelled “cebiche”). Raw fish, large corn kernels, sweet potato, chili and onion traditionally comprise ceviche, and Peruvians bathe it all in leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk. This is what actually “cooks” the raw fish. It also adds heat and acid to the dish.
Ceviche is another dish notable for pre-dating Europeans in the New World, although the cooking liquid changed when Spaniards brought limes to South America.
Does Ceviche Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Light and refreshing, ceviche reminds us of warm days and cold beers.
While all ceviche variations are interesting in their own right, the Peruvians really know what they’re doing.
27. Fried Chicken
There’s nothing particularly refined about fried chicken, but that’s the point. This is something you eat with your hands and enjoy with your soul. It’s great with the bone in or out, inside a torpedo roll or atop sliced white bread.
Coat it with the deepest spicy sauce you can handle, or scarf away on plain drumsticks. As long as it hits the tender and juicy notes and the coating is crunchy, the spices can be subtle or aggressive.
Does Fried Chicken Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We are in total agreement on this one, although many folks would have it ranked much higher.
That’s understandable, given fried chicken’s diplomacy with palate preferences and the fact that recipes are closely guarded family secrets in much of the southern U.S.
26. Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese
Not to be confused with spaghetti and meat sauce or anything bearing the name Chef Boyardee, tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese is a specific type of pasta dish that can only be found in Bologna. And it would never be served with spaghetti, as this deeply flavored and slow-cooked sauce is best with wide noodles like tagliatelle, fettuccine or pappardelle.
That’s because this dish is all about the sauce, which either makes it an impostor or the 26th best food in the world.
Does Tagliatelle al Ragù alla Bolognese Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Italy is a place where food dreams become reality, and ragù is serious business.
Everyone has a recipe that they acquired through the generations, and they can take all day to prepare. It’s slow food at its pinnacle.
Ah, doughnuts. From Homer Simpson to police officers nationwide, doughnuts are as American as apple pie and Friday night lights. The best ones are airy and light thanks to yeast in the dough and a quick dip in scalding hot oil. But the cakey ones, particularly those in the Northeast flavored with apple cider, have their time and place.
Regardless of your style preference, it’s the toppings and fillings that make or break this anytime treat, and nowadays, they are more inventive than ever. We’re looking at you Voodoo Doughnut.
Do Doughnuts Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! If someone tells you they don’t like doughnuts, they’re an awful liar.
It’s impossible to resist the siren song of deep-fried sweet dough.
A proper biryani is so enticingly fragrant with cardamom, bay leaves and coriander that you’ll be drooling over it long before that first bite hits your fork. Once reserved for the upper class of Indian society, biryani today is an everyone food.
And it’s one of the simplest, most flavorful dishes anywhere. It starts with basmati rice. Then comes meat, eggs or vegetables, followed by countless other options like nuts, yogurt or dried fruits.
Does Biryani Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! While some folks might consider 24th place a bit high for biryani, they just haven’t had a truly wonderful version in which the rice was perfectly cooked and the ingredients married together flawlessly.
When people think about noodle soup, they often envision a piping-hot bowl of this Vietnamese classic. In the Southeast Asian nation, pho is a way of life, and no two bowls ever taste the same. The broth is a daylong affair alone.
Pho likely originated under French occupation of Vietnam, a descendent of pot au feu, but this is merely speculative.
Does Pho Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! There’s only one noodle soup in the world that’s superior to pho, and we guarantee that it will appear on this list in no time.
It seems like macarons have been the sweet treat for years now. Maybe that’s because they are rage worthy. Little circles of sugar bliss. When the French nail it with food, they hit grand slams with the bases empty.
An early version of this meringue cookie was created in Italy for a royal French wedding in 1533, but a Frenchman added the ganache filling sandwiched between two meringues. And a legend was born.
Do Macarons Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Macarons are delightful, take to pretty much any flavor and look gorgeous lined up together at the bakery.
The description “dense and chewy” perfectly encapsulates the brownie, which is a beloved American dessert of unknown origin. But they became huge in the 1950s when Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker started making boxed versions that were a breeze to make at home (not that a from-scratch recipe is difficult at all).
The key with a brownie is to have way too much chocolate, in multiple forms, in the recipe and to leave them slightly underbaked to achieve a buttery, fudgy consistency. And don’t forget the milk!
Do Brownies Deserve This Ranking?
No! We’re dumbfounded by this one.
Brownies are good, and we’ve made countless batches in our life, but they’re pretty basic and simple — and maybe that’s how they achieved this level of adoration. We, however, will pass.
Inspired by Korean bulgogi and galbi, this cooking technique is so popular in Japan that they established Yakiniku Day on Aug. 29 in its honor.
Yakiniku means cooking bite-size pieces of food on a grill, such as meat and vegetables that are not marinated. Numerous sauces accompany the meat and veggies.
Does Yakiniku Deserve This Ranking?
No! We’re guessing that because this is like Korean barbecue where you cook your own food, people just think it’s so fun.
But really, it’s just tiny pieces of food with various dipping sauces. It’s not the 20th best anything in the world.
