The Most Delivered Takeout Foods In 2016 Includes Oxtail & Clearly Some Of Us Need Answers

It’s been a crazy year, and through good times and bad, there’s one constant: Everyone loves takeout. Yesterday, GrubHub released its “A Year in Delivery” study, tracking the top trends in food delivery for the year. According to the mobile food ordering company, the most delivered takeout foods of 2016 range from comforting classics to… oxtail? Well, why not?

To find out what people are eating this year — when they don’t want to cook but they also don’t want to go out — GrubHub analyzed its delivery orders from January to November 2016, comparing them to the same time spans in 2015 and 2014. The company also looked at how food orders shifted in response to things happening in the world — for example, when the Cubs won the World Series on November 2, orders for hotdogs in Chicago shot up by 36 percent. When Winter Storm Jonas hit back in January, people unsurprisingly craved hot, bolstering staples, sending orders for tomato soup up by 230 percent.

GrubHub’s most popular delivery orders of 2016, compared to the last two years, all have one thing in common: they are warm, rich, and comforting — a reflection, perhaps, what a turbulent year it’s been? When you’re upset, frightened, or confused (which have basically been the catchwords of 2016), it’s hard to imagine anything better than someone showing up at your front door with your favorite comfort foods, so the top item on this list should come as no surprise:

1. Mac and Cheese.

Orders for these cheesy classic shot up by 373 percent in 2016.

2. Chicken and Waffles.

Orders for this soul food standard spiked 234 percent.

3. Tonkotsu Ramen.

This Japanese favorite starts with a thick pork broth and noodles, and includes a variety of toppings, like boiled eggs, scallions, pork, and pickled ginger. Yum. Orders for the dish increased by 223 percent in 2016.

4. Southern Fried Chicken.

Orders for crispy, delicious Southern fried chicken increased by 218 percent.

5. Oxtail.

Oxtail may seem like an odd addition to this list, but, with its popularity increasing by 161 percent this year, it’s clearly beloved. And though oxtail — literally, the meat from the tail of an ox or cow — might not be as common in U.S. kitchens as mac and cheese, its inclusion on this list makes a certain amount of sense. Because it has to be cooked for a long time, oxtail is often used in rich stews and soups — dishes that perfectly fit under the umbrella of “comfort food.”

GrubHub has also analyzed 2016 food trends to make some predictions about what’s going to be hot in 2017. The big winner? Tamales, which rose in popularity among deliveries this year by 456 percent. As someone from South Texas, where tamales are already a staple, I can only say, “YAAAS.”

You can check out GrubHub's whole "A Year in Delivery" study here.

Images: photosoup, Joshua Resnick (1, 2) Chuck Place, NOBU, farbled_01/Fotolia