Every country’s cuisine is unique, but which countries have food closer to the global average than others? Data from the Country Food Similarity Index was used to suggest some answers to this seemingly subjective question. The weight of raw food ingredients used in each country was compared to the global average. An analysis of the data gives some suggestions for what countries might have the most average food ingredients. Here is a list of the 5 countries with most average cuisines in the world, according to the research:
In some ways, it should not be a surprise that China has the most average food according to the Index. It is the world’s second most populous country after India. Rice, wheat, and potatoes are the most commonly eaten ingredients in the world. These are also the three most common staples in China.
Chinese cuisine is incredibly diverse, with regional variations that encompass a wide range of flavors and ingredients. For example, the traditional food in Sichuan Province is far different from the food in Shanxi Province. In Shanxi, noodles are commonly eaten with vinegar. In contrast, Sichuan is famous for its spicy food and their meals often served with rice.
One reason China has such a diverse cuisine is that it is a vast country with many different climatic regions. The Southern region is hot and humid, so rice and tropical fruits are plentiful there. The Northern region is colder, so wheat, cabbage, and spinach are more suitable crops. Furthermore, most of Western China is a desert, where drought resistant grains such as sorghum and millet are grown.
In recent decades, China has seen rapid urbanization and globalization, leading to the fusion of traditional Chinese dishes with international flavors. Western fast food, especially KFC and McDonald’s, has become popular in many Chinese cities.
Over several centuries, many Han Chinese have migrated to Taiwan. As a result, these countries have many similarities in their language, customs, traditions, and cuisines. Since Taiwan’s food is similar to China’s it is not surprising to find it on this list as well.
Pork and chicken are the two most common sources of protein in the world. These are also the two most popular meats in Taiwan. Furthermore, since Taiwan is an island, seafood is plentiful as well there.
The country imports a significant amount of food to supplement its domestic production and meet the demands of its population. Despite its tropical climate, it gets a lot of its food from colder regions, like Japan, China, and the United States. Taiwan has many well-established seaports to facilitate trade.
Taiwan has experienced significant economic development over the years, leading to increased access to a wide range of foods and culinary influences from around the world. Due to its open and cosmopolitan nature, Taiwan has absorbed various global influences, including Western food.
Like Taiwan, Bahrain is an island with a long history of trade, although it is a Middle Eastern country located in the Persian Gulf. The country’s diet has had influences from many different cultures. Like the global average, rice, wheat, and potatoes are the most commonly eaten ingredients in Bahrain.
Over half of Bahrain’s population is from another country. Many people from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (three of the world’s most populous nations), have immigrated to it to find work. As a result, Bahrain is quite ethnically diverse. This has led to the introduction of different culinary traditions and a global fusion of flavors.
The country is also quite wealthy, so it has attracted many international restaurants, fast-food chains, and a global food culture. This exposure to different cuisines has influenced local food preferences. Arab, Indian, Persian, and Western food is commonly eaten in Bahrain.
Although Japan is well known for being one of the most unique countries in the world, the ingredients in Japanese food are similar to the a global average. Its cuisine incorporates a wide variety of ingredients, including seafood, vegetables, rice, and noodles. This diversity aligns with global dietary patterns, as many cultures worldwide incorporate similar staples.
Japan has been open to international culinary influences for centuries. Japanese cuisine has integrated elements from East Asia, India, and Europe, three extremely populous regions of the world. The Japanese have adapted Western dishes to suit local tastes. Pasta, pizza, and bread are widespread. Furthermore, curry is extremely popular in Japan as well. It was originally brought to India by the British.
Meals in Japan are often characterized by their balanced and healthy nature. They typically include a combination of protein (fish, tofu, or meat), carbohydrates (rice or noodles), and vegetables, which is a common approach to eating in many parts of the world. However, Japanese do tend to eat fewer fruits than other countries.
Qatar is another country located in the Persian Gulf on this list. It is quite similar to Bahrain since it is also a wealthy Arab nation with many immigrants. Their traditional dishes often include rice, chicken, seafood, flatbreads, and various spices.
In fact, Qatar has one of the most diverse populations in the world. It has a significant expatriate community from various countries and ethnic groups around the world. South Asians alone count for over 60% of the Qatar’s population. It also has many Filipinos. This diversity has led to the integration of many different culinary traditions and a wide range of cuisines being consumed in the country.
Qatar’s economic development and globalization have led to the availability of ingredients and products from around the world, making it easier to prepare and enjoy global dishes. Little food is actually grown in Qatar, so it imports a substantial portion of its food products, including fresh produce, spices, condiments, and specialty items.
- China – 77.6
- Taiwan – 75.9
- Bahrain – 75.8
- Japan – 75.3
- Qatar – 75.0
- Malaysia – 74.8
- Peru – 73.8
- Canada – 73.8
- Australia – 73.6
- Colombia – 72.1
The World’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Pork
Fruit: Banana, Watermelon
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Rice, Wheat
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.