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The Most Popular Foreign Food among Chinese Consumers

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This article reveals the most popular foreign food among Chinese consumers and introduces them per country. Chinese consumers continue to prioritize material goods like clothes but are allocating more of their income to lifestyle services and experiences such as food experience and discovery. Through a recent survey it shows that the closer it gets to the Chinese consumer eating habits, the easier it gains popularity, such as Japanese cuisine and Korean cuisine. Pasta is the closest to Chinese food in western cuisine, which is therefore very popular with the masses of traditional Chinese diners. Middle and high-end consumers are also willing to try authentic famous foreign food such as juicy steaks from Australia and Canadian ice wine.

Most Popular Foreign Food among Chinese Consumers

Japanese Cuisine

Japanese Food in ChinaJapan is the third most popular destination for Chinese tourists, behind Taiwan and South Korea. On September 9, 2015, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) released a survey made upon Chinese consumers’ perceptions of the Japanese products. It has shown that Chinese consumers often buy originally imported foods from Japan; due to their trust in Japanese products. In addition, the Japanese restaurant is also the first place in the foreign cuisine restaurant frequented by Chinese consumers. Japan External Trade Organization in July made an investigation of the regular purchase of imported food originating in the country to 1200 men and women living in China. The results showed that the proportion of people who preferred Japanese taste increased from 42.2% in December 2014 to 53.5% one year later. Regarding the most frequented restaurant, Japanese cuisine had the highest percentage with 36.4% ranking first among the different foreign cuisine while the Korean cuisine accounted for 33.3%. The impression that Japanese food is healthy seems to be more and more popular among the Chinese middle and upper class.

Korean Barbecue

Popular Foreign Food among Chinese ConsumersIn 2015, the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Livestock food (韩国农林畜产食品部) has released a survey showing the brand awareness on Korean food product in Chinese cities such as Yanbian, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong. Chinese people are keen on Korean barbecue. The popularity of Korean food in China, in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, has reached more than 95%, Chinese consumers. However, Korean food gains its popularity in London, Paris, Sydney, New York by 41.6%, 46.2%, 55.2%, and 67% respectively, which is significantly lower than the preferences of Korean food in China.

Italian Pasta

Italian Food in ChinaChina is a country of noodles with nearly tens of thousands types of numerous noodles, yet it’s rich in variety does not affect the popularity of pasta produced in countries such as Italy. Italian cuisine is shown as the soul of western food. Italian noodles are really similar to Chinese dishes, a statement that shows the popularity of the cuisine among Chinese consumers. In China’s largest search engine Baidu, Italian cuisine is recommended by most of the users with up to 91383 recommendations on Dianping a Chinese local review site. In addition to the restaurant, many Chinese people start to gain interest in learning how to do pasta. Baidu search showed that nearly seven million of information has been searched by Chinese internet users, on how to make their own spaghetti which is reflecting a high acceptation among the Chinese people.


Australia Steak

Beef in China Australian lamb and beef have become one of the favorite food of Chinese consumers. In February this year, a total of 3600 tons of mutton was sold to the mainland, rose by 15% compared with the same period in 2015. In the same period, the total amount of Australian beef exports to the mainland is expected to reach tens of thousands of tons, which once again set the highest monthly export record. The rise is mainly due to the Free Trade Agreement signed on 2014, giving the opportunity to Australia to export meat to China with lower tariffs. Due to the strong domestic demand in the mainland. China will become Australia’s fourth largest market for beef. The country is getting richer so is the preference for higher quality food products. Australia is seen by Chinese consumers as a clean and green environment with good quality products and brands.

Canadian Icewine

Canada is a new wine producing country and ice wine is a signature of Canadian wine which enjoys a high visibility in China. It is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. In recent years, its exports to China continue to rise and the ice wine has been very popular among the high-end market in China, At present, China is the largest export market for Canadian ice wine. There are nearly 3 million related information of Canadian cuisine on Baidu search, among which the keywords Icewine has more than 1.5 million related information.

Canadian Icewine in China


Food consumption patterns in mainland China have changed considerably as living standards have risen and more Chinese consumers are exposed to a greater diversity of choice, both locally and by traveling abroad. Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly perceptive and more are seeking the following qualities when making purchases:

  • Higher quality
  • Confidence in food safety and ingredients’ integrity
  • Modern packaging
  • Variety
  • Convenience
  • Better nutritional value
  • Freshness

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