If asked what is the most popular food globally, most world travellers would say Chinese. In most countries of the world, Chinese restaurants abound. So do Indian, French, Italian, Japanese and a host of other cuisines, but not in the numbers that Chinese eateries make up—almost every major global city has a Chinatown. Yet, here’s a surprise. According to a survey published by the charity organisation, Oxfam, the title of the world’s most popular food goes to pasta. When asked the question of what’s your favourite food, people from different countries voted pasta as their favourite food due to its inexpensive nature and versatility. Men’s Health writes, “It’s a low-fat filler that’s ready to step in at a moment’s notice to save the day. Not only is it a meal-in-minutes for those with busy lives but, being a slow-release carbohydrate, it’s also the stuff that keeps marathon runners on the road. Best of all, it’s one of those forgiving foods that you can cook and eat hot in the evening, then enjoy again as a cold salad the next day.” The magazine called it “The Ferrari of Foods”.The other nine food categories that make their way on to the top 10 list of Oxfam are meat, rice, pizza, chicken, fish and seafood, vegetables, Chinese food, Italian food and Mexican food. The survey included more than 600 different varieties and attracted over 16,422 people from 17 countries. The list included Australia, Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, UK and the US. East Asia was noticeably absent, but given the region’s culinary traditions, it may have seen rice moved up a spot to number two. Other fascinating findings include the fact that pizza is the fourth-most popular food in the world, and the world’s most popular ethnic cuisines occupy the seventh through tenth slots: Chinese, Italian and Mexican, respectively.
What about all those millions of McDonald’s that have sprung up across the world? Here’s the good news: American fast food is nowhere to be found on the list. The results showed some emerging trends: Asian food is becoming more popular worldwide thanks to those ubiquitous Chinese restaurants, now rivalled by Indian eateries, and we also had Japanese food entering the top 10 in quite a few countries, including America and South Africa.