Americans love their junk food, we all know that. Their influence is so far-reaching that other countries have started to adopt their cuisine. Here are some twists on classic American fast food that has been found abroad.
The food must be so good that it’s being shared all around the world, some of these twists on what you’re familiar with may surprise you, pork flossed donuts, anyone?
Ever looked at a McDonald’s menu and thought it was missing a certain something? Well, McDonald’s wanted to break away from being the fast-food restaurant from the 1970s and have upped their menu. This includes Italian if you feel like it. We give you, the McSpaghetti.
It doesn’t stop at spaghetti though, they also have alfredo, lasagna, fettuccine, and more Italian dishes. However, it seemed like the market wasn’t interested and they had to take it off their menu. That is, everywhere except the Philippines where it’s become a massive hit.
Here’s another McDonald’s dish that you might not know about. McDonald’s really knows how to fit the local cuisine into their menu. In Japan, it seems that they prefer rice to bread, and because of this, they use rice instead of burger buns.
This item on the menu is called the “gohan” burger. The rice bun is made by caramelizing rice with soy sauce. Even if they weren’t the first to try this, they certainly popularized it in Japan.
When the market you’re trying to appeal to is more than one billion people. It can be hard to have something for everybody. Domino’s knows this and decided to try and cater to their market with the Indi Tandoori Paneer Pizza.
They were confident that their pizza would be a hit if they chose to incorporate two of India’s biggest cuisines. Tandoor – an oven that is known for making food very smokey, and a kind of cheese paneer.
No matter where you look, there’s always a market for sweet candy bars. But we bet you didn’t know about this candy bar that you can find on the other side of the world. This Kit Kat is quite special as you wouldn’t find it in any of your local stores.
The salt lemon Kit Kat was introduced in 2019 and all of the sales go to helping people affected by the flooding that destroyed a lot of houses in south-western Japan. The candy has taken off and is loved by many in Japan.
McDonald’s has their homemade apple pies in America, but did you know that in Asia there’s another pie flavor? Taro is a root vegetable and can be found in Oceanic, South Asian, and African cuisine. Taro is similar to the potato and has many different uses.
Taro is incorporated into a lot of Asian desserts. The pies at these McDonald’s chains are fried and filled with the sweet taro filling. Even though they were made for the Asian market the taro pie made a brief appearance on menus in Hawaii.
When you think of McDonald’s soft serve we bet vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or any combination of the three come to mind. But when it comes to Asia there are certainly more interesting flavors in the restaurants.
In Asia, people love sweet potato, so this lavender soft-serve gives them what they want. The sweet potato flavor is candied and is served with a cookie flower on top. It’s made a huge appearance on Instagram pages lately.
Doritos made a name for itself in the 1960s and never looked back. But now they’ve gotten huge in Japan as well. They have a host of weird flavors in Japan that cater to everyone.
A flavor has risen up amongst the crowd and have everyone blogging about it. It’s the shrimp mayo pizza flavor. This is a popular pizza topping in Japan and has collaborated with the largest pizza chain in Japan – Pizza-La.
When you order loaded fries at your local McDonald’s you expect to find lots of cheese and some kind of meat, right? Well in Singapore loaded fries mean something else. Instead of cheese, you’ll find egg yolk, called “egg yolk sauce.”
In Asian cuisine, salted egg yolks have been around for ages. It’s already a popular flavor for snacks and maybe soon your local McDonald’s will be selling some kind of egg condiment.
Pringles have the slogan “Once you pop, you just can’t stop” and the irony in this is that there’s one flavor that will have American’s stopping after one bite. A few years ago Pringles decided to release a new flavor for Japan – spicy cod flavor.
Marinating the eggs from a cod results in something known as mentaiko. They are salty and savory and can be used in anything like ramen or even Pringles! Singapore has recently adopted this flavor as well.
