World cuisine: Brussels is number one for international food

Orchidéé Blanche Thai Brussels

Our latest world cuisine article reveals that Brussels is on top of the world.

With the joy of food being something that unites us all, Remitly wanted to discover which city offers the most diverse food options per person, when it comes to restaurants that offer food from outside of the city’s home cuisine.

More To Brussels Than Mussels: The Most Gastronomically Diverse Cities In The World Revealed
New research reveals that Brussels, Belgium has the most restaurant choice per person when it comes to offering the widest variety of international cuisine options. Financial services provider Remitly conducted the research on over 200 major cities using TripAdvisor data. The USA had the most cities in the top 10 (Las Vegas, Atlanta, Portland, San Francisco) with four. Revered culinary destination Paris was 8th whilst London was a lowly 82nd when it comes to restaurant variety per capita

Financial services provider Remitly has revealed that Brussels, Belgium is the most gastronomically diverse major city in the world, based on the amount of international cuisine options within the city per person. Osaka, Japan was second and Geneva in Switzerland was third. Four of the top 10 cities on the list are European, two are Asian and four are North American.

To calculate the rankings, Remitly used TripAdvisor data to discover how many restaurants were listed for each city, subtracted the amount of native restaurants e.g. Belgian for Brussels or Japanese for Osaka, and then used population data to work out the number of international restaurant options available versus the city’s total population.

As the seat of the EU, Brussels is known unofficially as the ‘capital of Europe’ and has long been revered for its cuisine and gastronomy. It is also home to a large number of immigrants and people of immigrant backgrounds, lending itself perfectly to having a varied culinary offering and leaving locals and visitors alike spoilt for choice when it comes to world cuisine. Alongside restaurants serving popular local favourites such as moules-frites and Belgian waffles, it also has a large proportion of Thai, French and Italian restaurants, as well as boasting five two Michelin-star eateries and thirteen one-star restaurants. Six of its top 10 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor serve non-Belgian cuisine, including Brazilian seafood and a Greek taverna.

Next on the list was the Japanese city of Osaka, known for its incredible street food and outgoing locals, who help to create an unforgettable foodie experience. Italian cuisine seems to go down particularly well in this part of Asia, with a pizza joint and an upmarket Italian bistro listed in its top 10 restaurants on TripAdvisor.

The study also looked at which cities have the highest variety of restaurants on offer for a range of popular world cuisines. Brussels once again takes the top spot for Thai, French, American and Italian food, while Valencia in Spain was an unlikely hotspot for Indian delicacies. Kuala Lumpur is a haven for lovers of Chinese food and Dublin was top for the ‘meat and two veg’ famously favoured by the British.

Cuisine: Top three cities

Brussels, Belgium

Lille, France

Geneva, Switzerland

Valencia, Spain

Leicester, UK

Newcastle, UK

Brussels, Belgium

Geneva, Switzerland

Liege, Belgium

Vertige Brussels French Vegetarian

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Brussels, Belgium

Singapore, Singapore

Dublin, Ireland

Brussels, Belgium

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Brussels, Belgium

Geneva, Switzerland

Vancouver, Canada

Bavet Brussels

Brussels, Belgium

Geneva, Switzerland

Nice, France

Jago McKenzie, Head of Region, UK at Remitly commented: “Food is central to any culture around the world and one of the main things that people miss when moving to a new country is that taste of home. As food evokes such strong emotions, we wanted to look at which cities truly offer the culinary variety that our nomadic species craves. It’s great to see such variety in our study with cities from Europe, Asia, and North America featuring heavily at the top of the list.

Entire food scenes have been changed over time by the movement of people and the introduction of new foods and ways to prepare it. We are all richer for this blended heritage of restaurants, bistros, cafes, and food stalls run by first- or second-generation immigrant families that allows us to experience cities in ever more gastronomically exciting ways.

As people are thinking about where to move to or visit in 2022, we hope our findings will help inspire and educate as to the power and benefits of immigration on culinary offerings of cities around the world. At the very least it’s given us a long list of cities and restaurants to visit!”

The number of restaurants listed for each city was taken from TripAdvisor, with native restaurants subtracted from the total, then divided by the population of the city using and multiplied by 100 to ascertain the number of international restaurants available per 1,000 people.

The cuisines researched to reveal which city offered the best choice for specific food options were: Thai, Indian, French, British, Chinese, American, Italian and Indian.

For further information on the study, including a full breakdown of all the worldwide rankings, and a look at the best cities for a range of the world’s most popular cuisines visit:

Data correct as of December 2021.

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