What comes to mind when you the word “food”? Each person would have a different response to this question even though some popular foods may be a common answer. Each country has a “national” cuisine which is further divided into diverse and nuanced regional cuisines.
Crazy, right? That’s how diverse food is. In fact, apart from being a basic necessity, food is also an integral part or marker of a region’s identity, culture, and history. It’s truly beautiful how food connects people and helps one appreciate and celebrate another’s culture.
The diversity and rich history of food brings us to the million dollar question: what is the most eaten food in all the world? We have listed the 11 most eaten foods across the globe, read on to find out what they are!
Coming up at number 11 is fish. This healthy, high-protein food is consumed worldwide and is a staple in most coastal regions. Interestingly, the global fish consumption has surpassed meat consumption of all terrestrial animals (except poultry) combined!
There are at least 40 different types of edible fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, cod, and bass, etc, which can be consumed raw (sushi), cured (dry fish), marinated (ceviche), pickled (pickled herring), smoked (smoked salmon), or cooked by braising, grilling, frying, poaching, or steaming.
10. Ice Cream
As the only dessert on this list, ice cream seems to be a favourite amongst all age groups across the world. Available for cheap almost anywhere, who wouldn’t love a bowl or cone ofcool, creamy, decadent ice cream on a hot summer’s day?
Since it’s so popular, it’s no surprise that the global annual consumption of ice cream is estimated at a whopping 15.4 billion liters! And no prizes for guessing the most popular flavour which is good old vanilla.
Additionally, ice cream is an ever-evolving dessert as one can find any flavour of their heart’s desire, from the classic choco-chip to adventurous ghost pepper. This versatility truly does makes us all scream for ice cream.
Ah, soup. Doesn’t the word alone evoke a sense of deep comfort? From a bowl of hot chicken dumpling soup on a rainy day to a cold cucumber soup for a hot day, soup makes for a yummy, nutrient-packed meal which satisfies the soul. And the tastebuds, of course.
The versatility of soup is what makes it so great. In the mood for something heavy and filling? Try a hearty bowl of Mexican bean soup with guacamole. Want something light and fresh as a side? Have a warm and bright Greek lemon chicken soup.
Because of the fact that soups are a low-effort, high-gain which can be whipped together with just a few ingredients, they are very popular worldwide. Not in the mood to cook? Try canned soups which come in a wide range of flavours, and are packaged in a way which would ensure freshness. Soup is so loved that it is estimated that Americans alone eat about 10 billion bowls of soup annually, the favourite being chicken noodle soup.
Apparently the apple of the world’s eye is none other than the apple. Apples are one of the oldest and widely cultivated fruits in the world. The fruit comes in 7500 varieties, and is thought to have been domesticated in the Tian Shan mountains 4000-10000 years ago!
Enjoy them as a light and nutritious snack or bake them into a delicious apple pie, apples help with weight loss, and improve gut and brain health. Additionally, they also help fight heart disease and cancer.
Listen to your doctor and do have an apple a day!
Here comes the superstar, the fan-favourite, the crowd-pleaser– Pizza! Infinitely customisable to one’s personal preferences, who wouldn’t love a ‘pizza’ this Italian dish? (haha, see what we did there?).
It is in fact so popular that 13% of Americans eat pizza every day, and an average of 350 slices are consumed every passing second, the most popular topping being pepperoni.
Here’s another fun fact for you: In 2001, the Russian Space Academy spent 1 million USD to deliver a 6” pizza to Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Usachov at the International Space Station (ISS)!
Say what you will but those ‘taters are so good that they are dangerously addictive, so much so that according to a 2019 study by the USDA, potatoes are the most commonly produced and consumed vegetable across the globe.
Enjoy this glorious vegetable fried, mashed, roasted, baked, boiled, or add them to any dish to make it a million times better. Apart from being delicious in any shape or form, potatoes are also easy to grow, and did the honours of being the first vegetable to be grown in space.
Because of their long shelf life and wide range of variety (over 4000 types), it’s no wonder that potatoes made this list.
There are very few things which are better than the smell and taste of warm, freshly baked bread with butter slathered on top. Doesn’t that image alone leave you craving some of that warm cozy goodness?
It’s no surprise that an average American consumes 53 pounds of bread annually, and don’t get us started on the English. Every year, in the UK, 12 million sandwiches are eaten, just imagine the amount of bread that goes into making 380 sandwiches every second! Thought this was over? Germany is the largest consumer of bread, so imagine how much bread that is!
To show our appreciation for bread, we have a joke for you: How do you say hello to German bread? Gluten tag.
With over 350 shapes, this simple yet complex dish is so versatile that each culture customizes it with their own spices and preparation methods. This dish which has an ever-evolving recipe catalogue actually dates back to 5000 BC!
Have you wondered why there are so many shapes of pasta? Well, each shape is carefully engineered to hold a specific type of sauce; some shapes like spaghetti are designed for lighter sauces like tomato, garlic and olive oil, whereas some like tagliatelle and pappardelle are more suited told hold heavier cream or meat based sauces.
According to a survey conducted by Oxfam across 17 countries, pasta was voted to be the world’s most popular dish, so grab a bowl of your favorite pasta with your favourite sauce and a glass of wine for a perfect weekend dinner!
Coming up at number 3 is chicken which is also the world’s most consumed meat. Apart from being cheaper than other meats, chicken is also easily available in most parts of the world and is loaded with protein.
Enjoy chicken as finger food, an appetizer, or as the main course, or all three because why not? It’s finger lickin’ good (no points for getting that reference). It can be cooked in a million different recipes either as a standalone dish or as an ingredient. There is no dearth to chicken recipes across cultures, from Nashville style hot chicken to creamy butter chicken, so live your life.
Scrambled, poached, sunny side up, omelette, hard boiled, soft boiled, over easy, fried, devilled, phew. That’s just a few methods to cooking eggs. Quick but incredibly nutritious, eggs bag spot number 2 on this list.
Their deceptive simplicity actually adds a ton of flavour and texture to a range of dishes from fried rice to baked desserts where they are an integral ingredient.
Since their consumption is so widespread, it is difficult to calculate the exact number of eggs produced. In fact, the global consumption of eggs has exceeded 86.3 million metric tons or a trillion eggs!
And coming up at number 1… drum roll please… is rice! It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many as it is the staple food in almost all Asian countries, Asia being the largest continent in the world.
Billions of people across Asia consume rice on a daily basis, so imagine how much rice that is. In fact, according to National Geographic, rice is a staple food for about 3.5 billion people, that’s almost half the population of the world! In addition to Asia, rice is grown in all continents except Antarctica.
Rice is also super versatile in that it can be consumed as breakfast (congee/kanji), lunch and dinner (various rice dishes), and even dessert (rice pudding)! So tuck into warm bowl of rice with your favourite curry or sides for your next meal.
List Of Dishes As Per Country
Now that you have seen what is globally the most popular, let’s explore the most popular dish in each of a few countries of the world.
- USA – Cheeseburger
- UK – Fish & Chips
- Thailand – Tom Yum Kung
- Mexico – Tacos
- India – Curry
- Italy – Pizza
- Greece – Greek Salad
- Germany – Pretzels/Sausage
- Japan – Sushi
- China – Dumplings
- Spain – Jamon/Paella
- Russia – Pancakes
- France – Croissant
- Indonesia – Nasi Goreng
So there we go, the most popular food in the world. Were you surprised that something made or didn’t make the list? We for one are definitely surprised that dairy products are not on here. Did you find your favourite or least favourite food? Either way, it’s always good to appreciate the cultural importance of food and be grateful for something as simple as a bowl of soup.