When you go to Dunkin’ Donuts, you usually expect to find some sweet pastries that you can stuff your face with. Flavors like Bavarian cream and jelly-donuts fill your thoughts as your mouth waters. But in Indonesia, you’d find quite a different kind of donut at the fast-food chain.
Spicy Mango and Spicy Pineapple are popular flavors that play on how popular the fruits are and how they’re used in many recipes all throughout Indonesia.
The cherry pie has been a part of American culinary history for centuries. It’s no wonder that Starbucks decided to cherry-pick this traditional pie to create a new Frappuccino flavor. The American cherry pie Frappuccino hit Japanese Starbucks in early 2017 to rave reviews.
The blended frozen drink features the coffee chain’s signature vanilla crème Frappuccino base, sandwiched between layers of cherry compote. The delectable drink is then topped with whipped cream and a hard pie-like shell in order to replicate a cherry pie a la mode taste.
The McFlurry, a flavored whipped ice cream from McDonald’s, is known to incorporate regional candies in international markets. Recently, the fast-food chain went a step further for its Asian markets by including one of the region’s most popular fruits, durian.
Initially launched in Malaysia, the popularity of the durian flavored McFlurry has caused a fruit frenzy across Southeast Asia. While the fruit is known for its extremely strong smell, which has caused it to be banned from hotels and public transportation, food bloggers have reassured potential consumers that the durian McFlurry is safe to eat in public.
Although sweet potatoes are originally from the Americas, they have become an important part of the Asian diet, particularly in Japan. Initially imported as a substitute for rice in the event of a poor harvest, sweet potatoes have become one of the most versatile starches in the Japanese kitchen.
Based on the popular candied sweet potatoes dish, Daigaku Imo, these Kit Kats feature the creamy sweet taste most Japanese are familiar with. The flavor, which coincides with the tuber’s autumn harvest, was released as a seasonal treat to rave reviews.
In Taiwan, the perfection of fried chicken is considered to be a culinary art form. With competition high, McDonald’s in this region have ditched their usual “dump frozen nuggets into hot oil” method, and embraced the multi-step frying process Taiwanese fried chicken is known for.
In addition to offering super crunchy nuggets, the chain has released a seaweed flavored spice packet, which can be used to encrust fries and nuggets. The seaweed spice has gained such a cult following, that customers have resorted to posting DIY recipes and videos in order to recreate the chain’s limited edition spice blend.
Since its founding in 1932, the American snack brand Lays has introduced a variety of unique regional flavors following its expansion into international markets. In 2019, the chip company released a variety of limited edition flavors for the Thai market.
Naturally, the company took inspiration from two popular Thai dishes, green curry and shrimp tom yum. While reviews for the chips have been mixed, most food bloggers understand the difficulty in reducing traditional dishes with highly complex flavors into one bite-sized chip.
The Hershey’s chocolate company has come a long way since its humble small Pennsylvanian town beginnings. The American snack and candy corporation is known worldwide for both their classic products, and regional flavors available abroad. One unique product available in Japan infuses two popular American snacks, sweet breakfast cereal and Hershey’s chocolate bars.
This unique cereal features little puffs of cookies filled with a matcha infused white chocolate creamy filling. While most Americans would be hesitant to try a tea-flavored breakfast cereal, matcha is becoming increasingly popular thanks to large companies like Starbucks releasing matcha flavored lattes.
In 2017, as part of a collaboration with American hot sauce company Tabasco, McDonald’s in Hong Kong unveiled a limited edition menu featuring one of the chain’s most perplexing culinary creations — a hot chocolate sundae infused with Tabasco hot sauce.
While the collaboration included spicy hamburgers and fries, customers were surprised to see that even the desserts couldn’t escape without a few splashes of the spicy sauce. Those brave enough to try the innocuous looking ice cream reported that it was “nothing too special”, and some spice lovers were even disappointed in the dessert’s lack of spiciness.
While apple pies are in no threat of being removed from the McDonald’s menu, they do face some strong competition by another popular pie flavor, sweet red bean paste. Red bean paste, is a common ingredient in both savory and sweet East Asian dishes.