This dessert is named for an Italian expression that means, “pick me up.” That’s fitting for something that is, at its core, coffee, sugar and booze. It also contains ladyfingers and mascarpone cream and is usually dusted with cocoa.
Tiramisù is perhaps the youngest dish on this list, having first appeared in 1981. Nevertheless, it was an instant classic.
Does Tiramisù Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Coffee, booze and sugar are wonderful things, and they’re even better together.
God could’ve stopped when he got to the burrito. This is the world’s most perfect food for several reasons. One, everything inside a burrito is awesome all on its own because each element took care and precision to make. Two, a super burrito touches on all the food groups for a balanced if calorie-heavy meal.
Its origins are foggy, but the iteration we know today was perfected in San Francisco’s Mission District in the 1960s.
Do Burritos Deserve This Ranking?
No, it should be higher! It’s in our personal top five. Burritos never disappoint when so much other food certainly does.
Wagashi are Japan’s traditional candies, always made from plant-based ingredients like rice or beans and flavored with various fruits and nuts. They are served with tea.
Wagashi dates back to the Edo period beginning in the early 1600s when sugar became a household item.
Does Wagashi Deserve This Ranking?
No! The only type of wagashi we’ve ever had is mochi. And the only kind of mochi we’ve ever had was filled with ice cream.
It’s never really disappointed us, but it’s also never memorable in the way a top 17 world food should be.
16. Mac and Cheese
With a few simple ingredients you can have a bowl full of the world’s most comforting comfort food. Elbow macaroni and cheese sauce — that’s it. Sure, you can layer crunchy add-ons or savory meats, but in the end, it’s the pasta and cheese interplay you crave so much.
Mac and cheese generally comes baked, which dries out the sauce, and the saucier versions with bechamel tend to be more upscale. Either way, it’s a bear hug of a dish.
Does Mac and Cheese Deserve This Ranking?
No! Unpopularly, we are going to challenge this one because, while there is nothing wrong with mac and cheese, it’s awfully boring when all is said and done.
We can think of 50 foods we’ve already seen on this list that we’d rather eat right now.
Roti’s name derives from the Sanskrit word for bread, and indeed, roti is an unleavened whole-grain bread with Indian origins that’s popular throughout the world.
In India, it will likely accompany rice and curry dishes. In the Caribbean, it will be used like a lavash or tortilla to wrap food into a sandwich.
Does Roti Deserve This Ranking?
No! Roti is not the 15th best food in the world.
And if we had a choice, we’d always take a plain tortilla first.
If there’s a more in-vogue sweet than the cupcake, we haven’t heard of it. And this popularity has been going strong for years now. Perhaps, that’s the portable nature of the cupcake, or the fact that, while it’s indulgent, it’s small enough to not feel guilty about. Or maybe it’s because they’re simply darn tasty.
Cupcakes came on the scene in the early 1800s in America, and they have been refined over the years to become anything from an afternoon snack to a wedding cake alternative.
Do Cupcakes Deserve This Ranking?
No, it’s too high! For us, cupcakes are like brownies — all hype, little reward.
We’ll eat them — heck, we’ll devour six at a kid’s party while no one is looking — but we’d never think to order them and have never rued the day we forgot to visit the cupcake shop.
The croissant was invented when a Frenchman challenged the notion that no more butter could possibly fit into a piece of dough. We kid! But, really, the croissant is a study in butter and its effects on flour — and the human brain.
A properly made croissant will be puffy, flaky, slightly sweet and elastic. This means the yeast activated and the dough was never allowed to get too warm. And when this happens, the heavens split open and angels sing sweet lullabies.
Do Croissants Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Croissants are food perfection. Put some chocolate in there, and oh, my word.
Toss in ham and swiss and get out of the way, we’re coming at you. Elevate an egg sandwich to new heights by putting it inside a croissant.
Not to be confused with a cheeseburger (stay tuned), the humble hamburger is bun and patty at its most basic. But to achieve burger enlightenment, one must add a variety of toppings and sauces that overload the senses — crunchy, salty, sweet, vegetal, piquant, tangy and spicy.
Hamburgers are most closely associated with America thanks to McDonald’s and other fast-food chains, but they can be found anywhere in the world.
Do Hamburgers Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We love hamburgers, with or without cheese. They’re certainly making sure to not describe cheese here, so don’t be surprised when cheeseburger is ranked higher than hamburger.
Like dumplings, how about just an all-encompassing single category?
It starts with arborio rice and stock. Soon, it becomes manna from heaven. Butter, cheese, wine and saffron are popular add-ins, but risotto’s genius is in its simplicity. The two most important ingredients are quality rice and stock that you’d quickly drink from a cup if you weren’t using it in your risotto.
There’s no definitive story about the origin of risotto, but Arabs most certainly introduced rice to Italy in the Middle Ages.
Does Risotto Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Risotto is divine.
It’s one of those dishes that makes you think it took all day and 100 special ingredients, but the truth is that the simplest foods are often the best.
10. Dim Sum
The art of eating small dishes rapidly best describes this Chinese institution. A true dim sum experience is best while sitting down at a restaurant where carts of tiny foods stream by your table, enticing you to grab one of everything.
