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Awesome International Food America is Missing

June 16, 2021

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Lots of international cuisine isn’t available in America. Here are top international dishes and some of the world’s most popular desserts the U.S. doesn’t get to enjoy.

McAloo Tikki Burgers

You'd think a tasty McDonald's veggie burger would be a big hit in the United States. And the McPlant should soon be available all across America. But you'll have to go to India to taste a McAloo Tikki Burger. The spiced patty is made from peas, potatoes, and breadcrumbs, finished with tomato, onions, and sweet mayonnaise. Or step things up with a Chaat Twist McAloo Tikki Burger, a flavor explosion with tamarind, cumin powder, jalapeno chilis, and topped with sweet and tangy green chutney.

Ketchup Potato Chips

Americans love their potato chips, which consistently make it into the top 10 snacks enjoyed in the United States overall. And Americans love their ketchup too. So, putting potato chips and ketchup together should be a no-brainer. But not in the United States. However, they’re crazy for ketchup chips in Canada! Like many of the major snack brands, including Lay’s and Pringles, the Pennsylvania-based Herr's Snacks makes popular ketchup potato chips, but ships them all to our friends in the north.

Wienerwald’s Chicken and Schnitzel Burgers

You might suspect that a place with the name Wienerwald would sell hot dogs. But no, the restaurant chain that began in Berlin in the 1950s actually serves golden spit-roasted chicken and a popular schnitzel burger. For dessert, you'll want to try their Viennese-style apple strudel. But you'll have to go to Germany, Egypt, Turkey or Hungary to visit a Wienerwald. While the chain had over 1,500 franchises across the U.S. and Europe in the 1970s, bankruptcy forced them to seriously scale back.

Crumpets Instead of English Muffins

Walk down the bread aisle in any U.S. supermarket and you're almost guaranteed to find a variety of English muffins. But not crumpets, as you would in England. The two may look alike, soft, round, bread-like cakes with butter-perfect nooks and crannies, but they're not the same. Baked with yeast dough and usually toasted on both sides, English muffins are thicker with a denser texture. Crumpets are softer, made with just batter, and crumpets are usually only cooked on one side—a toasted bottom and a soft top. Try a crumpet with your morning butter or jam and you may never go back to English muffins.

A Potato-Palooza at Spudulike

Almost every fast food restaurant out there offers fries on the side. But why should potatoes be relegated to your meal's supporting role? The UK-based restaurant chain Spudulike puts potatoes front and center with spud-centered dishes like Potato and Tuna Sweetcorn, Potato and Chili Con Carne, and Potato and Chicken Tikka. As for sides? Well, you can pair your potato-centric dish with pickles, coleslaw, beans, and cottage cheese.

Fast Food Sushi

Really? The phrase “fast food sushi” may horrify even casual lovers of sushi. But they probably haven't been to Germany and tried the sushi that Nordsee serves, in sushi snack boxes with delights such as California rolls, salmon maki, and Nigiri salmon. In fact, the German fast-food chain is one of the country's largest purveyors of sushi. The fish delights don't stop there. Nordsee has a diverse seafood menu, from pickled-fish sandwiches to salads and grilled skewers. The only thing "fast food" about Nordsee's fish is the way in which it's served, which began in Germany way back in 1896 and has since expanded to about a dozen countries including Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Egypt.

Pork-Topped Doughnuts With Seaweed

Meat is awesome. And doughnuts are awesome. So, shouldn't they combine to make something doubly awesome? Lots of doughnut-lovers in China think so, making the Dunkin’ Donuts Pork Floss a popular choice in that country. Just take a regular yeast doughnut, top it off with dried pork, and maybe some dried seaweed, and you've got yourself a meaty delicacy to start your day. Or maybe you'll try Mochi Rings, doughnuts made with sticky rice that are offered at Dunkin' Donuts all across China.

Dulce de Leche Cookie Sandwiches

Go to a bakery in Chile, Argentina, or Peru—really almost anywhere in South America—and you're bound to see alfajores. Arabian in origin and brought to the New World by the Spanish, alfajores have lots of different variations. But traditionally they're two round cookies dusted in powdered sugar, with an in-between layer of dulce de leche, a caramel confection made with sugar and milk. But you'll also find alfajores topped with glazed sugar, chocolate, vanilla, and grated coconut all over Latin America.

America may be a “melting pot,” but some of the most popular foods in the world never made it into the mix. Hopefully one day you can set out and taste some of these favorite foods in the world for yourself.

Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.

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