Fast Food Items You Have to Leave the U.S. to Eat
Fast food chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Burger King can be found all over the world. You probably think you know their menus by heart, but some of the available dishes actually change around the world to meet the needs and preferences of the local populations.
Instead of getting a side of fries with your burger, for example, you might get empanadas, tiny fried mozzarella balls or even spaghetti, depending on where you are. Some of the unique menu items in other countries are definitely worth checking out the next time you head overseas. Take a look at our favorites.
Poutine – McDonald’s – Canada
Poutine is a delicious Canadian creation that consists of hot French fries, buttery cheese curds and savory brown gravy. It’s so popular and so tasty that Canadians consider it their nation’s signature dish. Travelers visiting the Great White North can stop by any McDonald’s and try the beloved treat.
The golden, cheesy, potato concoction is sure to warm up your cold belly while seducing every taste bud along the way. You may even want to lick the gravy remnants from the bottom of the box. Go ahead, no one’s watching.
Chicken Nugget Burger – Burger King – Germany
Burger King chicken nuggets make a great snack, especially when paired with a few select dipping sauces. It’s a stroke of fast food genius to take those golden fried nuggets and put them on a bun. European countries like Germany get to enjoy the Chicken Nugget Burger in all its snackable glory.
With a smattering of lettuce and a spread of curry mayonnaise sauce, this chicken sandwich is simple, understated and absolutely delicious. Chicken nugget lovers can elevate their game and evolve from bunless nuggets with the Chicken Nugget Burger.
Zinger Double Down Max – KFC – Singapore
Americans have been able to experience the delicious, slightly outrageous KFC Double Down since 2010, but the Colonel’s chicken-based experimentation didn’t end there — at least, not in Singapore. The Zinger Double Down Max has two crispy, spicy filets that act as buns to hold the bacon, hash brown and cheese together.
It’s already hard to resist the mouth-watering allure of fried chicken, but this masterpiece of tastiness takes temptation to an entirely new level. Sadly, this delectable combination of fried, cheesy goodness isn’t available in the US — yet!
Big America Beverly Hills Burger – McDonald’s – Japan
McDonald’s restaurants in Japan offer some familiar menu options, but their unique offerings make them one of the most exciting countries to visit for fast food. Although many of their meals are seafood based, they also tend to release USA-inspired burgers and snacks.
The Big America Beverly Hills Burger is one such example. Channeling the essence of the well-known Californian city, this burger comes with avocado, Caesar dressing, lettuce and onion. The well-chosen combination of ingredients makes for a light, refreshing burger that can transport you to an edible Golden State.
Buttermilk Pancakes – Starbucks – United Kingdom
It seems strange that residents of the United Kingdom get to enjoy buttermilk pancakes at their local Starbucks, but Americans do not. While the fluffy, sweet, filling menu option can occasionally be found in a rare U.S. location, the pancakes are not a nationwide item.
If you visit the U.K., you can enjoy a plate of Starbucks pancakes with a berry compote, some sweet maple syrup or a jam of your choice. Hopefully, Starbucks plans to introduce these delicious, velvety flapjacks to all their locations soon.
Banurrito – Taco Bell – Cyprus
Taco Bell restaurants in the U.S. don’t offer a lot of dessert options. Perhaps they should take inspiration from the dessert items they offer internationally, such as the Banurrito, a banana covered in Nutella and praline, stuffed into a tortilla and covered with more Nutella and a small handful of colorful sprinkles.
Those who aren’t fond of bananas may not go for this dessert, but anyone who likes banana splits is sure to enjoy this tortilla-inspired rendition. However, you’d have to visit a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean country, such as Cyprus, to get it.
Kuro Shogun Burger – Burger King – Japan
Inspired by the stealthy nature of ninjas and the power of a Shōgun, this dark burger can only be found on the island nation that influenced its creation — Japan. It’s a huge shame, because this Burger King menu item is one of the most creative, complex burgers ever assembled.
The black bun is complemented by a solid-black slice of cheese, both of which are infused with bamboo charcoal to produce the dark hue. Fried eggplant and a black hash sauce made with red wine and squid ink give the burger its unforgettable flavor.
