When travelling to a new part of the world, it’s pretty common to immerse oneself in a new culture and try new things. A big part of travelling is trying new cuisine that wouldn’t be available back at home. Whether it be escargot in France or real pasta in Italy, trying new food during vacation is essential to the experience as a whole.
When tourists come to America, it’s easy to imagine what food people are looking for: hamburgers, ball park hot dogs, and other American classics. However, tourists may recognize global chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Burger King and think we offer the same menu items that other countries do. Even though trying real, authentic food while travelling abroad is important, it’s not a crime to slip up and try something off the Dollar Menu in another country when curiosity (and laziness) strikes.
It’s hard to imagine spaghetti being served at McDonald’s, but it’s a thing. Pork and Seaweed donuts are also a thing. Throughout the world, restaurant chains that we’re used to right here at home make and sell things we’d never be able to find in America. The United States of America hold a reputation for being unhealthy, but it turns out we aren’t the only offenders when it comes to loving our fast food. Even though we may not like to admit it, other countries have items on their menus that we secretly wish end up on ours. Here are 15 international restaurant menu items we wish we had in America.
At Dunkin Donuts in Korea, visitors won’t just find a plain old maple bar. Korea has stepped it up a notch with Kimchi Croquettes, a fried, unique donut. Kimchi is a spicy pickled cabbage and is the national dish of Korea – so it’s not surprising that it was covered in dough, fried, and made to sell in a donut shop. The Kimchi Croquette is one of five “ethnic” donuts that Dunkin Donuts has created, others being in Greece and Japan. Since this “pastry” isn’t really a traditional donut, Dunkin Donuts decided to steer clear of naming it a donut, hence naming it a croquette.
It’s normal for pizza in the U.S. to be wrapped in bacon and have cheese-stuffed crust. Pizza Hut Middle East, however, has the Crown Crust Pizza, with options of chicken strips or cheeseburgers in place of regular crust. Even though the crust is packed with meat, the pizza toppings include even more meat. The Crown Crust Pizza is definitely a redesigned meat lover’s pizza, perfect for the American college frat boy. Pizza Hut in the Middle East also used to have meatballs and cream cheese as a crust option, so it’s clear they’re always looking for new, innovative ways to get their customers to eat the crust.
At a popular Japanese fast food chain, customers can purchase a Kit-Kat Sandwich. This sandwich features a Kit-Kat topped with whipped cream and orange peel, and all stuck between two slices of white bread. The Kit-Kat isn’t a regular Kit-Kat, though. It’s a “Kit-Kat for Café” bar, which was created for people to dip in hot beverages, and is crunchier than the regular bar. First Kitchen uses the “Kit-Kat for Café” bars to give the sandwich an enhanced texture. Those who’ve tried the sandwich say that it’s actually better than you’d expect.
KFC Korea brings the Zinger Double Down to the scene which is a meat patty, adorned with cheese, bacon and ranch, in between two fried chicken patties. “No Bun, All Meat” is how KFC Korea markets the sandwich to clientele. KFC USA used to have the Double Down, but it has an on-again, off-again relationship with the American market as it’s constantly discontinued after being on the menu for limited amounts of time. The Zinger Double Down sells well in Korea, as it did so well during its promotional period that it now holds a permanent spot on the menu.
Curry is a hit or miss taste for most people, but for those who do like it, Domino’s France has a Curry Pizza called the Sublim’ Curry. The Sublim’ Curry Pizza, first introduced in 2011, has light cream, mozzarella, roasted chicken, onions, green pepper, and of course, curry sauce. Weirdly enough, Domino’s France also has another pizza called the Indian Pizza which has less of an Indian influence than the Sublim’ Curry Pizza. The Indian Pizza is topped with light cream, mozzarella, onions, roasted chicken, mushrooms and Emmental cheese.
Believe it or not, Taco Bell opened up in Japan for the first time less than a year ago. In April 2015, Taco Bell Japan became a reality and with lots of one-of-a-kind menu items to order. One of those menu items that Japan has that America doesn’t is the Shrimp and Avocado Burrito. The Shrimp and Avocado Burrito is made up of whole seasoned shrimp, guacamole, wasabi mayo, shredded lettuce, and fiesta salsa, and then wrapped up in a flour tortilla. Taco Bell Japan was so serious about its grand opening that the first 100 customers received a free shirt and a free taco – some customers even camped out overnight.
