With so many different cuisines out there and literally millions of conflicting opinions about which is best, it makes sense to put the question to the people and let consensus decide.
Some will claim it’s Chinese food, others will extol the superiority of Mexican or Thai food, there are a lot of flavours, tastes and traditions to choose from. Even within a country’s national cuisine, there is sometimes incredible diversity in regional variations, making generalisations impossible.
However, it’s an age-old question - “which country has the best food?” - and one we love to pose regularly as it gets people fired up. Over at rating site Ranker, the question was put to its user base to rank which national cuisine was best.
The results of the top ten, were not altogether surprising, although the list goes all the way to 150, so if you want to have some fun and see where your country, or any other rates on the list, it’s worth spending a little time over.
10 countries with the best food in the world
It’s hard to argue with the number one spot, which was taken by Italy. Italian cuisine is the most popular of any cuisine and grows year on year. Undoubtedly delicious, part of the reason Italian food travels so well and appeals to so many, is its mild flavours based on good quality, seasonal ingredients. Beauty, balance, simplicity and emotion, Italian food has it all. To try it out, tuck into a plate of penne pasta with pesto, savour lamb ragù with braised artichokes, or crunch into an arancini ball with tomato and mozzarella.
The culinary tradition that defined modern fine dining, the influence of French cuisine is felt the world over. Other cuisines trend and then fall away, but French food IS fine dining and will always be. Even if they have been beaten to the top spot. To explore this gastronomic universe, relish the richness of duck confit with shallots, feel the cool smoothness of sweet cotillions, or turn up the tang with remoulade sauce.
You could spend a lifetime researching Indian cuisine and only scratch the surface. The ancient traditions and vast terrain of the subcontinent make for cuisine that hits every note on the culinary scale and is always full of surprises. Take a sensory voyage to India and fill your kitchen with the smell of spices by preparing dal Indian lentils or Indian pork curry with raisins and tamarind.
The rich and diverse culinary history of Spain is always appreciated, especially their dining culture and the way they eat, which is uniquely Spanish. An ever-popular tourist destination, Spain created for the blueprint for food tourism, copied by countries the world over. Don’t miss the paella of the Valencian coast, the marbled and razor-thin jamón iberico, the sweet and nutty turrón of the Pyrenees mountains, along with many other must-have dishes.
Greek food has a tendency to fall in out of fashion, but it is consistently delicious. With Greece on an upswing economically and on the rise as a foodie destination, this is a justifiable high ranking for the national cuisine. Emblematic and wholesome ingredients like feta, Greek yoghurt, olives, pistachios, and lamb combine in countless and surprising ways in recipes like Greek baklava with honey and pistachios or lamb meatballs with tomatoes and olives.
Mexican cuisine goes from strength to strength with the wave of Mexican chefs spreading the food culture far and wide. Not least in the United States, where Mexican food is part of everyday life. From the depth flavours of chilli and chocolate in mole sauce to the light cinnamon notes of chilled horchata, Mexico’s cuisine offers a palate as wide as it is colourful.
Last year was the year that Japanese cuisine took over the world of fine dining, but it has had a strong following for decades now. Expect it to creep up the list in the coming months and years.
One of the oldest culinary traditions in the world is also one of the most varied. The world woke up to Chinese food a long time ago and it continues to grow in popularity every year.
Fattoush, falafel, halva, hummus, baklava, kibbeh, labneh, shawarma, tahini, za'atar… there’s so much to appreciate about Lebanese cuisine. The Lebanese emigrate far and wide and bring their wealth of culinary tradition with them, meaning many more cultures have come to appreciate their cuisine.
Thai food, with its myriad flavours and spices isn’t for everyone, but those you like it love it. There’s enough regional variation to provide a huge choice of dishes and the culinary culture mean there are well-trained chefs all over the world serving up the country’s exports from high-end restaurants to local takeaways.