World's Most Popular Cuisines, According to Instagram
Love makes the world go round and food is love, so — figuratively and literally — food makes the world go round. Now more than ever, different types of gastronomies are also making their way around the globe, thanks to an unprecedented interest in trying new dishes.
While every cuisine has its merits, some are more universally appealing than others. There's a reason why you'll find Japanese, Italian and Thai in basically any corner of this green, green world.
But which cuisine reigns as the queen bee of flavor? These are the 28 most popular cuisines in the world, according to Instagram data.
28. Colombian Cuisine
No. of tags: 306,000
While a relative newcomer to the international gastronomy scene, Colombian food is finally getting the recognition it deserves.
Dishes are pretty standard, with rice, meats and vegetables making up most meals. Condiments are used sparingly, and spice makes only sporadic appearances. Yet the country has managed to master the art of subtlety, standing out in its use of contrasting flavors, particularly sweet and salty.
*Ranking and data are based on Chef's Pencil "Top Cuisines on Instagram (All-Time Rankings)" report.
Best Colombian Food to Try
The crown queen of Colombian cuisine is bandeja paisa, a gigantic concoction that features four or five types of meats, rice, eggs, plantains, beans and avocado.
27. Dominican Cuisine
No. of tags: 310,000
Like many Caribbean islands, Dominican cuisine comes from Taino, African and Hispanic heritages. You'll find rice and plantains in abundance as well as pork, corn, fresh tomato sauce and sofrito, a mix of herbs and spices that gives everything an extra bit of flavor.
Wherever and whenever you get Dominican food, make sure you come hungry. Portions are always very generous, and the food tends to be filling.
Best Dominican Food to Try
Try la bandera dominicana, which translates to "the Dominican flag."
Considered the national dish, this hearty meal consists of rice, beans and your choice of meat.
26. Polish Cuisine
No. of tags: 312,000
Central European cuisine usually doesn't get much attention, so it's great to see that people enjoy some good Polish food.
Common ingredients in Polish cuisine are cabbage, bread, sausages, fermented vegetables and potatoes. The food is meant to be packed with vitamins and nutrients to make up for long periods of limited sunlight in the winter.
Best Polish Food Dish to Try
To survive the long and cold Polish winters, locals love to sip a hot bowl of zurek.
This comforting soup is made with fermented bread flour, sausages and egg.
25. Cuban Cuisine
No. of tags: 400,665
Because of travel restrictions, not as many people have tried authentic Cuban food the way it's done on the island.
Still, Cuban restaurants outside of the country do a good job at keeping true to Caribbean flavors, even with new creations like the famous Cuban sandwich — which was actually invented in Tampa, Florida.
Best Cuban Food to Try
An island staple that you have to try is ropa vieja, or "old clothes."
The dish is made with shredded marinated beef and perfectly juicy roasted pork.
24. German Cuisine
No. of tags: 407,000
The most famous German food outside of Germany is sausage, usually accompanied by a tall glass of beer. And while these two items definitely have a special place in the hearts of Germans, there is so much more to this country's cuisine.
Pork is still the king of meats, but it is consumed in a variety of ways, like breaded in schnitzel or slow-roasted. Wurst and sauerkraut are other classic German foods, as is the pretzel and asparagus — no, really, Germans really love asparagus season.
Best German Food to Try
To get out of the usual, try konigsberger klopse. These meatballs are served in a creamy white sauce and topped with capers.
They are usually accompanied by potatoes.
23. Moroccan Cuisine
No. of tags: 453,000
One of the things people love the most about visiting Morocco is getting to try its cuisine.
Nuts and dried fruits like dates are extremely popular, as they provide sweetness, texture and nutrients. Food is usually heavily spiced, with saffron, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon being some of the most common ingredients in traditional dishes.
Best Moroccan Food to Try
There are many delicious Moroccan dishes, but the two most famous ones are couscous and tajine.
Both include a type of grain, steamed vegetables and often meats.
22. Persian Cuisine
No. of tags: 456,000
Like other Middle Eastern cuisines, Persian gastronomy uses rice as its base food, with meats, nuts and vegetables added.
Herbs and spices are used heavily to give fragrance and flavor. Dried fruits are also common, particularly raisins, plums, prunes and apricots.
Best Persian Food to Try
Kebabs are one of Iran's most famous and appetizing foods.
