24 Foods and Drinks That Don’t Live Up to the Hype

woman eats red velveet cake

Food trends can be quite powerful, from the fondue obsession in the 70s to the sun-dried tomato rage in the 90s. It seems like people are always hyping up the latest food trend, but many don’t understand the appeal of some of the most popular foods. Not everything lives up to the hype.

1. Gold Flakes

Gold Leaf Flake Cake
Image Credit: Iragazzidoro – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Gold flakes are by far the most overhyped food item. They have zero flavor, an unpleasant foil-like texture, and cost an arm and a leg. They’re much more a flashy status symbol than something real food lovers appreciate, but some of the best restaurants continue to sprinkle them on food.

2. Cold Brew

Cold Brew Coffee
Image Credit: Roland Tanglao – CC0.

Is it all that different from coffee? Cold brew is such a popular coffee drink nowadays, but many people wonder if this latest food trend is worth the extra cost and time. The drink takes at least 24 hours to brew and usually costs at least 50% more than a drip coffee, but people flock to places that serve it.

3. TikTok’s Pink Sauce

Pink Sauce
Image Credit: Dave's Gourmet LLC.

The Pink Sauce from TikTok had a big moment where people were rushing to order it online or find it in grocery stores. To many, including myself, the desire to try this weird, not FDA-approved sauce is baffling, especially when no one discusses the flavor profile. This odd social media moment is over, thankfully, but some still question why it happened in the first place.

4. Deep-Fried Oreos

Deep Fried Oreos
Image Credit: Cla1402group4 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/ Wiki Commons.

Oreos are perfectly wonderful on their own. They do not need to be doused in a heavy batter and then fried into submission. Frankly, the fried exterior adulterates the Oreo, taking away the beauty of its simplicity. They’re also kind of unpleasant to eat because they fall apart and make it difficult to take a bite.

5. Activated Charcoal Anything

Activated Charcoal
Image Credit: Trashpudding – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

I always thought activated charcoal was for cleansing skin and whitening teeth, but apparently, some people eat it. Black burger buns, black ice cream cones, black bagels, and other foods are made with charcoal to create an unorthodox appearance, but it seems unnecessary and unsettling. I’m quite happy with my beige bagels.

6. Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan Salt
Image Credit: Wilfredor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Okay, I’ll admit I tend to fall for this one. Pink salt sounds so adorable and enticing like it would taste sweeter or richer. However, it tastes the same as standard sea salt but costs twice as much. Foods touted as being special, because they feature pink salt, are lying to you.

7. Morel Mushrooms

Morel Mushrooms
Image Credit: American Lotus – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

This type of mushroom has a unique appearance, as the mushroom caps almost look like sponges or coral. They’re relatively rare and, therefore, expensive. I have not had the opportunity to taste one, but many online foodies report they are overrated and taste similarly to more common and affordable mushroom varieties.

8. Truffle Oil

Truffle Oil
Image Credit: Ingrid Balabanova/Shutterstock.

I despise truffle oil and hate it when restaurants use it on everything. It tastes and smells like feet and completely envelops your senses in the worst way possible. Again, I’ve not had the opportunity or finances to taste a real truffle. Still, I expect they are substantially better than truffle oil, which often isn’t even made with real truffles.

9. High-End Wine

Red Wine
Image Credit: congerdesign – CC0/Wiki Commons.

While I love trying new wines, paying an exorbitant amount of money is usually unnecessary. I’ve graduated from bagged wine to glass bottles, but I don’t see myself ever spending hundreds on a single bottle. Yet, others do this every day.

10. Caviar

Image Credit: Sami Keinänen – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Caviar seems to be the pinnacle of high-end food for many, but others feel it isn’t worth the hype. It has a fishy taste and slimy texture that can be unappealing, but the rich, salty flavor is what draws people to it. It may not be enticing to everyone, especially those who dislike seafood, but it remains a popular item among people looking to splurge.

11. Twinkies

Image Credit: calimedia/Shutterstock.

Twinkies are an American icon, but not everyone thinks they’re as good as people say they are. Many point out how they taste artificial, so they're not the most delicious cake option. I enjoy Twinkies, but I agree they are not worth obsessing over — and they’re also terrible for you!

12. Nutella

Image Credit: margouillat photo/Shutterstock.

