Listening to Pop Music Like Taylor Swift Can Make Chinese Food Taste Better

By Mike Pomranz |

© Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Sound’s ability to enhance eating experiences has been a hot topic recently. Behind much of that research is Oxford University professor Charles Spence. This year alone, he has looked into things such as how the sound your food makes – like the crunch in bacon – improves its taste and was the inspiration behind a new food pairing playlist on British Airways.

Now, Spence has made media waves again with the very Internet-friendly claim that listening to Taylor Swift can make Chinese delivery taste better.

This isn’t his own personal opinion. The professor conducted an experiment where 700 participants listened to songs from six different genres of music while eating different takeout meals. They were then asked to rate the food on a scale of one to ten. Interestingly, pop music – specifically Swift’s “Blank Space” and Ed Sheeran’s “Sing” – were found to correspond with higher ratings for Chinese food.

But don’t go tossing on 1989 for just any meal. Pasta paired better with Pavarotti, Vivaldi and Profkiev. And Indian food went best with Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine” and the Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.” Apparently, Indian food rocks. "We found that if there is music that is more alerting, more arousing, then people appreciate spicier food more,” said Spence.

Meanwhile, sushi goes best with jazzy tunes like those from Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra. And bad news for R&B and hip-hop fans: those genres were shown to have no effect on the enjoyment of any of the foods tested at all.

Spence so believes in his findings, he even suggests that takeout joints might want to consider serving up CDs with their meals. Or maybe just a link to a Spotify playlist would suffice. You can use the CD as a plate.

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