Going on holiday means choosing the right destination, packing everything you need, buying travel insurance and making a list of everything we want to see, and most importantly eat, while we’re away. A country’s cuisine is born and developed out of the fusion of its cultural practices, traditions and beliefs, and with over 4,000 different recorded cultures all over the world, this makes for incredibly diverse culinary experiences almost anywhere you go.
With over 196 billion views under the hashtag #TikTokFood, the social media app continues to shape global food trends. So where better to analyse trending delicacies and find out what the absolute must-tries in each country actually are? We investigated the number of views of over 2,600 dishes on TikTok to crown every country’s must-try delicacy, revealing which dishes you absolutely must not miss next time you’re abroad.
Every country’s must-try local delicacy
The most viewed dish of all time (with an astounding 6 billion views) is ramen, a tasty Japanese dish that is as versatile as it is comforting. It can be made with many kinds of broth and can be topped with almost anything you like. Though ramen is thought to have originated in China, nearly every region in Japan has its own variation and the dish is now synonymous with Japanese culture.
The world’s most popular delicacies include a variety of different cuisines, ranging from Asia and Africa, all the way through to Europe, North, Central and South America. The fourth most popular delicacy in the world is a Taiwanese beverage, known as bubble tea, while the sixth is Kimchi – a spicy Korean sauerkraut made from fermented vegetables and in eleventh it’s a kind of sour soup found in the Philippines.
- Ramen, Japan – 16.5 billion views
- Hot Dogs, USA – 10.2 billion views
- Churrasco, Brazil – 8.3 billion views
- Bubble Tea, Taiwan – 8.1 billion views
- Bakso, Indonesia – 5.6 billion views
- Kimchi, South Korea – 5 billion views
- Döner, Turkey – 4.9 billion views
- Asado, Argentina – 4.3 billion views
- Chicharron, Spain – 3.2 billion views
- Tamales, Mexico – 2.9 billion views
- Sinigang, Philippines – 2.7 billion views
- Fufu, Ghana – 2.6 billion views
- Caviar, Russia – 2.6 billion views
- Pho, Vietnam – 2.3 billion views
- Ceviche, Peru – 2.2 billion views
The UK’s must-try local dishes
In the UK, it’s the iconic dish of seaside fish and chips that reigns supreme as the nation’s most popular overall delicacy. A battered fish dish that is usually made with cod or haddock, served with chunky chips, mushy peas and lots of vinegar. Each region offers something different however, in London it’s the classic pub meal of bangers and mash that you must try when visiting the capital, while in the West Midlands it’s Worcestershire sauce. A condiment that confuses people worldwide with its pronunciation and is made from a secret recipe known to contain anchovies and tamarind, among many other ingredients.
In Scotland, the delicacy any tourist should try to sample is none other than Irn-Bru, a carbonated soft drink said to be made up of 32 different flavours. Wales’ must-try delicacy is a sweet treat, the delightful Welsh cake which are a cross between a cookie, scone and a pancake – and in Northern Ireland it’s a traditional Irish breakfast known as Ulster Fry, a dish which contains back bacon, black pudding, sausages, fried sofa bread, potato farls and fried eggs.
Europe’s must-try local delicacies
World famous for its wine and cheese culture, the European culinary scene is incredibly diverse, owing to its vast geography and variety of different cultures. From the Mediterranean diet, filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil to Eastern Europe’s hearty dishes with many pickled and fermented foods – there’s no end to the delicacies you’ll want to try when visiting the continent.
Italy’s must-try delicacy surprisingly isn’t pasta or pizza related, instead, it’s a delicious, sweet treat known as panettone – a sweet bread studded with dried fruits, often eaten at Christmas and New Year. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, it’s Raclette, a type of cheese that is heated and served on top of boiled potatoes.
In Portugal, rather than the famous pastel de nata, it’s a tasty soup known as caldo verde that tops the list, while France’s must-try is escargot (snails!) and in Finland it’s a salty sweet referred to as salmiakki. Romania’s must-eat delicacy is sarmale, cabbage rolls stuffed with pork and rice and in Hungary it’s lángos, a word which translates to ‘flamed’, meaning a flatbread cooked in a clay oven, often topped with sour cream and cheese.
Asia’s must-try local delicacies
Home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants, Asia as a continent is a dream for any gastronomy lover. From fresh ingredients to spices that invigorate any palate, Asia offers every dish you could imagine. Japan serves up the freshest sushi and sashimi, India plays host to some of the world’s best curry dishes, in China you can find steamed baskets bursting with delicious dim sum and in Turkey, you can find döner, a Turkish kebab that’s incredibly popular all over the globe.