You’ll eat so many dumplings, different rolls, noodles, tarts and even pudding you’ll be glad for the piping hot jasmine green tea to wash it all down. Hong Kong is known for having some of the best dim sum in the world.
Does Dim Sum Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Dim sum makes our personal top 10, too. Not only is it delicious, it’s fun to go to a place that still uses the carts.
It’s like Christmas every time they open the steaming trays to reveal a steaming basket of goodness.
It might be Chinese in origin, but it’s Japanese in culture and preparation. Mochi is made by taking glutinous rice and pounding it to death.
Then, you can use it to wrap up ice cream or some other sweet filling like bean paste or strawberries. It can also be a savory item, but it’s most common as a dessert or sweet treat.
Does Mochi Deserve This Ranking?
No! Mochi is a type of wagashi, which already made the list.
Also, if we described the milkshake as "meh," then we don't really know what to say about this. It's certainly not top 10 status.
The difference between a cheeseburger and hamburger is all in the name. Otherwise, they are exactly the same thing. And in recent years, in the U.S. at least, they have become a gourmet item that sometimes costs $20 or more at a restaurant.
But one of the great things about cheeseburgers is that they are just as delicious at a dingy diner as a Michelin-starred gastropub.
Do Cheeseburgers Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! We’ve been down this road before.
The categorization of this list leaves much to be desired, but there’s no arguing with the deliciousness of a cheeseburger.
Jiaozi are traditionally eaten around Chinese New Year, although their popularity worldwide makes them available anytime. These Chinese dumplings are often served with a soy-black vinegar-sesame dipping sauce, and they are stuffed with a veggie or meat mince.
Their pinched, folded and elongated shape makes them one of the most recognizable dumplings in the world.
Does Jiaozi Deserve This Ranking?
No, this is too high! We adore dumplings, but if bao and wontons aren’t ranked this high, why jiaozi?
And why not just put them all together into a Chinese dumplings category? Now, we’d put that in our personal top five.
This Spanish classic comes with a special pan just for making it. Paella usually consists of saffron rice with various meats, veggies and seafood, some cooked with the rice and some piled on the finished product.
But the pièce de résistance is something called socarrat. This is the crispy rice bottom of a paella that wasn’t stirred after the stock was added.
Does Paella Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Paella is the ultimate one-pot meal, and the crispy rice bottom is otherworldly in texture and flavor.
Dating back to the 8th century, sashimi is perhaps as straightforward as food comes. All you need is the freshest fish you can possibly get.
It helps if it’s tuna (any variety), salmon, scallops or octopus, but the key is the quality. If it’s good enough, you don’t need any soy sauce, wasabi or ginger — the fish carries everything.
Does Sashimi Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Raw fish gets the heart palpitations going faster. No arguments here.
The ultimate Mexican food is the taco. It’s a true representation of the country, with each region having its own or multiple versions of this delicacy. But for a delicacy, it’s best eaten on a street corner with hot oil dripping down your sleeve and your eyes rolling back into their sockets because you’re experiencing early onset food coma.
Fish tacos, carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, rolled and fried tacos — find them all and never let them go.
Do Tacoss Deserve This Ranking?
Yes, yes, yes! Tacos are our personal No. 1 best food in the world.
There’s a moment of clarity that comes with every serving of ramen. It’s when you’re sitting there and the bowl has just arrived in front of you. The fragrant bone broth (or clear miso version, if you must) crawls into your nostrils and starts playing pinball with your olfactory system.
You eye the rounds of rolled pork, the bean sprouts, the perfectly jammy egg yolk, the herbs, the greens and that mound of al dente noodles that form the textural pleasure you will remember for the rest of your life. Turn on, tune in, drop out.
Does Ramen Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Plain and simple.
From the grocery store or 7-Eleven to a Morimoto restaurant, sushi (or something resembling it) is everywhere. It’s Japan’s most popular food, and it’s much more than rolls and chunks of raw fish.
In fact, sushi must only contain vinegared rice to be called sushi, so there are a lot of individual dishes that make up the sushi universe. Makizushi (bite-size roll slices) and nigirizushi (chunk of fish atop a ball of rice) are the most popular along with chirashizushi, which is a bowl of vinegared rice topped with raw items like fish and veggies.
Does Sushi Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! The second-best food in the world is sushi. Japan dominated this list, so we’re good with this ranking because their food is exquisite.
Loyal, reliable, hardworking, pizza is the definition of “the simplest foods are the best.” Because all you really need in life is bread, cheese and a nice tomato-y sauce.
Margherita is the most basic, but quality za can include a wide number of ingredients from pepperoni to olives to pesto and everything in between. Now, we’re partial to the traditional ingredients and wouldn’t be caught dead ordering pineapple on one of these, but that’s what’s so special about the pizza. You can really make it your own.
Does Pizza Deserve This Ranking?
Yes! Like sushi, pizza has been recreated and served up the world over.
In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person that has never tried a slice. Even those with allergies have found gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives to this heavenly food.