For better or worse, Americans tend to think of themselves as the biggest junk-food consumers in the world. While one glance down your average American main street makes it hard to argue against that idea, it turns out most of the world is just as dedicated to their mass-produced artery-cloggers as we are. And all of the big chains know it.
To cater to this giant, multicultural market, fast food chains have concocted all sorts of menu items meant to hybridize styles, pioneer tastes, and just plain pander to locals and their desire to try something new. Let’s explore ten of the weirdest menu items from American fast-food chains in other countries.
10The Nutella Burger
If you’re like most human beings, your immediate reaction to hearing the phrase ‘Nutella burger’ is to gag or maybe questions its existence. The thought of sweet chocolate hazelnut goo spread atop a savory beef patty is not most people’s favorite. Don’t worry, though, because McDonald’s Nutella burger is actually just Nutella spread between two buns, and it’s delicious.
The treat is called a “Sweety con Nutella,” or loving called, Sweety, and is available at McCafe’s in Italy, the birthplace of Nutella. Though not exactly a health nut’s dream, the snack has proven to be quite popular, just like Nutella itself. Since its launch in 2016, Sweety’s has been a steady fan-favorite. Unlike so many McDonald’s creations through the years, it is likely to stay on the menu for a long time.
9 Italian Cheese Bricks
Speaking of McDonald’s in Italy, their sides are just as foreign as their desserts. For many Americans, McDonald’s fries are their best feature. The chain manages to hit the right balance of crispiness and saltiness with their fries. Yummy. Yet, for many Italians, those perfect McDonald’s fries can’t compete with a brick of Parmesan cheese.
Known as the “Snack al Parmigiano,” the side is a standard substitute for fries in Italy if the customer opts for it. The cheese is pure Parmigiano Reggiano, and blends both tastiness and relative healthiness. Best of all? McDonald’s Italiano has affectionately dubbed it “The Pocket Cheese.”
8 The Chizza
Our first of many trips to the cosmopolitan food mecca that is Asia is to Singapore (and Saudi Arabia, of all places). There, Kentucky Fried Chicken has a menu item known only as the “Chizza.” As you can probably guess, the Chizza is a chicken pizza.
Completely inverting the pizza-topping paradigm in the states, the Chizza uses a wide, flat piece of fried chicken as its ‘crust’ and adds toppings from there, like mozzarella and marinara. While this could easily be viewed as just an odd cousin to chicken parmesan, the most common toppings on the Chizza are pineapple chunks and ham, making it more akin to a Hawaiian-Singaporean-Italian Frankenstein. And likely a delicious one.
7 The Inception of Pizzas
Staying in Singapore, the country continues its well-known reputation for extravagance at their Pizza Huts, wherein customers can order the “Double Sensation Pizza.” As its name suggests, the Double Sensation is a pizza inside a pizza. How this was not an American invention is anyone’s guess.
At the outermost edge, the Double Sensation Pizza has a stuffed crust with multiple kinds of cheese oozing out of holes on the sides. Continuing inward, the pie is topped like a typical supreme pizza, though halfway through the slices, it reveals its namesake. Each slice is cut in half by another crust, again stuffed, but this time with cheese and sausage. Then the pie continues inward with more supreme toppings until it reaches the center, where it is garnished with a red, stemmed cherry. With the topping in place, the Double Sensation Pizza is ready to be devoured like a delicious pizza sundae!
6 Pork and Seaweed Donuts
A quick flight north takes us to China, where Dunkin’ Donuts has a particularly strange donut offering. The dried pork and seaweed donuts are exactly as described; they’re topped with crumbles of dried seaweed and pork floss, probably the last two ingredients an American would expect on their donut.
The donut base itself is also different than what Americans may expect. The dried pork and seaweed donuts are yeast donuts being made with less sugar. That makes the whole snack a savory meal instead of a sugary dessert. Considering how we treated the potential combination of Nutella and beef, this all-savory donut, essentially just a circular bao, makes a lot of sense.