Crayfish Lover Pizza with Roe-Stuffed Crust – Pizza Hut – Hong Kong
Seafood lovers — or more specifically, crayfish lovers — may want to consider visiting a Pizza Hut in Asia to try one of the most unique pizza creations ever conceived. The Crayfish Lover Pizza is an extravaganza, featuring crayfish, scallops, shrimp, tomatoes, onions and thousand island dressing.
But the true star of the show is the crust. Stuffed with salmon-flavored cream cheese and salmon roe — also known as caviar — this crust is an interesting combination of soft, creamy cheese and bright-orange fish eggs. Overall, it’s a unique, flavorful option from Pizza Hut.
McSpaghetti – McDonald’s – The Philippines
Have you ever longed for some simple spaghetti while browsing the burgers, fries and fried chicken options at your local fast food joint? Perhaps you should consider visiting the Philippines, where McDonald’s restaurants proudly serve McSpaghetti. (Yes, they will put a “Mc” in front of anything.)
Initially available at U.S. locations, the spaghetti side was sadly discontinued in the States, but the McSpaghetti lives on in the small island nation. The soft noodles, tomato sauce and shredded cheese may not make for an elaborate meal, but that doesn’t mean the McSpaghetti isn’t 100% delicious.
Chicken Tikka Sub – Subway – United Kingdom
The unofficial national dish of the United Kingdom may surprise you. It’s not shepherd’s pie or fish ‘n’ chips, but actually Chicken Tikka Masala. Although the origins of the dish are shrouded in mystery, one thing is for sure: It’s a British dish with roots in Indian cuisine.
So, it should come as no surprise that Subway restaurants in the U.K. offer their patrons a scrumptious take on the dish with their Chicken Tikka Sub. The thing that makes this sandwich so mouth-wateringly amazing is the tikka spice used to season the chicken strips.
Coffee Jelly Frappuccino – Starbucks – Japan
Boba tea, or bubble tea, is not an incredibly standard beverage in the U.S. Still, many Asian countries infuse their coffees and teas with forms of gelatinized tapioca, coffee or fruit. Think of it as having a delicious snack at the bottom of your cup.
Starbucks benefited from the opportunity to offer a Coffee Jelly Frappuccino to Japanese consumers, as the temporary item was quickly made permanent — and for good reason! The tiny lumps of coffee jelly tend to dissolve slightly, resulting in small, wiggly jolts of coffee with every sip.
Olive Chewisty – Dunkin’ Donuts – South Korea
Olive oil and tapioca starch combine to make Dunkin’ Donuts Olive Chewisty, a novel take on a centuries-old recipe for chewy, sweetened bread. Besides the light flavor, perhaps the best thing about this donut is its shape.
Looking like a molecule with several bonds, the tender dough-bits can be plucked off, one by one, like tiny donut holes. Olive oil has been proven to be a heart-healthy alternative to vegetable oil, and the earthy, bitter taste isn’t often combined with sugar. But this donut — available in South Korea — looks like perfection.
Bacon Lover – Burger King – France
The Bacon Lover is the result of two things: a passion for bacon and astounding creativity. Not only does this burger contain several strips of bacon, but it also has bacon bits sprinkled on and baked into the top of the upper bun.
You can’t take a single bite of this magnificent sandwich without ending up with a mouthful of bacon, ensuring that the item lives up to its name. Complete with tomatoes, onions, cheese and a creamy Texas sauce — yes, in France — this burger can make you fall in love again and again.
Super Cheese Cheesy Bites Macaroni and Cheese Pizza – Pizza Hut – Germany
Mac ‘N’ Cheese pizza has been a long time coming. Pizza Hut released their version of the elusive, delectable, cheesy treat in Europe, which is unfair to every American who has dreamed of biting into a warm slice of mozzarella-covered macaroni pizza since childhood.
But wait, there’s more! Pizza Hut restaurants in Germany offer a variation on this divine pie, one that features a cheese-filled, pull-apart seasoned crust for maximum mozzarella and cheddar enjoyment. The Mac N’ Cheese pizza is any cheese-lovers dream come true — and absolutely worth a trip to Europe.
Chizza – KFC – India
After substituting bread for fried chicken filets with their Double Down in 2010, KFC decided to try the same idea with other popular food items — namely, pizza. Cleverly named, the Chizza is a crispy piece of boneless fried chicken smothered in cheese, tomato sauce, peppers and onions.
