Japanese is Utah’s most popular takeout choice

Japanese food

New research has revealed the most popular takeout in each American state with Japanese food being the most popular in 11 states, including Utah.

The research, conducted by MealDeliveryExperts, analyzed over 18 years of Google Trends data to establish the most Googled takeout in each American state.   

Japanese food was the second most popular cuisine with 11 states searching for it more than any other, including California, Texas, Illinois and Virginia. The United States searches for ‘Sushi near me’ more than any other country, reaching 436% above the worldwide average, with searches for ‘Sushi delivery’ hitting an all-time high in America in April 2020. 

In Utah, ‘Sushi near me’ searches have increased by 406%, with Google data showing the highest levels seen in February 2022. 

Japan has influenced American pop culture, where we see sushi-making being adopted by American chefs, and the emergence of popular Japanese-style restaurants located across the nation, from the high-end Nobu to everyday chains such as Benihana.

The analysis revealed that Chinese food had the highest number of states searching for it the most, with a total of 24 American states, including Georgia, Colorado, Louisiana and Kentucky. 

GrubHub’s order data shows General Tso’s chicken is the most popular Chinese dish in the country, followed by crab rangoon and egg rolls. 

America has a history of Chinese immigration beginning in the 19th century, however Chinese food swept America after President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Beijing was broadcast to home audiences. The Chinese American Restaurant Association reports that there are currently more than 45,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States.

Nine states searched for American food the most, which includes Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Massachusetts. Chicken and casual dining restaurants such as Applebee’s were particular favorites in these regions. Searches for ‘Fried chicken near me’ hit its highest in America in July 2021, with the trend looking to continue through 2022. 

Seafood was popular in coastal states, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina and Massachusetts. Maryland in particular has the highest percentage of searches for ‘Seafood delivery’ in the nation. Each coastal state that searched for American takeout most, with the exception of South Carolina, has below average rates of adult obesity. Massachusetts in particular ranks 3rd lowest adult obesity rate in the United States, 23.89% lower than the American average.

Three states searched for Thai cuisine the most. The states which searched for Thai food the most are New York, Florida and North Carolina. Searches for ‘Thai food near me’ reached all-time highs during 2021 in the aforementioned states, increasing by 432% in North Carolina, 356% in Florida and 314% in New York. 

Thailand is known for creating unique experiences, and its food is no exception. In 2019, Bangkok topped Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index for the fourth year in a row, the latest year to be released. There are an estimated 5,342 Thai restaurants in the United States.

Mexican cuisine was searched for most in Arizona, the only state to do so. Google searches for ‘Mexican food near me’ are on track to surpass levels seen during the pandemic, with May 2022 search volumes for this term 13.63% higher than those seen at the highest point in May 2021. 

Arizona shares a border with Mexico, and as of the 2020 census it is reported that almost one third of all residents living in Arizona identify as Hispanic or Latino. Americans rated nachos as their favorite Mexican dish.

Hawaii’s favorite is fusion cuisine, owing to how incredibly popular the chain restaurant Zippy’s is in the state, which combines American, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Hawaiian cuisine. Zippy’s has 22 locations in Hawaii, with 10 in Honolulu alone. Search data reveals that in 2022, searches dropped heavily for the restaurant chain, recording the lowest levels of activity seen since 2016. The drop in search volume is likely due to the 16 restaurant locations that were not able to resume fast food seating until March 2022 due staffing issues related to the pandemic.

Italian cuisine was searched the most in Kansas, with the Sunflower State searching for ‘Pizza Hut delivery’ more than any other in the nation. Kansas residents also searched for ‘Italian food near me’, which exploded in May 2021 to 629% the average volume. It comes as no surprise, as 15 percent of Americans ranked pizza as their favorite comfort food. According to a recent YouGov poll, garlic bread is the most popular Italian dish with 84% popularity, making it the second most popular dish in the United States.

Commenting on the study, a spokesperson from MealDeliveryExperts said: “This data offers an insight into which ethnic cuisines influence the food trends and eating habits of each state the most. The pandemic created a boom in search interest across the globe, with worldwide searches for ‘food delivery’ reaching all-time highs in April 2020. Chinese cuisine was the most searched for in the United States, the most popular search among 24 states. However, the most populous states preferred American, Thai or Japanese cuisine, rather than Chinese food. It is clear that Asian food has won America’s heart, with Asian cuisines being the most popular search in 39 states.”

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.