We also like khoresh aloo, a stew made with meat and prunes that is the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
21. Brazilian Cuisine
No. of tags: 482,000
Churrasco is the Brazilian food that you'll find around the world. And no one can deny that just the mention of the juicy meat skewers is enough to make their mouth water.
But a trip to Brazil will show you that there are so many lesser-known but equally tasty Brazilian dishes. Beans and rice are every day staples, usually flavored with spices and accompanied by fish, chicken or beef.
Best Brazilian Food to Try
Definitely try the BBQ, but don't forget to also order a feijoada. This hearty stew of black beans and pork is the national dish of Brazil.
In our opinion, it's also the most underrated of the country's cuisine.
20. American Cuisine
No. of tags: 734,000
Many people think that American food is McDonald's and IHOP. But that's their loss since they miss out on the absolute gems that the country's cuisine provides.
Yes, there are burgers, but there are plenty of places that make them gourmet. Meat is significant, particularly in states like Texas and Missouri, where you'll have some of the best BBQs in the world. Not to mention that the country's giant coastline provides all the seafood dishes you could ever want, with Maine lobster, Maryland crabs and marlins in Florida.
Best American Food to Try
If you really want to see where the U.S. shines, try Southern food. With heavy African influences, Southern food uses a generous amount of spices that give it an addictive kick.
Try shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes or pulled pork.
19. Jamaican Cuisine
No. of tags: 848,000
Out of all the Caribbean, Jamaica may have the most famous food.
Like Southern food, Jamaican cuisine is influenced by African traditions, brought to the island by enslaved people. This has translated to heavy spices and the use of delicious vegetables like okra.
Best Jamaican Food to Try
Jerk chicken is the country's most famous dish.
If you haven't tried it yet, go ahead and search for the closest Jamaican restaurant, and dine there today.
18. Lebanese Cuisine
No. of tags: 1.083 million
Lebanese food shares elements with other Middle Eastern food, such as grains, dried fruits, legumes like chickpeas, and herbs and spices.
There is also an abundance of fresh seafood, courtesy of the country's long coast. Olive oil is used on most dishes, though lemon juice is also typical.
Best Lebanese Food to Try
Try a juicy and tender shawarma if you're in the mood for something very filling.
Or, for something lighter, go for fattoush, a light but delicious pita salad.
17. Spanish Food
No. of tags: 1.275 million
Spain can be proud of its music, its landscapes, its world-class museums and its gorgeous architecture. But maybe the best thing about Spain is its gastronomy.
Cured hams, cheeses, olives and wines make it difficult to not spend most of the day eating. Order tapas to try different flavors. Some of the best small plates are patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), montaditos (small sandwiches) and tostada (bread with olive oil and tomato sauce).
At the end of a meal, go to a churro place to get the sugared dough dipped in chocolate.
Best Spanish Food to Try
Paella is, of course, the country's signature dish. Originally from the region of Valencia, it consists of rice, meats, spices and tomatoes cooked slowly in a specific pot that looks like a flatter wok.
Authentic paella is made with rabbit and chicken, though its most popular version is with seafood and fish.
16. Nigerian Cuisine
No. of tags: 1.284 million
Nigerian cuisine comes out as the most favored African food on Instagram. We're not surprised.
Though spice level varies by region, Nigerian food is notoriously hot, but this is part of what makes it so darn good. Rice and starches like cassava, yams and plantains are consumed at least once a day.
Best Nigerian Food to Try
The Nigerian national dish is jollof rice, one of the best dishes on the African continent.
It is made by cooking long-grain rice, meats, vegetables and spices in a single pot.
15. Peruvian Cuisine
No. of tags: 1.32 million
Peru is the sole country in South America with generally spicy cuisine. This has set it apart from the rest of the continent.
Ceviche is the most exported dish, but other gems include aji de gallina (spicy chicken in cream), papas a la huancaina (potatoes bathed in a special sauce) and lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with rice).
Best Peruvian Food to Try
If you can only try one dish, make it ceviche. Many people think ceviche is raw fish, but the meat is actually cooked with generous amounts of lime juice.
Don't ask us how the alchemy works; we just know that it works and that the end result is magical.
14. Turkish Cuisine
No. of tags: 1.339 million
Because of its geographic location, Turkey combines the best of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, two of the world's richest gastronomic traditions.
Meals start with mezes, small appetizers usually divided into hot and cold. Kebabs are a staple, but so are seafood dishes. Expect fried cheeses, sticky desserts and tasty dried fruits.