Although this menu item might not please gourmet palates, it still sounds super delicious and worth a few — or a few dozen — taste tests. Regrettably, the Chizza can only be found internationally in countries such as Japan, India and Singapore. Please, Colonel, bring the Chizza to America!
Chocomarsh Wrap – Taco Bell – United Kingdom
Once again, Taco Bell swings and hits an out-of-the-park home run with their European dessert menu items. The Chocomarsh Wrap is possibly more delicious than the Banurrito, although it is less colorful. The wrap contains a rich mixture of gooey marshmallow and melted chocolate, all enclosed in a soft tortilla shell.
The churro, a U.S. menu item at most Taco Bell locations, pales in comparison to the sweet decadence of a Chocomarsh Wrap, and churros are fantastic. This take on the classic s’mores treat is worthy of some praise and attention.
Kaprao Crispy Chicken Rice – McDonald’s – Thailand
The Kaprao Crispy Chicken Rice dish is an entirely unexpected — but totally delicious — menu offering at McDonald’s locations in Thailand. The grilled chicken is marinated in a sweet-and-spicy chili sauce and paired with a small mound of white rice. Simple, filling and surprisingly tasty, it’s impossible to find Kaprao Crispy Chicken Rice at any U.S. McDonald’s location.
Although it may not contain many complex ingredients or components, this dish stands out by tasting completely different from any other McDonald’s meal. Do patrons in Thailand know what a treasure they have?
Peri Peri Chicken Sub – Subway – South Africa
South Africa is a nation with many cultural influences. So, perhaps no one thought anything was strange about their Portuguese-inspired Peri Peri Chicken Sub when it was released. More than likely, they were only thinking about how appetizing the sandwich is.
The peri peri sauce has an olive oil base and contains paprika, basil, lemon juice and peppers. The Peri Peri Chicken Sub features strips of grilled chicken that have been marinated in the savory, slightly tangy sauce. No matter what vegetables are paired with these tender pieces of chicken, it’s a wonderful taste sensation.
Honey Chicken Rice Bowl – McDonald’s – China
Rice bowls are a common snack food in China, and when McDonald’s set up shop they knew they would have to change some popular menu items to appeal to Chinese tastes. This wise decision led to one of the most savory, light, authentic options ever created by the Golden Arches: the Honey Chicken Rice Bowl.
Diners can substitute the sticky white rice that comes with the snack for a healthier alternative, such as lettuce. You could probably pair anything with the delicious honey-marinated chicken, and this dish would still be amazing.
Parmesan Chicken with Truffle-Flavored Cheddar Sauce – KFC – Singapore
There isn’t a single word in the name of this meal that doesn’t make fried-chicken-loving Americans grow dizzy with desire and insatiable hunger. The Parmesan Chicken with Truffle-Flavored Cheddar Sauce could certainly satisfy any belly — except those of U.S. diners, of course, because this chicken is only available in Asian KFC restaurants.
Paired with a mango-peach drink, the decadent pieces of fried chicken comes with as much or as little truffle-flavored, yellow cheddar sauce as diners desire. “Finger-licking good” doesn’t begin to cover how fantastic this meal is.
Crown Crust Burger Pizza – Pizza Hut – United Arab Emirates
When Pizza Hut locations in the Middle East released the Crown Crust Burger Pizza, they immediately regretted it. Profits made on the enormous pizza were scant and incredibly disappointing — until Americans took notice. Journalists and tourists alike flocked to Pizza Hut locations all across the Middle East in search of the novel Crown Crust Burger Pizza.
What they found when they arrived was a bizarre, taco-like pizza with mini cheeseburgers lovingly cupped by a golden crust. Never before have burgers, pizzas and tacos been so close to merging.
Shrimp Avocado Burrito – Taco Bell – Japan
Japan’s seafood is almost unparalleled in terms of freshness and flavor, and the Shrimp Avocado Burrito from Taco Bell is a perfect representation of flavorful balance and exceptional technique. The wrap is stuffed with shrimp, lettuce, avocado, chopped tomatoes and a tangy-yet-creamy wasabi mayonnaise sauce.
Fast food is often greasy, oily and pretty unhealthy. It’s always refreshing to see a menu item that is not only healthier than a burger and fries, but also just as tasty — if not more so! If only Taco Bell would bring this item to U.S. locations.
