The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to American Food
The United States is a melting pot of different cultures. Most of its people originally came from Europe, so its food reflects a variety of European culinary traditions. However, Native American, African, and Asian culinary practices have also influenced American food. It is no surprise that the five countries with the most similar food to the United States also have a diverse population and many immigrants.
- Canada and the United States share many similarities when it comes to their cuisine because of their shared history, geography, and cultural influences. Both countries were colonized by Europeans and have a strong British influence on their culinary traditions. Burgers and French fries are popular in both countries. In fact, many of the same restaurants operate in both countries, such as Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.
- Australia is another former British colony characterized by a large European immigrant population. As a result, despite being located on the other side of the globe, the US and Australia have similar food. Burgers, sandwiches, and barbecues are some typical fair eaten in these countries. Many American fast food restaurants operate in Australia. Interestingly enough, Burger King is known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia, due to a naming dispute.
- United Kingdom shares some similarities in their food due to their shared history and cultural influences. The British colonized America, and as a result, British cuisine has had a significant impact on American cuisine. There is also a growing trend towards more diverse and international cuisine in both the US and the UK. However, there are also differences between their food scenes. The UK has a stronger tradition of savory pies, like steak and kidney pie, that are less common in the US.
- Switzerland is a multi-cultural country in the center of Europe. Its cuisine is characterized by its unique blend of French, German, and Italian influences. This melting pot has made Swiss food somewhat similar to the United States. Both countries have a tradition of hearty breakfast foods such as eggs, bacon, and toast. Additionally, both countries have a thriving fast food industry, with burgers, fries, and pizza being popular menu items.
- Argentina is the country in Latin America with the most similar food to the United States. Both countries have a tradition of grilled meats. Both countries have a significant number of cattle ranches. Italian cuisine has also had a significant influence on both countries, with dishes such as pizza and pasta being common. However, Argentine cuisine utilizes bold flavors like chimichurri, while American dishes may be more focused on sweet or savory flavors.
The Least Similar Cuisines to American Food
The countries with the least similar food to the United States are all located in tropical regions, so their climate is typically hotter a more humid. This affects what type of crops are grown in these countries. Most of their people are farmers and they have few global chain restaurants. Moreover, these countries are much less wealthy than the United States.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is a country in the middle of Africa. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country, a food that most people in the United States have not eaten before. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is fish, whereas chicken and beef are more popular in the United States. Furthermore, in contrast to the United States, their diet has little meat in it.
- South Sudan is located to the northeast of Congo. It is another country where cassava is the staple food, however the country eats its share of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. However, they are not completely different. Both the United States and South Sudan eat a significant amount of beef.
- Sierra Leone is a predominately Muslim country in West Africa. The majority of their diet is made up of rice and cassava products. Like Congo, most of the meat eaten in this country is fish, since the country is located on the Atlantic Coast. One of the country’s favorite dishes is Jollof rice. In contrast, Americans tend to eat more wheat based products, such as bread and pasta.
- Solomon Islands is an archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean. Most of its people live near the coast, so seafood is common in the country’s cuisine. Unlike in the United States, sweet potatoes, yams, rice, taro, and coconuts are all common ingredients in the food there. In addition, its people eat a variety of tropical fruits.
- Cambodia is another country that borders the Pacific Ocean. Like Sierra Leone, the Cambodian diet is heavily based in rice and cassava. Unlike in the United States, Cambodian cuisine makes use of a wide range of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, to create a unique flavor profile. Furthermore, many of the country’s Buddhists avoid eating meat.
USA’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Beef
Fruit: Banana, Apple
Vegetable: Tomato, Lettuce
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.