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For most of us, travelling since last year has been a lot less about jading jet-lags, pool-side proseccos or must-do museums and a lot more about travelling with our tastebuds. 
 
After a full year of lockdown, we’ve explored the world – quite literally - via word of mouth, following our palate rather than our hunger for new travel adventures. The result? We’ve seen new food trends and experiences emerge, that will likely shape how we explore the world in the future. In short, lockdown has made us hungry for food travel, and we can’t wait to see where your bellies will lead you on your next holiday.

Quarantine food trends around the world

Curious to discover what food experiences the world searched for last year? Simply click on the icon to virtually travel through the globe's most popular dishes and cuisines.
Lockdown Food Trends

With so many of us embracing the stay-at-home message, even the most novice of cooks attempted baking, proofing or cultivating their own yeast starters. Ever wondered why your local supermarket’s flour and yeast stocks were always depleted? Now you know: pizza. With a 26% increase in pizza searches worldwide, many of us attempted (and perhaps just a few succeeded) to make one of Italy’s most popular food dishes. 

When it came down to food trends however, the world looked to Latin America for inspiration. The proof? Searches for Mexican enchiladas and Latin American street food, like churros, were both up by 42%.

Food experiences

How we searched for food experiences
When we weren’t kneading dough or looking for food travel inspiration, we also gave our best shot at recreating our favourite take-away dishes. One of the most popular cuisines in the world is Chinese food, and last year proved that not even a pandemic could stop our global desire for dim sum, chop suey or chow mien.
   
Yet while we all love a good Chinese takeaway, in 2020 we also looked to new exciting food experiences and explored previously overlooked foods of the world, too. Our interest in new flavours inspired one of the biggest food trends of the year: Eastern European food. And with searches for Belarussian local restaurants up by 1,600% and interest in Romanian food tours up by 85%, we're predicting that food travel to Eastern European countries will boom. 

Keen to try the delights of Eastern European food for yourself? On our Highlights of Eastern Europe food tour, you can look forward to sampling the best of Vienna, Budapest, Prague and more.

Foodie nations

Lockdown might have changed our habits, but it definitely hasn't changed our love for food experiences, or our desire to explore the world through our taste buds. These were the most popular dishes from some of our favourite foodie nations:
 
Sweet and sour chicken move over, it's all about the dim sum! These small but delectable dumplings topped the list of most popular Chinese dishes followed by the ever-popular chop suey and chow mein. 
 
Whether you’ve made your Italian mamma proud by cooking your own lasagne or discovered a new talent for making homemade pizza, over lockdown we couldn’t get enough of masterning the Italian culinary experience from home.
 
Did someone say taco Tuesday? We might not have been able to take up this tradition at a restaurant (or better yet, on the Yucatan's sandy beaches), but we definitely loved recreating the Mexican at home food experience.
 
Those little rolled up bundles of gastronomic delight commonly known as sushi rolls have been all-time favourites for a while now. But any foodie will tell you there's way more to Japanese national cuisine than sushi, so we've rightfully been getting stuck into ramen and takoyaki, too.
 
If you can't get enough of a good biryani, you're not alone - biryani is one of the most popular dishes in the world. But there was also a global appetite for butter chicken and naan, too. 
 
And as for new food trends that made their way onto the trendy food list? Well, while travelling to paradisiac Pacific places was off-limits, that didn't stop us from searching about exotic cuisines like Tuvalu and French Polynesian food.
Most Popular Foods
Whilst we all know and love pizza, how familiar are you with Andorran cuisine? This small landlocked microstate perched amidst the high peaks of the Pyrenees was the talk of the world this year. With 80% more searches about Andorra’s national cuisine than the previous year, we predict there will be a global appetite for exploring the 16th smallest country in the world once food travel resumes!

Top 10 cuisines

Food tours

In 2020 we roamed the world from our kitchen tables, but what were we searching for? Well, warth and spice evidently, based on the fact that food tours to the Caribbean island of Jamaica grew by 1,451%. But it wasn't just warmth we were after, as the next most searched destination was chilly Nepal, with many of you keen to explore its national cuisine.

