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Discover What People Eat Around The World In Photos

By Annie André

(Boring Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to buy something, I may earn a small commission (which helps me buy more croissants) at no additional cost to you. Merci for your support)


Think you know what other people eat around the world? Take a look at how much and how little the rest of the world eats compared to your country. You might be surprised!

Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, a husband and wife team from California, travelled to 24 countries around the world photographing and documenting what 30 families eat in one week.

This clever couple put their findings in a book called Hungry Planet: What The World Eats.

Each of the families profiled in the book includes detailed interviews, a description of their weekly food purchases, their favourite foods and photos of them in food markets and at home surrounded by a week’s worth of groceries and more.

It’s a far cry from what you might order at a 3 star Micheline restaurant in Paris which can cost up to $1,000

I’ve pulled together a selection of those images from the book below. 

What people eat in one week around the world (in photos)

 

Hungry Planet: what people eat around the world in 1 week.

North America

United States- North Carolina

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: USA

Food Cost 1 week: $341.98
Favourite food: spaghetti, potatoes, chicken with sesame seeds

Canada- Nunavut Territory

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Canada

Food expenditure for one week: US$345
Favourite Foods: narwhal, polar bear, extra cheese stuffed crust pizza, watermelon

Central America

Mexico-Cuernavaca

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Mexico

Food Cost 1 week:1 862.78 Mexican pesos or $189.09
Favourite food: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken

Lots and lots of fruits but check out all the coke on the back table. Holy coke-a-moly!

South America

Ecuador- Tingo:

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Ecuador

Food Cost 1 week: $31.55
Family recipe: Potato soup with cabbage

*Humbling, notice all the bananas or Plantaines and bags of grain and potatoes and the lack of processed stuff.

Europe

United Kingdom: Cllingbourne Ducis

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Uk

Food Cost 1 week: 155.54 British Pounds or $253.15
Favourite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream

Not many vegetables or fruits looks mostly processed, and they said one of their favourite foods is mayonnaise sandwich. Please tell me that’s a pseudonym for something else.

Germany: Bargteheide

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Germany

Food Cost 1 week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
Favourite foods: fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza, vanilla pudding

I see lots of leafy greens along with beer and wine. Where are the sausages and currywurst?

France: Montreuil

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: France

Food expenditure for one week: 315.17 euros or $419.95
Favourite Foods: Delphine Le Moine’s Apricot Tarts, pasta carbonara, Thai food

Notice the Nutella way in the back. No milk. Lots of yogurt and cheese but seriously, where are the baguettes? I do not know one French person who does not eat baguettes at least once a week. Makes me wonder.

Africa

Africa: Chad

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Africa

Food Cost 1 week: 685 CFA francs, or $1.23
Favourite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat

I had to stare at this photo for a very long time. I feel humbled by this image. Is that all the water they drink in one week between all of them? I see the grains and maybe rice, but they have no fruits veggies? Is this really enough to sustain them, or is it that we ( the rest of the world) overeat?

Egypt: Cairo

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Egypt

Food Cost 1 week: 387.85 Egyptian pounds, or $68.53
Family recipe: Okra and mutton

Wow, this looks amazingly good and healthy. Lots of veggies and fruits and hardly any carbs at all. 

Australia: Riverview

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Australia

Food Cost 1 week: 481 Australian dollars, or $376

Family Recipe: Marge Brown’s Quandong (an Australian peach) Pie, Yoghurt

Lots of water. A good mix of meat, beans and fruit. Still seems like a lot of processed food in the back on top of the stove. Where is the Vegemite?

Asia

China: Beiijing

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: China

Food Cost 1 week: 1 233.76 yuan, or $155.06
Favourite foods: fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce

What’s interesting is that this family has the least amount of vegetables are on the table, although they do consume lots of fruits.

Japan: Kodaira

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Japan

Food Cost 1 week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25
Favourite foods: sashimi, fruit, cake, potato chips

Check out all the pre-packaged foods on the floor. Notice very little red meat and chicken. Mostly fish.

