Korean Food Is More Popular Than Italian, Chinese, and Mexican, According to Social Media

Korean stew in pot with kimchi on the side.
Korean stew in pot with kimchi on the side. / RunPhoto/The Image Bank/Getty Images

One of the most affordable ways to feel like a world traveler is by ordering takeout. Many famous cuisines—from Chinese to Italian—are just as popular abroad as they are at home. But the most popular type of food worldwide may be surprising even to people with adventurous palates.

As Time Out reports, Korean dishes are the most widely beloved cuisine on Earth—or at least on the internet. The travel firm The Bucket List Company ranked the world’s culinary offerings by measuring social media engagement with posts tagged with various cuisines. Korean outperformed every competitor, including such global successes as Italian, Mexican, Japanese, and Indian.

Many cuisines on the list below are easier to find in America than Korean food. There were 45,000 Chinese restaurants operating in the U.S. in 2016, making them more abundant than all the McDonald’s, KFCs, Pizza Huts, Taco Bells, and Wendy’s combined. Despite this, Chinese ranks No. 6 on the list. Korean restaurants may be less common in the country, but interest in the cuisine is growing. In 2021, its popularity grew by 90 percent, according to the analytics company Spoonshot.

Korean food’s rising international profile may be due in part to its popularity on social media. Chefs like Maangchi on YouTube and @thekoreanvegan on TikTok have risen to internet stardom by making Korean dishes. If the trend continues, japchae may one day be easier to find around the world than spaghetti and meatballs.

The 10 Most Popular World Cuisines on Social Media

  1. Korean
  2. Italian
  3. Mexican
  4. Japanese
  5. Indian
  6. Chinese
  7. Thai
  8. Vietnamese
  9. Filipino
  10. Turkish

[h/t Time Out]