Japanese cuisine the most popular foreign cuisine..? What's your favorite?

This bit of news crossed my path today via Twitter, and it has me scratching my head a bit. In December 2012, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) conducted a web based survey in 7 countries - China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, France, the United States and Italy. Participants were asked a series of questions - multiple answers were allowed for all:

  1. What is your favorite foreign cuisine?
  2. Favorite Japanese dishes
  3. What sources of information do you usually make use of when buying imported foods in general?

The results are in this press release, with some very hard to read (for me anyway) graphcs. For the first question though, these are the top 3 chosen by participants from each country:


  1. Japanese (25.2%)
  2. Korean (19.8%)
  3. French (13.6%)

Hong Kong

  1. Japanese (25.5%)
  2. Korean (17.4%)
  3. Thai (16.5%)


  1. Japanese (19.2%)
  2. Italian (13.3%)
  3. Thai (13.3%)

South Korea

  1. Japanese (25.7%)
  2. Chinese (22.5%)
  3. Italian (15.2%)

United States

  1. Italian (15.5%)
  2. Chinese (15.0%)
  3. Japanese (14.7%)


  1. Japanese (17.4%)
  2. Italian (15.1%)
  3. Korean (14.6%)


  1. Japanese (23.8%)
  2. Korean (19.1%)
  3. Spanish (11.4%)

Overall top 3:

  1. Japanese (21.1%)
  2. Italian (12.9%)
  3. Thai (10.3%)

Hmm...ok. I'm just a bit skeptical though, since I don't know what methodology was used for this survey, since it's not described on the press release in English or in Japanese (and I checked the PDF document linked at the bottom of the Japanese page too). How were the survey participants selected? What site did they go to answer the questions? Why these countries over others? Is there a a chance there was some pre-selection because it was on the JETRO site, a site that's clearly associated with Japan? It's a mystery. (I am a bit of a statistics and survey geek since I worked part time in that field when I was in college.) But in any case, I guess it's nice to contemplate the possibility that people from these countries like Japanese food so much. (Although when they asked about specific Japanese dishes, the answers were predictable and limited: ramen, tonkatsu, sushi, rice curry...)

But anyway, let's have another survey with a pre-selection bias (since you are on a Japanese food blog, I suspect you might have some affinity for it ^^): What are your favorite not-from-where-you-are cuisines? And your favorite dishes? Give me your country with your choices ^^

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