South Asia:

Bhutan:  Shingkhey Village

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Bhutan

Food Cost 1 week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Family recipe: Mushroom, cheese and pork

Lots of greens, fruits and look at that big bag probably filled with rice.

Conclusion:

What people eat around the world varies from family to family, but there is something to be said about these eye-opening photos.

The western world, in general, eats a lot of processed foods — cereals, bread, chips, sodas etc.

Many families don’t eat enough greens, vegetables or fruits. Even parts of Asia seemed to consume a large amount of processed foods.

In other countries where these processed foods are perhaps less readily available, or maybe just because of cultural reasons, more fresh produce is eaten like in South East Asia, Egypt and Africa.

Pick up a copy of the whole book at Amazon loaded with many more interesting photos and detailed interviews. This is a great book to share with the kids too. 

Hungry Planet: What The World Eats
Buy Now Learn More
I may earn a small commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Photos: PETER MENZEL/BARCROFT MEDIA

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  1. Hi Annie:

    How are you?

    I see a lot of programs of this type
    On TV because
    I love seeing the people,
    The places – and that YUMMY food.

    It never ceases to amaze me
    How many different kinds of foods
    Exist all over the globe
    And how different people
    Eat so many diverse foods.

    I just loved the pictures
    Of all the people and the food
    That you have on this post

    Thanks for sharing

    Take care.

    Best wishes and regards.

    Veena :)

  2. Oh wow Annie!

    Okay, I don’t eat the healthiest. No fresh fruits, besides bananas, or vegetables in my house. Most things are frozen for me for the convenience factor and I hate to go grocery shopping. I visit the store maybe once a month so I stack up with foods that last.

    All of that soda and chips. I’m not a soda drinker and I would eat chips to if I bought them but I don’t buy anything that I will eat because when I know it’s there I’ll start craving it and eat it whether I’m hungry or not. I can’t keep my weight down if I eat like that or that kind of stuff.

    I’m not overweight though and I’m not unhealthy so I must be doing something right. I would prefer to have a garden where I could grow everything and eat fresh food but that’s just not going to happen where I live.

    Very interesting post and thanks for sharing it. Yep, I was pretty humbled too with the photo from Africa. I could never see me living in a tent either. Oh wow!

    ~Adrienne

  3. Um, forgot to include LEGUMES in my list. These are just on top of my head. But you can guarantee there are no junk food except coffee & ice-cream. Even our mayonnaise is VEGGIENASE made of soy.

  4. Hi Annie,

    If I have to take a picture of our food, it’ll be like this:
    • vegetables (chinese broccoli, bean sprouts, spinach, asparagus…)
    • fruits (mango, bananas, apples, oranges, mandarin, pineapple…)
    • potatoes (red or brown)
    • brown rice
    • whole wheat bread
    • lots & lots of water
    • veggie meat (chicken, hotdog, cutlets, all gluten meat)
    • soy milk
    • real butter
    • fruit juice (nectarine, mango, peach)
    • oatmeal (raw)
    • spaghetti sauce & noodles
    • coffee & coffee cream mate
    • peanut butter (the one that’s not processed)
    • jam or jellies
    • rocky road ice-cream with nuts, coconut ice-cream
    • nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
    • frozen blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, blackberries

    We are big fans of high anti-oxidants fruits and vegetables. Hubby is born vegetarian, I’m not. I am just converted vegetarian. Perhaps the only bad thing here are the coffee and ice-cream. I used to eat a lot of eggs and now we hardly eat any. When we make omelette we tossed away the yolk (which 300 mg of pure cholesterol, this is poison to your heart). You are what you eat. If garbage in, garbage out. Your body is meant to be in top condition. However, if you put the wrong fuel in there your body will not function well.