Found yourself craving warming flavours and exotic spices, and ready to explore beyond the kitchen table? Why not follow the trend by embarking on a Morocco food tour? Sample the country's national flavours like mint tea, tajine and couscous while exploring on our Best of Morocco tour. As well as diving into Morocco's colourful history and way of life, you'll be immersed in the nation's famous foodie scene through rich cultural experiences like our exclusive 'Be My Guest' dinner experience, hosted in a traditional Riad in Fes.

Top Trending Food Tours

 

Fast-forward to 2021 and despite the travel restrictions, our appetite for globalfood travelis just as ravenous as ever. In fact, demand for food tours globally increased by 24% in the first 3 months of 2021 alone. So where do we have our sights set on? Trendy food destinations include Vietnam, where searches for Hue food tours have boomed by an incredible 253%. In a country famed for crispy spring rolls, steaming bowls of pho and fresh salt and pepper squid, it's not so hard to see the foodie appeal. Discover it for yourself on our Vietnam and Cambodia Uncovered vacation. 

Regional food tours have also proved popular so far this year, with 86% more searches for US food tours, making it one of the most trendy food destinations. Travel to New Orleans has been particularly trendy, with searches for the 'big easy's' food tours up by 123%. 

Trending regions 2021

Do you believe that food and travel go hand in hand? Our Be My Guest dining experiences are exclusive to Trafalgar and designed to connect you with locals in the places you visit. These experiences will see you breaking bread and sharing stories with fascinating individuals from all across the world as families welcome you into their home to share recipes passed down from generation to generation. Whether sampling rich bodied Chianti in a Tuscan vineyard, tasting Japanese delicacies in a traditional ryokan or enjoying the farm to table dining experience at an organic farm in Hawaii, Be My Guest is the ultimate celebration of food travel.

Trendy Foods

Trendy foods

Curious to discover last years top quarantine food trends? Our number one trendiest food was the newly launched Mexican mango tajin popsicle with a 7,923% increase in searches. But Mexican food was also trending on social media with dishes like birrieria and quesabirria tacos featuring in all our favourite foodie's blogs.

If Mexico's national cuisine was on everyone's lips in 2020, fast-forward to 2021 and it's all about Bangladeshi food with searches for bhorta increasing by 511% making it one of our favourite trendy foods of the year. More finger-licking trends we'll sure hear more about in 2021 are Basque burnt cheesecake (174%) and juicy birria from Mexico (173%).+

 

Trendy Dishes in 2021

New Zealand food trends

If you're wondering what food trends and experiences defined New Zealand's food scene in 2020, here's some highlights:

For Kiwi home chefs, 2020 was all about Asian food experiences with searches for Japanese cuisine up by 93% racking up over 2 million searches!

This Asian cooking bonanza wasn't all sushi rolls though. Another trendy food that ignited your imagination was Vietnam's banh mi. Searches for this crispy delicious filled baguette went through the roof with an 832% increase in interest.

When it came to the most popular dishes, Scandinavia set your tastebuds off, sending searches for Sweden's isterband sausage by 3,600%. Curious to walk in the footsteps of Scandinavian royalty? Eat like a king on our Capitals of Scandinavia food tour and indulge in an organic dining experience using locally sourced ingredients in Stockholm, sleep in one of Copenhagen's oldest 17th century hotels and relax as we cross the Baltic sea in an overnight cruise.

But what were the most popular foods in New Zealand to order in? In 2020 you couldn't get enough of dim-sum and chow mien so you searched for Chinese takeaways nearly 300,000 times.

In your quest to get the world on a plate, in 2020 you achieved your food travel desires virtually by discovering exciting new national cuisines thanks to the width and breadth of the internet! Your virtual appetite helped you discover Georgian food, sending searches for this cuisine up by 626%.

New Zealand Food Trends

2020's biggest food experiences didn't take place at the restaurant, but rather within our homes.

That's right, home delivery reigned supreme with a 61% rise in online interest. But what were the top quarantine food trends for ordering in?

2020's most popular food to order in was Mongolian, sending searches for the land of mutton kebabs up by 142%. As a country where there are more sheep than there are humans, we think we know a thing or two about good lamb dishes!