Best Turkish Food to Try
Pide, often called Turkish pizza (though it differs in taste), is a general favorite with both locals and foreigners. Sadly, not all Turkish restaurants outside of the country serve this flavorful meal.
But if you find one that does, don't hesitate to order it.
13. Malaysian Food
No. of tags: 1.715 million
The Malaysian population is generally divided into indigenous ethnic minorities, Malays, and ethnic Chinese and Indian people. This mix has made the country a veritable melting pot for languages, cultures and, of course, food.
That is the secret to the succulence of Malaysian cuisine, which has yet to explode on the international scene but is very popular in Southeast Asia.
Best Malaysian Food to Try
Try dishes like lam soup; pulut kuning, made with glutinous rice; and mee goreng mamak, a Muslim Indian noodle dish with shrimp, meat, vegetables, egg and soy sauce.
12. French Cuisine
No. of tags: 1.736 million
Typically considered one of the finest cuisines in the world, French food is a leader in world gastronomy.
Traditional dishes tend to be buttery and oily, yet manage not to be heavy and to triumph in the difficult game of subtle tastes. Some must-try dishes include escargot, or snails, which are so much more delicious than you'd think, as well as frog legs and apple and blood sausage.
Best French Food to Try
But where French cuisine really shines is in the desserts, which have changed the way the rest of the world eats sweets.
Head to a bakery and order pan au chocolat, macarons, religieuses or — if you want to bring it back to basics — a perfectly baked croissant.
11. Greek Cuisine
No. of tags: 1.836 million
Greek cuisine is synonymous with Mediterranean cuisine. Famous for being tasty as well as healthy, an abundance of fish and olive oil is often cited as one of the reasons why Greek people live longer than others.
As in Turkey, mezes are eaten at the start of the meal, with small dishes like dolma being extremely popular.
Best Greek Food to Try
Some main dishes include moussaka, an eggplant and lamb dish that looks like lasagna but has a dried texture and tastes a bit more tart. Then, there are gyros, the food that Greece has exported the most.
Within the Mediterranean country, you won't find it wrapped and sold as street food but rather served on a plate and eaten with a fork.
10. Filipino Cuisine
No. of tags: 1.94 million
Spain colonized the Philippines for over 300 years, which is why you'll find dishes like adobo and lechon, typical in both Spain and Latin America.
But despite hundreds of years of colonization, the country managed to hang on to its own culinary practices. The mix has resulted in unique gastronomy that you won't find anywhere else. Fruits are a major part of everyday life, as is seafood — which is not surprising, given that the country is made up of over 7,000 islands.
Best Filipino Food to Try
Kare-kare is a distinctively Filipino stew made with oxtail and peanut sauce.
Also make sure to order chicken inasal, a grilled chicken in sauce.
9. Vietnamese Cuisine
No. of tags: 3.181 million
Ask anyone what they think about Vietnam, and one of the first things they'll mention is the food. It's hard to explain the secret behind the magic.
Bánh mì sandwiches are quite popular, summer rolls are crunchy and refreshing, and bun cha serves up grilled pork with cold noodles and papaya for a surprisingly good combination of tastes.
Still, there is one Vietnamese dish that reigns supreme in our hearts...
Best Vietnamese Food to Try
How does a beef stew taste like tangible happiness? We have no idea, but that's exactly what pho does.
We love pho so much that we ranked it as the best dish in all of Asia.
8. Indonesian Cuisine
No. of tags: 4.178 million
With about 6,000 populated islands, Indonesia has great culinary diversity. Each region developed its own gastronomy, which often has little to do with those of other areas.
Still, most places in Indonesia rely heavily on rice, noodles and soup.
Best Indonesian Food to Try
Nasi goreng is the country's national dish and one you are likely to find no matter where you are.
It is made with fried rice, fermented carrots and a thick soy sauce.
7. Chinese Cuisine
No. of tags: 7.487 million
As the fourth largest and most populated country in the world, it's hard to talk about Chinese cuisine without going into generalizations. Every region's gastronomy differs widely, particularly when it comes to traditional food that relies heavily on native plants.
That said, most regions in China do enjoy rice and noodles as staple food bases. Tofu and soy sauce are also widely used.
Best Chinese Food to Try
One of the most recognized dishes is the famed Peking duck, whose roasted meat is perfectly thin and crispy.
You'll find it at many non-Cantonese Chinese restaurants.