The must-try delicacy in the Philippines is sinigang, a sour soup based on pork and vegetables, while in Thailand it’s the world-famous noodle dish known as Pad Thai. In Vietnam it’s an unsurprising result, with pho, a Vietnamese soup that you can now find all around the world, taking the top spot.
Taiwan’s must-try delicacy isn’t a food dish, but bubble tea, a drink that suddenly became incredibly popular in the early 2010s in the UK and consists of tea, milk, fruit, fruit juices and tapioca pearls. Meanwhile, in the United Arab Emirates, the most popular dish aligns with their national dish – known as khuzi. Khuzi is a slow-cooked meat dish with spicy rice, topped with raisins, vegetables and nuts – flavoured with cardamom, cinnamon, saffron and nutmeg.
Africa’s must-try local delicacies
African cuisine is rich and complex, taking influence from the diverse cultures on the continent, along with its extensive history and vast geography. From North Africa’s vibrant couscous and tagines to West Africa’s soulful jollof rice – each dish is mouthwatering, and the continent offers a wealth of incredible foods to try.
In Morocco, the must-try dish isn’t tagine, surprisingly, but kefta – a type of kebab that can also be incorporated as part of a tagine dish, while in Gabon it’s a sweet dish – a type of couscous made with sweetened condensed milk.
South Africa’s must-eat dish is biltong, an air-cured meat, and in Tanzania, it’s another sweet treat known as mandazi – East African doughnuts. Most of Africa’s must-try dishes are either main dishes, or side dishes, with sweet treats and beverages few and far between.
North and Central America’s must-try local delicacies
North and Central American cuisine can differ immensely, with indigenous influences and colonisation both playing a part in the dishes that are now so popular in various countries in this area of the world. Renowned for vibrant street food, Mexican cuisine is eaten all over the globe, while in the United States, the foods in one state can be vastly different to another.
Surprisingly in Canada, it’s not poutine that comes out as the must-eat delicacy, although it’s a famous dish of its own. It’s actually BeaverTails, a sweet Canadian fried dough treat served with cinnamon. And although the USA offers a different must-try delicacy in each state, overall, it’s the mighty hot dog that prevails.
Jamaica is famous for its jerk chicken, with this dish taking the top spot as its must-try food, and when in Mexico it appears you must try tamales, a street food which consists of a spicy filling covered in corn dough, wrapped in a corn husk and steamed.
South America’s must-try local delicacies
South American cuisine is heavily influenced by the ethnic variation that you can find on the continent, with a plethora of fresh, tropical fruit, seafood from the Pacific Ocean and an abundance of meat available – the dishes you can try when travelling here are second to none.
In Peru, it’s the country’s national dish coming out on top, a dish with cubed, raw seafood which is marinated in lemon or lime juice. While Brazil and Argentina share similar top dishes, in Brazil it’s churrasco and in Argentina, it’s asado, both incorporating various meats cooked over an open fire.
Only one country in South America has a sweet treat for its most must-try dish, Uruguay. Bizcochos is a collective term, referring to buttery, flaky pastries found in the country.
Oceania’s must-try local delicacies
Oceania is a diverse region that is home to the Pacific Islands as well as Australia and New Zealand. With indigenous and colonial influences, as well as seafood-rich diets in the Pacific Islands, visitors to any country in this continent will be treated to a wonderful plethora of delightful dishes.
Surprisingly in Australia, it’s not Kangaroo or other bushmeat that takes the top spot, but Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert that provokes endless battle between Aussies and Kiwis over its origins. The must-try Kiwi dish is in fact whitebait fritters, a New Zealand delicacy that resembles an omelette.
Just like Australia, the must-try delicacy in the Solomon Islands is a sweet treat. Cassava pudding is a traditional dessert that is more of a savoury cake but is often sweetened with sugar. Meanwhile, in Fiji, it’s palusami which is a dish that involves wrapping tinned corned beef in taro leaves.
Whether your palate craves salty, sweet, or something in between, these TikTok-famous foods not only highlight the diverse culinary traditions of their respective regions but also promise a unique experience for adventurous eaters.
When travelling abroad however, it’s important to always be mindful of what you’re consuming – with food hygiene standards differing all over the world. Ensure you’re knowledgeable about food hygiene, always wash your hands before handling and consuming food, and equip yourself with the right travel insurance – so you can enjoy your trip in peace.
We compiled a list of over 2,600 delicacies from 177 countries around the world by using desk research. The number of views on each delicacy’s hashtag on TikTok was then analysed, to reveal which delicacy in each country has the most views. The top results were then crowned the ‘must-try delicacy’ for any countries in which the dish originated or is popular in.
Delicacies that are known to have originated in, or are popular in, multiple countries were included, but dishes that were too broad to be associated directly with a few specific states/regions or countries were excluded.
All data correct as of December 2023.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License