5 Pumpkin Spice Fries
Next, we land in Japan, where in 2016, McDonald’s concocted the “Halloween Choco Potato,” a tray of fries drizzled with chocolate and pumpkin sauces. The Halloween Choco Potato fries were released in October and were meant to honor the spooky season, both in taste and appearance. Surprisingly, the majority of reviews have been positive.
Customers loved the salty-sweet combo enough that the treat reappeared for multiple Halloweens. It’s no surprise that chocolate fries without the pumpkin sauce are a regular at McDonald’s Japan all year-round. Apparently, the secret is that the salt is toned down just enough to accent the sugar instead of combating it. Now, these are a treat I may need to try!
4 All-Black Burgers
Japanese fast food is also famous, or perhaps infamous, for the black-bun burgers available at their Burger Kings, named “Kuro Burgers.” Kuro literally means “black” in Japanese, and though not an imaginative title, it is an accurate one.
The buns are charred black and further blackened by the addition of squid ink. On top of that, the cheese slices are made with bamboo charcoal and also come out jet black. If that wasn’t enough, the sauce and beef patty are also blackened, leaving only the optional lettuce, tomato, and onion, the only ingredients not entirely Kuro. The trend caught on in the area, and soon McDonald’s Hong Kong introduced their own ink-black burgers and ‘competing’ all-white burgers.
3 The Kit-Kat Quesadilla
Across the globe, Taco Bell has put dozens of different spins on its quesadillas. Taco Bell South Korea has kimchi quesadillas. Taco Bell Philippines has Cheetos quesadillas. Taco Bell Finland apparently puts BBQ pork in everything, including their quesadilla. All of those sound delicious. But possibly the single weirdest is Taco Bell’s “Kit Kat Chocodilla,” which made its debut in the UK.
The decadent, delicious abomination is made by melting whole Kit Kat bars and chocolate chips between Taco Bell’s traditional flour tortillas. It’s hard to argue with the simple combination of chocolate and carbs, especially with some remnant of that signature Kit Kat crunch remaining. After trying one, no one would even consider an argument against the gooey treat. Taco Bell has recently made the Kit Kat Chocodilla stateside, starting exclusively in the Midwest. They have even branched out into new flavors like the equally-amazing “Twix Chocodilla.”
2 The Tabasco Sundae
Coming off an item we can tell you firsthand is delicious; we arrive at an item we hope no one ever has to encounter in any form. Stateside, McDonald’s sundaes come in three traditional flavors: chocolate, caramel, and strawberry; you can’t go wrong! However, McDonald’s Hong Kong decided in 2017 to try out a brand new variety: the “Tabasco Fudge Sundae.”
The Tabasco Fudge Sundae dessert was launched as part of a larger collaboration with Tabasco. It was meant to serve as a companion to a Tabasco-laden burger and similarly-spiced fries. The Tabasco Fudge Sundae ended up stealing the show among the spicy lineup, though, and it’s no wonder why. The Tabasco sauce is not added to the shake as a topping, like you might expect, but rather blended into the vanilla ice cream, making the entire affair unsettlingly spicy.
1 The Windows 7 Whopper
You read that right. Topping off our list is the “Windows 7 Whopper” from Burger King Japan. When Microsoft launched an operating system in 2009, it collaborated with Burger Kings in Japan to sell special Whoppers with seven patties. The promotion only lasted one week in October, but its legacy has endured ever since.
Just looking at the Windows 7 Whopper burger, its structural flaws are apparent. The two decidedly average-sized buns were not meant to contain seven whole patties between them, in addition to any cheese, veggies, and condiments the customer desired. There are a few hilarious reviews of the sandwich worth reading, and almost all of them share a few central themes.
The Windows 7 Whopper burger was almost impossible to hold together. It was also almost impossible to bite into evenly. The combined juices from the seven patties inevitably soaked the buns until they were a soggy mess. Probably the worst part of all is that by default, the burger comes with no cheese and only enough veggies for the topmost patty. As a Gizmodo reviewer so eloquently put it: “How does it taste? How do you think it tastes? It’s seven pieces of Burger King meat…This is meat followed by meat, washed down by meat.”