Why TikTok is now obsessed with Caesar salad

Oil, citrus, pepper, and garlic are the main ingredients in many basic salad dressings. Add Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, and anchovies (!) and you have the ingredients for a traditional Caesar dressing. If this is the first time you've learned that these little fish are a staple of the classic Caesar, then just know that they have something to thank for the salty, umami-rich flavor that oozes with every bite.

I order a Caesar salad every time I see it on a restaurant menu, and whenever I feel stressed, I make my own dressing and consider it my post-vacation "reset" meal ( On my third day in Las Vegas last summer, I found the closest Caesar I could find) and I felt like all the recent Caesar love in my five-year plan was being seen. While I'm excited about the recent trend, it got me thinking...why is the internet so obsessed with Caesar salad? Why now?

Caesar salad has been around for decades (an Italian restaurateur, chef, and hotelier named Caesar "Caesar" Cardini patented the dressing in 1948), but it recently gained popularity online. Revival came. According to a TikTok representative, the #caesar hashtag has 620.9 million views, 230 million of which have occurred in the past six months. #caesarsalad and #caesardressing have 189 million and 3.5 million views respectively. People use the platform to share their own Caesar recipes, recreate Caesar recipes loved by celebrities like Snoop Dogg, and even review Caesar salads in their city.

To truly appreciate the enduring love for the Caesar salad, one must first understand its history. In 1927, Cardini, an Italian who immigrated to the United States, opened a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. (He chose this location to escape Prohibition in the United States.) The most widely accepted version of the salad's origin is that he invented it at Caesar's Restaurant and Bar in Tijuana when he wanted to find a way to use leftover food Residue, because there is not much raw material left. To this day, Caesar's Restaurant & Bar offers a dressing of minced garlic, mustard, anchovy fillets, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolks, lime juice, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, served with uncut lettuce and a side of crostini. . It's slightly different from the classic Caesar that many people know today, which uses lemon juice or mayonnaise and is served with sliced ​​lettuce and plenty of croutons. Now, all these years later, people are taking to TikTok to share how they like their Caesars.

Despite the recent surge in salad videos on TikTok, some users on the platform have been focusing on green, leafy dishes for years. The Salad Lab page has 2.1 million followers and is run by California food blogger Darlene Schrijver-Hunkapiller. She recreates celebrities' favorite salads, remixes items like bagels and smoked salmon into salads, and recreates salads from popular chain restaurants.

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When it comes to a good salad, Schrijver-Hunkapiller considers flavor, the quality and freshness of the ingredients, and says, "Sure, just have some crunch." Hundreds of Salads Shared on Her Page , Schrijver-Hunkapiller believes that Caesar salad is one of the most popular salads, not only because of its taste, but also because of the nostalgia and emotion it brings to those who eat it.

"[Caesar] is the only salad my son will eat. It's always requested at family gatherings, so I always hand-make the dressing. It resonates with me and my family, and I think it probably does with others, too," she says.

Marissa Dankosky, a registered dietitian in New Jersey, agrees that foods associated with good memories can provide comfort during stressful times. "Food can definitely be emotionally comforting just by taste. If you like the taste of [food]... it can temporarily improve your mood," she said.

But not everyone who has jumped on the Caesar bandwagon on TikTok over the past six months is nostalgic for the delicious salad. Influencer Kit Keenan, a self-proclaimed “year-round Caesar girl,” admits that when she saw Caesar starting to trend on TikTok, she realized she hadn’t had one in years. The trend inspired her to start sharing videos of herself trying Caesar salads around her hometown of New York City, trying to find the best one, and considering how common Caesar salads are on restaurant menus, they're easy to find. "I love the small community of Caesar girls who follow me and tell me which Caesar I should try next," she tells Bustle.

Keenan estimates she's eaten more than 20 different salads from around the city (the top three include Emmett's on Grove, Emilio's Ballato and Carbone, although takeout from Westville is an honorable mention), and she focuses on them when ranking them. certain details.

“The three main criteria [I look for] are Parmesan – lots of Parmesan – crispy croutons, and a good salad base. I prefer romaine lettuce. All my Caesars [The rankings] are all based on how those three ingredients come together,” she said. While she prefers to leave out the classic anchovies from her homemade dressing, her renewed love for Caesar extends beyond the salad bowl. She recently shared a recipe for Caesar wings on her page. She's making a Caesar pasta salad for her TikTok account, which she insists is "getting better and better every time."

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Dankoski believes that besides being stylish, Caesar is also a great meal to make when you feel like you've strayed from your daily routine. Because it's salty, crunchy, and refreshing, it's a vegetable-rich meal that's not boring at all. "Caesar salad might be [a good reset] because it tastes good and it does have some vegetables in it. If you want a more nutritious option, maybe you could put some spinach leaves in because it's a dark green leaf greens instead of iceberg lettuce, or you could put some kale in," she said. "Then you can top it with some lean protein, like grilled chicken. If you're vegetarian, you can always opt for chickpeas or some type of legume." Ultimately, the beauty of a Caesar is in the eye of the beholder.

So is there a clear answer to why Caesar salad has cemented itself in the TikTok salad-loving zeitgeist? Obviously the taste and wide availability have something to do with it. Some people's emotional connection to crunchy, leafy greens, creamy and cheesy meals may also be the reason. Ultimately, it might just be another trendy food that spreads like wildfire through the five-year plan, but the way it can be customized to your personal preferences — kale or lettuce? Parmesan or Pecorino? With anchovies or without anchovies? ——It doesn’t hurt.

"Croutons can be completely different. You can make cubes, you can use butter, you can use oil, you can use garlic, you can mix it with cheese," Schrijver-Hunkapiller said. "Some people can cut lettuce, but historically you couldn't cut lettuce. Charlie Puth talks about how he eats Caesar salad with his hands. It's a whole phenomenon."


Marissa Dankosky , registered dietitian nutritionist

Darlene Schrijver-Hunkapiller, founder of Salad Lab

Kit Keenan, lifestyle influencer