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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

South Africa food trends

Curious to know what food trends and experiences South Africans craved in 2020?

A food trend that South Africans couldn't get enough of was an east Asian sensation: the Korean cheese dog! This popular street food sent searches up by 5,750% so look out for it when exploring Seoul on your next holiday.

When dining out, South Africans also picked Korea's national cuisine as their favouriteculinary experience with a 155% jump in searches. Explore your local food scene by taking a food tour of Cape Town's many authentic Korean restaurants.

The American pickle, a classic ingredient in US diners that you'll often find served with pastrami on rye bread, was searched for 2,470% more times in 2020 - a trendy food indeed.

Italy was responsible for South Africa's most popular cuisine as the home of the original carbonara was searched for over 1.2 million times. For those craving an Italian adventure when travel resumes, a stop off at Venice's ancient food market beckons on our Great Italian cities tour.

South Africa Food Trends

South African diners had one thing in common in 2020: love for the doughy delight known as Khachapuri. That's right, this Eastern European treat drove the online popularity of Georgian resturants through the roof with a 1,275% spike in searches. Explore Georgia's ancient wine tradition, stunning monasteries and Tblisi's booming food scene with our Georgia & Armenia Uncovered food tour.

When looking for new culinary experiences, South Africans didn't look too far from home. A top food trend in the kitchen was Namibian food with a 276% jump in searches. Another quarantine food trend of 2020 was the hearty Potjiekos stew, a traditional South African dish usually cooked outdoors in round cast iron cauldrons.

 

Table of the most popular food experiences that people in South Africa searched for in 2020

One of the top food experiences in South Africa in 2020 was cooking gastronomic wonders at home instead of ordering in or dining out.

2020's top home-cooking food trends revealed a love for Mexican flavours. In your quest for the tastiest taco, South Africans sent searches for Mexico's national cuisine spiking with more than double the amount of searches than the previous year.

When you weren't cooking up a storm in your kitchens, South Africans indulged in food experiences from Morocco and India with searches for food tours to these destinations both figuring in 2020's list of most popular cuisines.

While interest in Cape Town's food tours dipped in 2020, it kept its position as the most searched for domestic food tour. This proves that when it comes down to food experiences, South Africa's cuisine still sets your tastebuds off, as it was sending searches for local takeouts up by 164%.

South African treats, most loved abroad

A look at South Africa's most popular dishes online reveals how for many, food means a taste of home.

In 2020 some local delicacies like South Africa's own twist on samoosas leapt in popularity by 1,140%. This crispy bite-sized delight takes an Indian classic but swaps the peas and potatoes for a meatier mouthful.

Another minced meat masterpiece that South Africans had a taste for in 2020 was bobotie - which was declared as a national dish by the UN in 1954.

Did these dishes get your tastebuds watering? Then immerse yourself in the local customs and cuisines with our Cape Town Explorer food tour. You'll get the chance to let a master barbequer cook you an authentic South African braai whilst you sip on some of the Cape's finest wines. Now that's a culinary experience worth booking in 2022.

South Africa food popular abroad

Food tours in Africa

Food travel is an incredible way to explore new cultures by enjoying the aromas, flavours and colours of their national cuisines. In 2020, traval may have been temporarily halted, but our cravings for food experiences didn't stop. The result? Searches for food tours in Africa spiked, proving that our sense of wanderlust is as strong as ever.

Despite all adversities, culinary travel to Africa was on your mind throughout 2020 with global searches for food tours in Ghana up by 500%.

But many nations around the world decided to make Africa their go-to virtual food travel destination. The UK searched forAfrican food tours 21% more times than in 2019 and the US couldn't get enough of the Moroccan food experience with searches for food tours exploring Casablanca, Marrakesh and Rabat up by 78%.

Curious to experience Morocco's fragrant national cuisine yourself? With Trafalgar, you'll be able to immerse yourself in the country's rich culture and food scene by dining with a local family in a traditional riad in Fes or sipping mint tea in a typical Berber village.

Many of our Be My Guest experiences touch upon these popular foodie destinations. Treat yourself to a traditional 'braai' barbecue featuring boerewars, pap and melktert in Cape Town, or sample a traditional Xhosa meal as you gaze across the tranquil lagoon of Knysna.

Braai BBQ in South Africa

The ultimate guide to South African Braai

Almost everyone loves a good barbecue, but South Africans take the classic BBQ to a whole new level with the braai.

Arabic Food

Eat your way around Africa and the Middle East with these 15 dishes

With aromatic spices, fragrant rice and stews, delicious sandwiches and a deep love of grilled meat, you’re in for a real foodie treat when you travel around Africa and the Middle East.

Moroccan Food

5 soul-stirring Moroccan food experiences you can enjoy with Trafalgar

Want to get to the true heart of Morocco? The best way is through the food and culture of the country.

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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