The Most Sushi-crazed Cities in the World (Outside of Japan)
Japanese food is more popular than ever; so much so that last year it outranked Italian, Indian, and Chinese as the most popular cuisine on Instagram, the influential social media platform. With over a billion food-related posts, Instagram is the place to showcase food on the web.
And Japan’s most internationally famous dish, sushi, ranked 5th among the most shared foods on Instagram, just behind ice cream and pizza. Undoubtedly, sushi is Japan’s top food export and loved all over the world.
But where exactly is sushi most popular around the world? We turned to Google Trends to find the answer.
Google Trends lets you easily analyze and compare the worldwide popularity of various foods such as sushi, comprising sushi-related searches made in any language (e.g. sushi near me, sushi restaurants, sushi recipes, суши (sushi in Russian), sushi essen, etc).
Google Trends provides popularity scores for countries and cities, showcasing the places with the highest concentration of sushi-related searches the world over. For example, if Vancouver has a sushi popularity score of 100 and New York has a score of 82, it means that a higher percentage of Vancouverites are searching for sushi than New Yorkers.
It does not mean that the overall number of searches in Vancouver is higher than in New York; as New York has a population 12 times larger than Vancouver, the overall number of sushi searches is likely higher here. Basically, Google Trends shows the countries and cities with the highest concentration of sushi-lovers.
Sushi’s global popularity is at an all-time high
Google Trends confirms the growing trend in the popularity of sushi on Instagram and shows that sushi’s popularity is at an all-time high. It is almost twice as popular than five years ago and three times more popular than 2011.
With its popularity at an all-time high, let’s round-up the most sushi-crazed cities in the world.
Vancouver – Sushi Capital of the World
Vancouver, CA is a foodie paradise and sushi is especially popular locally, making the British Columbia seaport the non-Japanese sushi capital of the world. Indeed, one count puts the number of sushi places in Vancouver Metro at over 600 and there’s something for every taste and budget.
The largest city in Siberia may seem like a surreal runner-up to the world’s sushi capital, but surely not for Russians. Russia, and a few other former Soviet Republics, have developed almost an obsession with sushi. Together with pizza, sushi is the most popular take-away food, and in large cities sushi is now commonly on restaurant menus.
The sushi-craze does not stop in Russia; it has also swept across neighboring Ukraine and Belarus. According to Google Trends, no less than three Ukrainian cities, Odessa, Kharkov, and Kyiv, rank in the top five, while Minsk, the capital of Belarus, ranks 7th.
In the Ukraine, sushi started to become highly popular in the mid-2000s, and Ukrainians never looked back. According to local reports, sushi is so popular in Ukraine that you can find it even in the most unlikely places – like on the menu of a pizzeria.
However, some complain that Ukrainian sushi is different from the original. Even if you don’t fancy Ukrainian-style sushi, you can still find lots of fantastic traditional sushi places like the Fujiwara Yoshi in Kiev.
Copenhagen has gained a fantastic reputation for its food culture and worldwide cuisine, hosting the best-rated restaurant in the world (Noma), and myriad other fantastic restaurants. The only complaint – it’s very expensive.
The first sushi place in Copenhagen opened in the late 1980s; almost 30 years later, it is home to over 100 sushi joints. While sushi is not new to either Denmark or its capital city, its popularity continues to grow, and it reached an all-time high in 2021.
Denmark’s northern neighbor, Sweden, has two cities in the top 10 – Gothenburg and Stockholm. Similarly to Denmark, sushi’s popularity here is at an all-time high, and especially popular in Sweden’s two largest cities.
While sushi’s popularity is at an all-time high across Sweden, it has a long history in its capital, Stockholm, where the first sushi places opened in the 1970s. Even in the mid-2000s, Stockholm was regarded as one of Europe’s sushi hotspots.
Gothenburg, on the other hand, has seen its food scene explode over the past decade or so. It is now home to a wide range of restaurants serving international cuisine, among them over 50 sushi places.
Traveling roughly 200 miles northwest from Gothenburg, we reach Oslo, the Norwegian capital, which wraps up our top 10. With its abundance of top-quality seafood and roughly 100 places that serve sushi, it’s no surprise to find Oslo among the top 10.
Moreover, Norway has had a big influence on how we understand sushi today. Salmon, now a staple sushi, was unknown to Japan and the world until the Norwegian salmon industry made a push to popularize it in Japan. It’s now one of the most popular choices worldwide.
Chef’s Pencil has analyzed Google Trends data for sushi (dish), comprising sushi-related searches made in any language (e.g. sushi near me, sushi restaurants, sushi recipes, суши (sushi in Russian), sushi essen, etc).
For the city rankings we analyzed data for the past 12 months (January 12th 2021 through January 12th 2022; we have included cities with lower volume searches).
Featured image courtesy of Kampus Production.
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