Nutella became popular when I was in middle school, and kids were claiming it was the new peanut butter. The peanut butter slander was unacceptable to me, and many online feel Nutella itself is overhyped. It’s chocolatey and tasty, but not worth making it your entire personality.

13. French Macarons

French Macarons
Image Credit: Michal Osmenda -Macarons, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Many people find French macarons to be grievously overhyped and sought after. People describe them as sticky and flavorless, which seems harsh to me. I adore French macarons and their many flavors, but the unique texture and subtle taste are not for everyone and probably not worth the high prices either.

14. Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake
Image Credit: Hennem08 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

You know red velvet is just chocolate, right? I’m not going to turn down a red velvet cupcake, but when people say red velvet is their favorite type of cake, it’s puzzling. Does that mean chocolate is also their favorite? Open your eyes, folks. Red velvet is just using its pretty privilege to lure you in.

15. Lobster

Image Credit: Prayitno Los Angeles, USA – Grilled Lobster, CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

While lobster is considered a high-end protein that many people adore, others find it abhorrent and gross. The crustaceans do look like bugs, and dismembering a lobster can feel unpleasant, but I struggle to see how anyone could reject the succulent, sweet, chewy flavor and texture of fresh lobster meat.

16. Oysters

Image Credit: Plateresca/Shutterstock.

It seems like some people are just averse to seafood. Many argue that oysters are awful, and anyone who says they enjoy them is lying. Well, I love them and see the appeal of that fresh, salty sea flavor, but not everyone is on board and thinks people overhype oysters way too much.

17. Kombucha

Image Credit: AAFONSOM -AAFONSOM – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

People also accuse kombucha drinkers of pretending to like this fermented, funky drink. However, people enjoy kombucha not only for its peculiar taste but also for its gut health properties. I can’t get into the flavor of this drink, but many people who don’t like sweet flavors hype it up as the best drink.

18. Bacon

Image Credit: Neptuul – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

I’m not sure how one could think bacon is overrated, but here we are. I think bacon is heavenly, but I can agree that it doesn’t necessarily belong in every single dish and food. It does work with an impressive amount of ingredients, however.

19. Brioche

Image Credit: Opsylac – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Never thought I’d see someone hate on brioche, but some foodies state they’re tired of everything being brioche. This French variety of bread uses more egg and butter to create a fluffy and rich texture, but some folks miss the days when burger buns were just burger buns and not everything was made with brioche.

20. Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea
Image Credit: אריאלה מאיר-Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Bubble tea has become super popular in the U.S. in recent years, but many think it’s an annoying fad that isn’t worth all the hype. I think boba tea is not a decent replacement for a cup of coffee or tea, but it is more appropriate as an alternative to smoothies and other heavy drinks that act more like snacks.

21. Squid Ink

Squid Ink
Image Credit: JillyHean1979 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Squid ink is popular in fancy pasta places, but many don’t understand why anyone would want to consume it. Like the activated charcoal, it turns things — especially pasta — black, creating a more interesting appearance. However, it doesn’t add much flavor and no texture, so it costs a pretty penny for something that is only visual.

22. Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast
Image Credit: Bex Walton from Avocado toast at TAB x TAB, London, CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The recent love for avocado toast is just as strong as the hate for it. While some will chow down on avocado toast any chance they get, others think this mushy, flavorless topping makes bread soggy. In reality, the sweet, earthy flavors and health benefits are what made this snack so popular in the U.S.

23. Kale

Image Credit: Mx. Granger – Own work, CC0/Wiki Commons.

Nowadays, people love to put kale in everything from soups to salads to sandwiches to pasta and everything in between. I don’t understand the appeal of this dry, leafy green that always leaves me with heartburn, and many foodies feel it’s tiresome to see kale in every menu item.

24. Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Flamin Hot Cheetos
Image Credit: Frito-Lay INC.

I recently tried Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for the first time. They were good, but not great. Some people are seriously obsessed with this spicy snack and talk about it like it’s the best food item ever conceived. Even as someone who enjoyed it, I can’t imagine telling someone it’s amazing or opting for it every time I stop at the convenience store.

Author: Veronica Booth

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Food, Entertainment, Movies, TV, Fashion, Lifestyle, Celebrity


Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.

If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.

She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.