McCroquetas – McDonald’s – Spain
Spain has some of the most delicious McDonald’s menu items, including Wedge Top Fries, the Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger and McCroquetas. The most poppable, addictive and generally mouth-melty of these three items are definitely the McCroquetas.
Covered in a fried breadcrumb shell, these balls of creamy mashed potato, cheese and ham will leave you happily drooling. The crunchy outside and satisfying soft, warm inside make for a unique texture and flavor experience. They are almost like fried spoonfuls of potato, ham and cheese soup and absolutely delicious.
Poutine Pizza – Pizza Hut – Canada
If you’re still questioning how tasty poutine is, now is the time to stop. Pizza Hut, the occasional king of location-specific menu items, makes Poutine Pizza that is cheesy, savory and salty enough to open anyone’s eyes to the magical flavor of poutine.
Instead of a hearty marinara or tomato sauce, this pizza comes with a savory brown gravy sauce and plenty of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Salty, perfectly baked French fries top the magnificent dish, providing a little potato crunch with every bite. Poutine lovers and skeptics alike are bound to fall under this pizza’s spell.
Colonel Yakiniku Rice Bento – KFC – Indonesia
The Colonel may be the head of an American fried chicken chain, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand international tastes and trends. KFC patrons in Indonesia have a lot of menu options to choose from, including a bento box with a classically American twist.
Like a typical bento box, this meal contains white rice and vegetables, but fried chicken bites change the game with this item, providing a satisfying, crunchy protein that works well with the sides. Hearty and balanced, the Yakiniku Rice Bento is notable — but unavailable in the U.S.
Chicken Schnitzel Sub – Subway – Australia
Schnitzel is a traditional German dish, which is why this sub’s origins are a little surprising. Subway — the largest sandwich chain on the face of the planet — has a lot of unique international menu options, and many of them cater to the cultural cuisines of their locations. Nonetheless, the Chicken Schnitzel Sub wasn’t released in Germany.
The Land Down Under — technically known as Australia — was home to this Bavaria-inspired Subway sandwich. A perfect medium between grilled chicken and fried chicken, the lightly breaded chicken schnitzel looks absolutely amazing.
Fondue Burger Extra – Burger King – Spain
McDonald’s isn’t the only fast food chain hoping to score points with Spaniards. Burger King’s Fondue Burger Extra doesn’t compete with McDonald’s hamburgers — it destroys them. Two patties, two slices of cheese and a thick layer of melted cheddar are only the beginning for this menu item.
After the burger layers are put together, the whole thing is covered in melted cheese, almost as if it were dipped into fondue cheese. If you’ve ever dreamed of dipping a cheeseburger in fondue, now’s your chance to live the dream. It’s only an international flight away.
Wish Star Dark Mocha – Starbucks – The Philippines
The winter holidays tend to bring out the best in people — and the restaurants that serve them. Seasonal-only menu items tend to be more popular than other types of menu items, based solely on their scarcity. Going a step further, seasonal-only, location-based menu items are even more attractive.
Starbucks aficionados may want to visit the Philippines before the end of December to try the Wish Star Dark Mocha, which can’t be found almost anywhere else. Dark chocolate, mocha, green tea whipped cream and star sprinkles make this coffee festive — and irresistible to the taste buds.
McEgg – McDonald’s – India
India’s McEgg and America’s Egg McMuffin have quite a lot in common, but there are some notable differences. For starters, the McEgg comes with a complex, spicy masala sauce. There’s also a thin layer of mayonnaise, adding a contrast of creaminess. The egg is steamed, ensuring that it’s never rubbery or overcooked, and infused with a variety of spices.
Topping the whole thing off is a handful of red onions, adding a wholesome bite to the tiny breakfast sandwich. The Egg McMuffin is delightful, but the McEgg is far more exotic and may taste even better.
Fiesta Mexicana Sub – Subway – Czech Republic
Residents of Eastern Europe don’t have quick access to Mexican cuisine, which is a shame. To remedy this tortilla-less situation, Subway locations in Poland and the Czech Republic decided to bring a tiny piece of Mexico to diners. The Fiesta Mexicana Sub is stuffed with seasoned grilled chicken and guacamole.
With plenty of toppings to make this sandwich more authentic, including corn, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, any Eastern European sandwich fan can try a bite of Mexican culture and cuisine. Strangely, this option isn’t available in the U.S. or neighboring Mexico.