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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.
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 mastering 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.
Found yourself craving for warm 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.
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%.
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%).
USA FOOD TRENDS
Yes, we had to endure lockdown but that didn't mean we were entirely off the streets. As a matter of fact, our top food trends search was about Latin American street food, which was also the name of a popular Netflix show.
Did someone say Balkan takeaway? With searches for Balkan food orders up a whopping 21,900% this year, Balkan food is definitely your favourite new quarantine food trend.
Since you loved Balkan food so much, we predict that food travel in 2022 will see a boom in food tours to Balkan destinations. Stay ahead of the curve and set your sights on one of our Trafalgar food tours like the Balkan Delight and be one of the first to experience their globally trending national cuisine.
When it came to ordering in, some of the most popular foods like Chinese take-out saw a 13% dip in popularity. Yet one of America's closest neighbours exploded by 87% with Mexican cuisine becoming a takeaway staple.
If we felt like whipping something up, a lot of us looked further away from home. Searches for Korean gojuchang salmon spiked up by 420 times in 2020 from having 0 searches in 2019 effectively making it one of our top quarantine food trends!
But what was on the menu at the hottest spot in your apartment? King of the most popular dishes in America was the Italian icon: pizza. For those that liked their food rolled not sliced, sushi and tacos also featured in the list of most popular foods with searches up 17% and 18% from the year before.
AMERICAN TREATS, MOST LOVED ABROAD
People abroad also had a soft spot for all things sugary with a 65% increase in searches for American cookies and a 38% rise in searches for American pies. Now that's a sweet food trend!
USA FOOD TOURS
Travelling may have come to a halt but that definitely hasn't stopped the global and national appetite for American food tours.
Topping the list of most searched culinary tours we find New Orleans, Arizona and New York City. Explore New Orleans' vibrant food scene with Trafalgar's Tastes & Sounds of the South which will take you on a gastronomic tour of the South's best food experiences meaning you can tuck into buckets of cajun-spiced crawfish, crispy fried chicken and real-deal po'boy sandwiches all whilst you soak in the local culture and traditions!
Some of the most popular foods you'll also get the chance to try in the US include american pies, the famed american pickle not to mention America's own wagyu ground beef, which made it into your list of top trendy foods last year with a 713% increase in searches.
Many of our Be My Guest experiences touch upon these popular foodie destinations. Experience warm Arizona hospitality after a day at the Grand Canyon, or taste the trendy street foods of the Big Apple as you explore New York.
FOODIES IN THE CITY
Your most popular food experiences in both cities revolved around a comforting Italian home-cooked meal. In New York searches for Italian recipes were up by 65% and in Los Angeles 54%. All this interest in delicious Italian food probably got you lusting after Tuscany's rolling green hills or Sicily's sandy beaches. Get some food travel inspiration with Trafalgar's many food tours to Italy and secure your trip to this foodie paradise in 2022.
Ever heard of ram-don? Well, if you're based in New York and - like many of us - watched Parasite, then you're probably responsible for the 4,260% increase in searches for this mixed instant noodle dish. Ram-don definitely tops the list of best food trends this year.
When it came down to cooking delicious home-cooked recipes, you all liked to explore different cuisines. You looked to the East in New York and LA with searches for Taiwanese food experiences and spicy Thai recipes trending. In Chicago you were after the tropical at-home experience with Mauritian food searches up by 129%.
But, no matter if you were from LA, Chicago or New York, you all agreed on one thing: quesabirria! Searches for this crispy, cheesy, chili-spiced corn taco hit the roof this year making it the hottest USA food trend.
HOW WE GOT OUR FINDINGS
• 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.