THE WORLD ON A PLATE

How people across the world searched for food experiences in lockdown and beyond
For most of us, traveling since last year has been a lot less about jading jet-lags, pool-side prosecco or must-do museums and a lot more about traveling 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 vacation.
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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.


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%.
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FOOD EXPERIENCES

Comparative chart of how people searched for food experiences around the world in 2020

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.
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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 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.
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 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!
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FOOD TOURS

In 2020 we roamed the world from our kitchen tables, but what were we searching for? Well, warmth 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 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.
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Fast-forward to 2021 and despite the travel restrictions, our appetite for global food travel is 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 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%.
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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.
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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%).
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USA FOOD TRENDS

Did you know that we searched for Italian recipes 53% more times than in the previous year? Mamma mia, pasta surely is one of the most popular dishes in the USA!

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.
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The USA has always been a thrilling blend of languages, cultures and tastes. In 2020 Americans loved rediscovering their nation's breathtaking landscapes and booming local food scenes and searched for American food tours 106% more times than the previous year. When we weren't falling in love with our country's scenery and flavours we looked to Jamaica for inspiration making it the most searched for food tour of 2020!

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!
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What cuisines proved to be pandemic-proof? Well, Americans surely loved searching for the land of Sichuan spices making China's national food one of the most popular cuisines of 2020.

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.
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AMERICAN TREATS, MOST LOVED ABROAD

What American national cuisine dishes do people abroad love the most? It turns out they simply can't get enough of American pickles! With searches up 5,147% from the year before, lockdown has got definitely us in a pickle over this preserved veg.

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!
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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.

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FOODIES IN THE CITY

What brought East Coast New Yorkers and West Coast Angelinos together this year? The answer is Italian food!

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.

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What USA food trends did you go search-crazy for?

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.

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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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