Fast food is a global phenomenon. Drop into any country on earth and you can be guaranteed a warm welcome from familiar fries, chicken and burgers. But, though the branding and menus may seem the same at first glance, a closer look reveals that there’s often more going on than meets the eye. Beneath the surface, each country has their own personal and sometimes surprising preferences when it comes to their favourite fast food. Here are a few of the weirdest and most popular options from different brands around the world.
Though you can never go wrong with a Big Mac and Nuggets, the Golden Arches serve up some truly exotic fare to our international colleagues. Rather than the standard serving of syrupy coke, many European Maccies provide the customers with beer - proving an incredibly popular choice for tourists and locals alike. In Japan, a fan favourite is the prawn-filled Ebi Fillet-O, while German diners regularly enjoy chowing down on a Big Rosti burger in place of a Big Mac.
2. Burger King
While Whoppers and Bacon Double Cheese Burgers have long since cornered the American and European markets, it turns out that other Burger King audiences are far more adventurous. In the Czech Republic, for instance, diners regularly enjoy chili cheese nuggets, whilst the most popular item on an Argentinian menu is a Whopper upgraded with chimichurri sauce and provolone.
3. Taco Bell
Though Taco Bell might not enjoy the same international success as some of its more illustrious competitors, it still offers a variety of colourful menus across the world. In India, for instance, a popular choice is the Fajita and Paneer Stuft Burrito, a layered wrap featuring beans, cheese, salsa, paneer cheese and veggies. Japanese customers enjoy a shrimp and avocado burrito, flavoured with wasabi and guacamole in an awesome Mexican-meets-sushi smash up.
It may hail from Kentucky, but KFC has been embraced by the whole world. Asian countries have shown a particular fondness for fried chicken, creating an array of elaborate menus that marry different cultures and cooking. In China, a typical side dish is traditional rice congee, whilst Malaysia features chicken flavoured with a coating of “Tom Yam Crunch” proving that, whoever you are, fried chicken is always going to be delicious.
5. Pizza Hut
Pizza is one of those foods that varies massively according to taste. Whilst we may enjoy toppings of cheese and meat, countries that rely on a more fish-based diet have an entirely different approach to pizza decoration. For instance, one of the most popular choices at Pizza Hut in South Korea is the alarming looking “coconut and shrimp pizza”, while for customers in Singapore, a fan favourite is the equally odd “thousand island seafood pizza”.
6. Dunkin’ Donuts
America may run on Dunkin’, but that hasn’t stopped it spreading to all corners of the globe. Unsurprisingly, the international twists has helped all sorts of wacky creations come to the fore, including the Chinese “dry pork and seaweed donut”, the Singaporean “wasabi cheese donut” and South Korean “kimchi croquettes”.
As a rule, people like fast food because they know what they’re getting. Though it’s sometimes nice to get a taste of the familiar, it’s worth remembering that, even if you happen to be abroad, you can still find something exotic at a familiar brand. If anything, this is more reason than ever to spread your fast food wings.