Mapping Gastronomy: Exploring the UK's Popular Cuisines

Here at The Original Tour, we are lucky enough to fully immerse ourselves in London’s vibrant culture. When you visit London, you’ll understand that there’s no denying that food is a massive part of that culture. As customers hop-on and hop-off the bus at Oxford Street, Leicester Square and various city centre locations, the luring smells of restaurants, street food stalls, takeaways and cafes fill the air.

The UK’s fascination with food isn’t confined to London. If you visit any major city in the UK the choice of gastronomy is overwhelming. Pizza, burgers, Mexican food, Chinese, Indian…

We wanted to explore the UK’s relationship with different cuisines. What are the favourites across the UK? Do choices change depending on where we live? How does our love for gastronomy measure up to the rest of the world?

Hungry for answers, we turned to Google. We wanted to find out what the chosen cuisines were for different cities in the UK. The first step was to choose which food types we wanted to compare.

Here are the cuisines we went with:

  • Pizza
  • Thai
  • Steak
  • Indian
  • Vegan
  • Tapas
  • Burger
  • BBQ
  • Sushi
  • Fish and chips
  • Seafood
  • Mexican
  • Kebab
  • Chinese

Mapped: Favourite Food By UK City

Below is a map which shows the favourite cuisines of 22 UK cities. The data has been taken from Google Trends and tracks the popularity over a 5 year period.

city by favourite food

As you can see from the map, there are certain cuisines that were crowned the favourite by more than one city. Equally, there were other than have been shunned altogether. Seafood, fish & chips, sushi and kebabs weren’t claimed as the go-to options for any city. Take a look at the graph below to see the best of gastronomy across out UK cities.

 

 

 

Mapped: The City Most Popular For Each Cuisine

As seafood, fish & chips, sushi and kebabs weren’t claimed as outright favourites, we thought we’d best do an additional analysis. So, we took each cuisine and turned to Google Trends to see where each cuisine is the most popular.

food by favourite city

Mapping Culinary Differences By Regions

It’s clear that when it comes to food, we all have different opinions. However, we wanted to see how our tastes and preferences change by region. Does where we live in the UK influence the food we eat? Well, there were a few results that we found surprising. We all know that veganism is growing in popularity. However, in Wales, Google searches for vegan food outstripped steak. Wales also disagreed with the rest of the UK when it comes to choosing between burgers and kebabs, opting for the kebab. Elsewhere, England and Northern Ireland choose pizza over Chinese food. Scotland stands alone in its preference for Mexican food over a kebab. The comparison also highlighted Northern Ireland’s love of seafood.

vegan steak vs seafood sushi

seafood fish pizza vs chinese

mexican vs kebab

And the one that divides us all...

It was a bit of a shock to us that there wasn't more disagreement when it comes to choosing between Chinese and Indian food. Apparently, we like prawn crackers more than we like naan bread...although, we think some of you might argue otherwise.

chinese vs indian

Mapping Cuisine Worldwide

What happens if we take all of these different cuisines and analyse them worldwide? Well, it turns out that the UK isn't the biggest consumer of any cuisine in particular. Not even fish & chips...

 

Most popular worldwide food

Methodology

All statistics that feature in this study of food cuisines are based on open data taken from Google Trends. All data is based on 5 years of Google searches.