In the United Kingdom, Burger King sells Chicken Nugget Burgers. If we’re being honest, a lot of fast food places have better chicken nuggets than they do chicken patties – the Chicken Nugget Burger solves this problem. The Burger King Chicken Nugget burger has four chicken nuggets, lettuce, and mayonnaise in between two buns; so basically a regular chicken sandwich, but better and way cooler. Having a Burger King Chicken Burger would be possible by purchasing a chicken sandwich and chicken nuggets, then crafting the burger yourself, but don’t expect the employee to know what you’re talking about if you try and order it here in America.
Here in America, Oktoberfest is very popular because the celebration includes lots of beer. Pizza Hut Russia obviously takes Oktoberfest very seriously too, and brought a seasonal Oktoberfest Pizza to the game. The Oktoberfest Pizza has some pretty traditional tastes – Bavarian sausage, pepperoni, red onions, bell pepper, mushroom, sauce, and mustard, with a regular pizza crust. Oktoberfest runs from mid-September to the first weekend of October, and is all about autumn, drinking beer, and eating food with friends and family. The Oktoberfest Pizza apparently sells pretty well, as it comes back year after year.
KFC Philippines is also a fan of the Double Down idea, but they switched it up with the Double Down Dog. The KFC Double Down Dog is a hotdog with a chicken patty bun instead of bread, and is also smothered in cheese. When asked about the nutrition value of the dish due to health concerns, KFC stated that it has the same nutritional value as a cheeseburger. When they launched the Double Down Dog, it was only on the menu for two days as a probationary period before it became a permanent menu item.
In the Philippines, McDonald’s fans can order a dish called the Chicken McDo with Spaghetti. The Chicken McDo is essentially a piece of battered, fried chicken. The chicken is crispy, golden, and juicy, according to McDonald’s, and is available to be purchased by itself or as a combo with the spaghetti and a side of French fries. The spaghetti is made up of spaghetti noodles, ground beef, and signature McDonald’s spaghetti sauce, and can be topped with cheese. The Chicken McDo combo meal is surprisingly cheap, even for McDonald’s, and only costs $2.80 per combo.
It’s almost surprising that the Crazy Cheesy Bacon Crust Pizza isn’t offered in America, seeing how almost all pizza chains here utilize bacon in almost every way possible. Pizza Hut Puerto Rico has the Crazy Cheesy Bacon Crust Pizza, which is a regular pepperoni pizza with little mini pizzas as the crust. On top of the little mini pizza crust, is lots of cheese, and lots of bacon. The crust is pull-able, making it easy for diners to eat. Unfortunately, the Crazy Cheesy Bacon Crust Pizza is a seasonal holiday menu item.
Chili cheese is a flavor that dominates a lot of markets – it serves well as a topping for hot dogs, in Frito form, and even on fries. However, Burger King Hungary had a different idea for the love of chili cheese. Burger King Hungary has Chili Cheese Nuggets, which are exactly what they sound like. The Chili Cheese Nuggets are basically chicken nugget hybrids; they look like regular chicken nuggets, but the inside is stuffed with Velveeta-like cheese and jalapenos for a spicy kick. The Chili Cheese Nuggets are available to purchase just like chicken nuggets in packs of six, nine, or 20.
At Wendy’s in Canada, guests are able to enjoy poutine. The dish originated in Quebec, Canada, so it’s no wonder even fast food chains sell it. Poutine is wildly popular in both Canada and France, and is considered an indulgent dish. Poutine starts with a base of French fries seasoned with sea salt, and then are topped with cheese curds and light brown gravy. Wendy’s Poutine is one of the signature sides and contains 620 calories, four grams of fiber, and 19 grams of protein, definitely making it a meal to save for cheat day.
For fans who rejoiced when Taco Bell brought the Doritos Locos Tacos to the market, the Doritos Crust Pizza from Pizza Hut Australia will rise a similar feeling. The Doritos Crust Pizza was introduced at the end of 2014 and remains on Pizza Hut Australia’s menu. This special pizza is a regular pepperoni pizza, but the crust is what sets it apart. The crust is topped with crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos, and then also stuffed with mozzarella cheese. Pizza Hut has considered bringing the Doritos Crust Pizza to the United States, but no word on if it will actually happen.
Beer may not seem so special, because we can get it right here in the United States at any of our grocery stores. However, we aren’t able to get it at fast food restaurants like people in Germany can. McDonald’s Germany does in fact have beer on its menu, making it one of the most desired menu items that Americans could think of. In Germany, kids are allowed to start consuming alcoholic beverages like beer and wine at age 14, as long as a parent is present, and by the time they are 16 they can do it without parents. At age 18, Europeans are considered adults and can buy and drink alcohol as they please. Tragically, alcohol is a bit bigger of a problem for the United States than any other country, so don’t count on being able to order beer at McDonald’s any time soon.