    In the beginning we believe that God design men to eat fruits and vegetables as in the beginning with Adam & Eve. God said that the fruits and vegetables will be their meat. Men in those days could live for 1000 years. Till “after the flood” men start eating meat. Noah was instructed to take 7-pairs of CLEAN animals and only 1 pair of unclean beasts. The reason…God was going to destroy everything on earth including the vegetations. And so while Noah is waiting for the flood to come down, at least he have these 6-pairs of beast to eat. The 1 pair of clean beast are there to preserve the animal and so as the 1 pair of I clean beast.

    After the flood, when men start eating meat…height & size of men decrease and so the life expansion. It went from 1000 years…to 900 years…to 500…to 300…and now at the most if one eats healthy and exercise right you can live up to 120 years. But if not many dies at age of 50-80 years old. And some who get to live as long as 80-90 years do not have quality of life but hooked on a machine or in the nursing home bed ridden.

    Anyway thanks for sharing this. It’s a good read.

    Angela

  5. The narwhal and polar bear? I think they were like… “hmm…what can we claim is our favorite, that we’ve only had a limited number of times in our lives and only people that live here would eat?!” Only families with native ancestry (hunting for sustenance, not sport) can hunt those…and I bet it’s certainly not common, even for them!!Definitely SO interesting to look at the photos and comparisons between eating habits in different countries! I wonder what MY photo would look like? Who knows…traveling does weird things to it!

  6. It is, indeed fascinating. It’s all the fizzy drinks that astound me, I’ve never, in my life, had more than 1 can of diet coke every now and again ( ie. maybe 1 a month). But let’s be honest, these national stereotypes are ridiculous, I’m British and we eat more like the Peruvians ( plus pizza now and then, it’s the food of the gods!)).

    1. I hear you Alyson. I frowned on the image of North America. I dont like american pizza nor do I eat any potatoes and French fries. But I think that the way you eat is not the norm for your country just like the way I eat is not the norm either. I know plenty of British and Americans who actually eat a lot like the people in these pictures.

    1. I found this fascinating too. I have been consciously thinking about what we eat for a long time and so when I saw this book with all the photos in it, I jumped on the chance to write about it. I just cannot believe how some families dont eat any fruits and or veggies in one week. How their insides must be blocked all the time. LOL :)

  7. That’s what I thought too about the polar bear. When and if you ever return home I wonder how your diet will look. I know that because of all my travels it has profoundly effected the way I eat in a positive way. I am sure it has done the same for you too. Best of all, the kids are exposed to so many more different types of foods right?

  8. One of the benefits to traveling all these places and experiencing this (besides the obvious humility factor) is that you can mix and match your favorite bits from every culture’s cuisine to custom tailor your own perfect meals :)

  9. Hey Annie

    There are some really humbling photos here.

    My wife’s a vegetarian so we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and also quorn.

    There’s plenty of processed foods on the menu too though I’m afraid!

    1. I hear you Tim. It is hard to cut back on processed foods when it is around you everywhere and the social norm. At least you all have lots of fruits and veggies which is something really good to give to your kids as far as nutrition and eating habbits.

  10. Hi Annie

    No wonder why there are so many health problems with people. My food people is really low because I try to eat healthier foods. Don’t waste food either, rarely do I ever throw anything out. Quit eating breads and pasta for awhile, to try to trim off some pounds and feel better. Never drink sodas, it is just one cup of coffee a day and water from the tap. We have our own orange trees, so we eat oranges and make orange juice. Realized I was not eating enough vegetables so went and bought a bunch. It is amazing how many vegetables you can get for ten dollars. People would find their money going a lot farther if they would just eat more fruits and vegetables. I would flip out if my grocery bill for one week was 300 dollars.

  11. Hi Annie,

    Wow! What a collection of pictures and families from all over the globe, along with your expert comments :)

    Yes indeed, my heart went out to the Africans and the amount the have to eat, and here most of us just tend to waste off so much in our plates.

    Speaking of myself, though we have lots of options to have processed food, but being vegetarians, we stick to more of seasonal vegetables, fruits, and grains. That is what w have daily- it’s only when we go out for dinner, which again is rare – would we indulge in eating fast food like pizzas and burgers etc.

    Thanks for sharing this. :)

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