Pies or snacks filled with this red bean paste are traditionally eaten on the Chinese New Year for good luck, and as symbols of family reunions. East Asian McDonald’s serve this auspicious dessert year-round, but typically repackage the pies in deep red and gold around the New Year.
While the concept of a stuffed pizza crust may have its origins in an American test kitchen, its success has largely been found abroad. Beginning in the early 2000s, Pizza Hut had begun experimenting with a variety of ingredients to fill their pizza crusts with. Cheese was an immediate hit, but the chain decided to incorporate another American snack, the hot dog.
The hot dog stuffed crust was released in Japan to rave reviews. Diners enjoyed the small ring of hot dogs peeking out beneath the mountain of toppings. While the pizza found success in the Japanese market, Americans were not interested in trying the pizza hot dog hybrid.
Most soda consumers do not typically associate their carbonated beverage with health. Soda is often given a bad rep by nutritionists as being full of sugar, and generally bad for your health. With this in mind, Fanta created a specially designed “healthier” soda for the Japanese market with a yogurt banana flavor.
Yogurt based sodas have been popular in Japan for many years, but in 2019 Fanta decided to release another version, this time using banana. The drink’s developers also added vitamin B6 and dietary fiber in an effort to make people less guilty over their choice to indulge in a bubbly beverage.
Most people watching an eel undulate in the current wouldn’t automatically assume that the slippery sea creature would make a popular food item, let alone a chip flavor. Yet this snake-like aquatic animal is an extremely popular ingredient in Japanese cooking, so much so, that some species have become endangered because of over fishing.
Eels are typically served basted in a sweet soy sauce, grilled and served over a bowl of rice. This dish, called unagi-don blends savory and sweet flavors- a unique taste that Lays potato chips sought to emulate with their ‘grilled eel’ chips. Tasters of the chips have given the snack high scores, even describing them as “magical.”
For many people food isn’t just about the taste, it’s also about the look and presentation. While the fast food industry isn’t known for the most aesthetically pleasing meals, Burger King pushed the limit with the introduction of their black hamburgers.
While the chain had introduced the concept in 2012, it wasn’t until several years later that they truly turned to the dark side. Chefs used bamboo charcoal to darken the meat, bun, and cheese. While few reviews mention the taste, it seems that most diners just couldn’t get over the strangely unnatural coloring.
If you happen to be craving something sweet while travelling in China, you might want to double-check the label on your box of Oreo cookies. In 2018, the cookie’s manufacturer Mondelez, announced that they would be releasing two new flavors of the beloved American snack, hot wing and wasabi.
The ‘hot wing’ flavor Oreos feature a neon orange cream that is supposed to taste like traditional wing sauce. The wasabi Oreos are stuffed with a bright green cream, a similar shade to the spicy horseradish sauce. The concept of hot wing and wasabi Oreos has led to countless tweets and mentions across social media.
For many Americans, sweet potatoes typically conjure up memories of Thanksgiving meals and of fall. Across East Asia however, sweet potatoes are commonly used as a flavor for a variety of food items. In autumn of 2019, Starbucks across Japan unveiled a seasonal drink called the Sweet Potato Gold Frappuccino.
The golden colored drink featured small bits of candied sweet potato, along with a honey and sweet potato sauce. According to tasters, the roasted sweet potatoes impart a rich sweet taste that blends perfectly with the strong taste of espresso used as the base of the coffee drink.
As most people know, nothing brings people together like a box of doughnuts. This classic coffee companion has a special place in the hearts of most Americans. While most Americans are used to fighting over the last Boston Crème in the office breakroom, Chinese customers weren’t so open to these fried pastries.
Chinese consumers typically prefer more savory breakfast items rather than a sweet American snack. With this in mind, test kitchens at Dunkin’ Donuts developed a doughnut topped with pork floss and seaweed. Known as rousong, pork floss is dried pork meat that has been shredded into thin fibers.