6. Mexican Cuisine
No. of tags: 7.903 million
People around the world confuse Mexican and Tex-Mex. And while both cuisines are delicious, we have to say that there is something absolutely wonderful about authentic Mexican food.
There's a joke about how all Mexican food consists of tortillas, meat, vegetable and sauces. We won't deny this is pretty true, but Mexicans have managed to make each dish distinct and absolutely delicious.
Culinary gems include pozole, a hearty meat soup, and chile en nogada, a large stuffed pepper bathed in sauce. Then there are the more well-known enchiladas, chilaquiles and flautas.
Best Mexican Food to Try
Not to be a cliche, but if you don't have the fortune of trying every Mexican dish possible, there is one that you absolutely cannot miss.
Yes, we're talking street tacos, the kind that are round and small, served with shredded meat and verde sauce. You've probably had tacos before, but we assure you truly authentic street tacos are very different from what you imagine and even more delicious.
5. Thai Cuisine
No. of tags: 8.13 million
We could go on and on about the wonders of Thai cuisine, so we are not surprised to see it rank within the top five most popular cuisines.
Make sure you try the spicy shrimp soup tom yum goong, green and red curries, khao pad fried rice and the amazing dessert, mango sticky rice.
Best Thai Food to Try
Pad Thai may have been invented in the 1930s, but it's still one of the best foods in the entire world.
Like tacos, it's a cliche for a reason, and it's one of the country's most absolutely delectable dishes.
4. Korean Cuisine
No. of tags: 8.704 million
Ten years ago, the world at large was fairly ignorant when it came to Korean cuisine. This has changed thanks to the popularity of K-pop and K-dramas, which have caused a rise in interest in the small but awesome peninsula.
Korean BBQ, or samgyeopsal, is the best-known dish and an indisputable contender for the best meat dish in the country. But if you want to immerse in the wonderful world of Korean food, you'll find numerous rice dishes (we recommend kimchi fried rice and bibimbap), a vast amount of healthy soups (sundubu jjigae and gochujang jjigae are our favorites) and noodle dishes (try naengmyeon cold noodles with hot beef).
Best Korean Food to Try
Dak-galbi is a dish that you don't normally find outside of Korea but that will take you straight to food heaven. The spicy chicken dish is cooked with tteok (rice cakes), sweet potatoes, cabbage and red pepper sauce.
Pro tip: Ask for some cheese to be added on top. Then, at the end, ask for stir-fried rice to be made with the leftover vegetables and sauce.
3. Indian Cuisine
No. of tags: 11.339 million
Over 11 million people are tagging Indian cuisine, and no one is shocked. A global favorite, Indian food is varied, flavorful and unique. Curries, tandoori meats and fluffy naan can be found all over the world, in part due to the large Indian diaspora.
Another thing that makes Indian food so popular is that it's vegetarian-friendly, with most dishes offering veggie options wherever you are.
Best Indian Food to Try
Within India, each region has its own very marked cuisine. Mumbai cuisine is popular outside of the country and especially in Indian restaurants in the United States.
Try dishes like baida roti, a stuffed pastry that is usually eaten as a snack or appetizer.
2. Italian Cuisine
No. of tags: 17.927 million
We always knew Italian food would be a contender for the top spot, but on Instagram, it missed first place by a narrow margin.
Italian cuisine has become ubiquitous around the world, with pasta and pizza getting adopted by almost every other country as common foods and ranking amongst the top three European dishes.
Best Italian Food to Try
While in Italy, you'll find plenty of other delicious dishes, like polpette, Italian meatballs and risotto, a creamy rice dish.
Italy has also gifted the world one of the most simple yet delectable desserts ever invented: gelato.
1. Japanese Cuisine
No. of tags: 18.035 million
Though Japan is a medium-sized isolated country, its culture and food have managed to capture the attention of the world.
Sushi is the country's largest culinary export, but it is far from the most popular dish in the country. When visiting, do the sushi bar, then go on a food expedition to try dishes like yakitori skewers, okonomiyaki (a Japanese-styled pancake), noodle dishes like udon and ramen, and takoyaki (octopus dumplings).
Best Japanese Food to Try
If you have the opportunity, order a plate of curry rice. Other more famous Japanese foods can be found in Japanese restaurants around the world, but curry rice is often left out.
You will find it in other Asian countries like Korea, but it's best savored in Japan itself. Unlike curry rice from other Asian countries, the Japanese version is very thick and heavy and is not very spicy. It is often served with tonkatsu, breaded pork.