Fast food menus are usually pretty consistent across the States. You can trust you’ll find the same basic items whether you’re in Boston or Houston, Portland or Cleveland. But step out of the country, and you’ll find items on the McDonald’s menu that might seem slightly out of place. Ever eaten a Cheese Catsu Burger? McDonald’s has them in Japan. What about KFC egg tarts? Probably not–unless you’ve been to China. We’re always encouraged to sample the local cuisine when traveling. Here are 10 reasons trying something new doesn’t always mean avoiding familiar establishments.
Note: These items may not all be currently available for purchase.
Foie Gras Rossini Burger
Description: Obviously it’s a burger. But what is this “foie gras” business? Well, foie gras is artificially fattened duck or goose liver, and apparently some folks think it tastes great on a burger. Add truffle sauce to the mix, and you have a $16 fast food burger.
Description: This ain’t your typical low-grade American sandwich. The McZüri in Switzerland is made of veal. Yes, veal. The patty is joined by lettuce, mushrooms and caramelized onion, creating a fistful of food that brazenly defies any and all fast food stereotypes.
Pork and Seaweed Doughnut
Restaurant: Dunkin’ Donuts
Description: When you think doughnut, you probably think of a sweet, sugary treat somewhere between breakfast and dessert. Dunkin’ Donuts in China challenges that preconception with items likes the pork and seaweed doughnut. The name says it all. It’s a doughnut packed with shredded pork and seaweed. We’re guessing it wouldn’t be a hit in the States.
Cheese Top Burger
Country: The Philippines
Description: No weird ingredients here. This is a fairly ordinary chicken sandwich except for one key detail: the cheese sits on top of the bun! Rather than buddying up with the meat patty, the cheese is outside the bun, melted on top. Positively mind-blowing.
Golden Fortune Pizza
Restaurant: Pizza Hut
Description: The Golden Fortune Pizza is not so much a pizza pie as it is a circular disk of dough with cheese and toppings. You won’t find tomato sauce, pepperoni or sausage on one of these bad boys. Instead, pizzas are topped with giant fried shrimp, crab, pineapple and lime. The outer rim of crust comprises a series of little dough pockets containing creamy white cheese.
Country: New Zealand
Description: A limited-release item, the core of the Rugby Combo is a burger topped with bacon (makes sense), egg (okay…) and beetroot (hold on a second). The combo comes with a couple sides, including passion fruit and lemon pavlova for dessert.
Description: This is another pretty self-explanatory product. It’s a sandwich with a shrimp patty. It looks like a standard fish fillet but is actually made of shrimp parts. Contained in a sesame seed bun, the patty is topped with lettuce and a spicy sauce. Apparently, the shrimp burger is a huge success in Japan.
Description: Lobster at McDonald’s? Sounds like an oxymoron. But in Canada, it happens on a daily basis. The McLobster is a fairly simple sandwich. Basically, it’s a hot dog bun containing lobster meat, tartar sauce and mayonnaise. At one point it was also offered in New England.
Potato & Paneer Burrito
Restaurant: Taco Bell
Description: You might not expect fast food restaurants to fare well in India, a country with strong vegetarian proclivities. Fast food companies have cleverly adapted their menus to cater to Indian clientele, and Taco Bell’s potato & paneer burrito is one example. The recipe is simple: take a regular ol’ burrito and swap the meat for paneer cheese.
Description: Stereotypically German, Das Nürnburger is a triple bratwurst sandwich. It’s topped with mustard and fried onions. What else would you expect at fast food restaurant in Germany?