Chef’s Pencil conducted an analysis of Instagram data for February 2021 and determined the top 20 cuisines in the world as identified by the social media platform’s users. National cuisines have been ranked according to the number of tags they gained, with the number rounded down to the nearest thousand.
According to the research by Chef’s Pencil, the food of Jamaica ranks as the top cuisine in the Caribbean, third most popular in North and South America, and 19th favorite worldwide. A panel comprising 250 chefs recently voted Jamaican cuisine as one of the most underrated on the planet and believed it deserves more recognition. Instagram users seem to agree.
People have always been fascinated by the diversity of cuisines in the world. With the advent of social media, Instagram in particular, many millions of people began to share their food experiences online. Instagram is the only place that showcases food, and food is the most photographed topic posted there. In 2020, the top food hashtags included #Food, #FoodPorn, #Yummy, #Foodie, and #Delicious. In 2021 to date, the hashtag #food represented some 430 million Instagram posts. Restaurant owners have recognized the power of social media in driving food trends and have designed their menus and dining room interiors to be pleasing in photographs meant for posting.
Of the most popular cuisines on Instagram, Japanese is Number 1, outpacing second-place Italian by more than 1 million tags. Japanese food has been tagged more than 15 million times. The popularity of Japanese food on Instagram has been attributed to the fact that Instagram is a visual platform, and the Japanese realized that “you eat with your eyes first” many centuries ago. Sushi, the country’s chief food export, offers a vibrant visual experience, and its display on a plate features symmetry and repeated patterns that viewers find especially pleasing.
All top 10 Instagram hits go to Asian cuisines. Italian, French, Greek, and Spanish foods rank the highest among the European cuisines. African cuisines have increasingly gained attention on Instagram, and a big trend suggested in 2021 involves greater interest in foods of the African diaspora: Nigerian cuisine is ranked 16th overall with more than 1 million tags. Ethiopian cuisine is popular in the United States and Canada and ranks 30th worldwide.