Back Eat & Drink » Food Culture » Vietnam Surpasses South Korea as World's No. 1 Consumer of Instant Noodles Per Capita

Vietnam’s penchant for mì gói has propelled us to the top position among the world’s instant noodle consumers.

According to Korea Herald, the latest data on world instant noodle consumption shows that in 2021, Vietnam surpassed South Korea in mì gói consumption per capita to claim the world’s No. 1 ranking.

The news source cites statistics from the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), which shows that the average Vietnamese slurped up about 87 servings of noodles a year in 2021, while their South Korean counterpart only enjoys 73 servings. Nepal ranks No. 3 with 55 servings annually per person.

For nearly a decade prior, South Korea has dominated the ranking, claiming the top spot from 2013 to 2020. Vietnam has slowly risen in the tally with a sharp increase from 55 servings to 72 servings in 2020, and eventually to 87 servings last year.

While WINA did not cite any reasons for this increased consumption, one could surmise a correlation between extensive pandemic restrictions and local instant noodle purchases.

Being confined at home without the means to order prepared food, many Vietnamese turned to the convenience of mì gói. Moreover, with greatly diminished income due to lockdowns and inflation, cheap noodle packets have been the most affordable meals for a growing demographic of locals.

While Vietnam leads the world in mì gói consumption per capita, China is still the world’s largest instant noodle consumer in total volume. Data from WINA estimates that in 2021, China’s national noodle demand amounted to nearly 44 billion servings, followed by Indonesia at 13.3 billion servings. Vietnam comes in third with 8.6 billion servings.

According to WINA, tôm chua cay (spicy and sour shrimp broth) is the most popular instant noodle flavor in Vietnam, and Vietnamese also like elastic noodles. Instant phở is also a standout performer in the country.

[Photo via Vina Irato]

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