2020's second most popular takeaway food trend whisked us to the shores of Greece. We might not have been able to travel abroad, but we certainly loved recreating the world on a plate and Greek's national cuisine helped us add a splash of Mediterranean flavour to our day to day lives. Why not explore more of Greece's food scene and enchanting history by visiting this country in 2022? With our Secrets of Greece food tour you'll get the chance to taste organic produce directly from an olive farm and wind down after a day of sightseeing by sipping on locally grown wines.

 

New Zealand popular food

Food and travel go hand in hand so it's no surprise that despite the stay at home message, many of us took to travelling with our tastebuds.

One destination that Kiwis virtually travelled to in 2020 was Sri Lanka. In fact, searches for food tours to this island jumped by a third. Curious to discover more about Sri Lanka's national cuisine? Get a taste for this country's fragrant curries, creamy coconut dishes and spicy rice dishes by reading our guide to Sri Lankan cuisine.

Another popular food of the world that made its way to our tables in 2020 was Korean food with interest for the land of kimchi, bulgogi and Korean fried chicken leaping 116% in popularity.

When Kiwis felt like getting new recipe inspiration they looked to Africa's national cuisine. In 2020 you searched for African recipes over 70,000 times making it one of the most popular foods in New Zealand.

New Zealand treats, most loved abroad

Curious to know what Kiwi foods people abroad indulged in throughout 2020?

Well, it turns out New Zealand's national cuisine was enjoyed all over the world! Topping the list of most popular foods abroad was a Maori favourite: fry bread. This doughy delight had over 18,000 searches worldwide but proved especially popular in the UK with an increase in searches for this traditional Maori treat up by 95%.

But what other Kiwi foods piqued the interest of foodies abroad? One trendy food the world couldn't do without were tutaekuri potatoes with their distinctive purple skin and flesh. This Maori crop was all the rage with global searches up by 86%!

2020 saw many of us around the world give home baking a go. The result? We looked for baking inspiration from countries all over the world including New Zealand! All this interest in baked goodies made rewena bread a food trend impossible to ignore with global searches for this delicious Maori sourdough bread up by 107%.

Top New Zealand Foods

Food tours in New Zealand

It's no secret that food and travel go hand in hand. So, as the world begins to reopen, we predict interest in food tours will spike sending people from all over the world back to our shores for new exciting gastronomic food experiences.

New Zealand's closest neighbours were keen to be reunited with New Zealand's national cuisine. Aussies searched for Christchurch food tours 500% more times in 2020 making it one of the go-to travel destinations. The Trans-Tasman travel bubble makes this tantalising culinary experience a possibility, so why not explore this country's food scene and rich culture with our Contrasts of New Zealand tour? You'll get the chance to immerse yourself in Maori traditions by joining a local feast at the Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a day at Rainbow Springs National Park visiting the diverse fauna and flora.

One country that really couldn't get enough of New Zealand's food scene and culture was Ireland. The Emerald Island searched for Kiwi food tours 110% more times in 2020! We predict you'll make New Zealand one of your top food travel destinations in 2022.

Many of our Be My Guest experiences touch upon these popular foodie destinations. Spend a day with a retired champion jockey and his wife on their dairy farm outside of Auckland, or tuck into a taste of country life on the South Island with an afternoon tea near Christchurch.

Hangi, the traditional Maori cooking technique

Everything you need to know about Hangi, the traditional Maori cooking technique

When travelling to New Zealand, you’ll notice that the Maori cuisine is very prevalent throughout the entire country. We take a look at hangi – meats and root vegetables cooked in a pit dug in the ground.

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How we got our findings

Methodology

• We have created a database with 50,000+ English language keywords related to cuisines, local food specialities, food travel and national restaurants/takeaways.

• We have focused on new food trends and cravings users got during 2020 – the year of lockdowns. We have used Google Trends and Google News to correlate the top trending terms/cuisines to social and cultural events. • We have explored the industry reports to find out the emerging food trends of 2021.

• We used the data from Google Keyword Planner to identify the most popular and most quickly growing trends globally, based on search demand from January 2019 to March 2021.

• Most popular options are based on the highest 2020 search volumes, most trending – on the biggest demand growth rates, compared to the previous year.

• We also pulled country-level and city-level search volumes for the same period.

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