The 10 Most Ridiculous Interpretations of American Food Worldwide

Published On 03/31/2015 Published On 03/31/2015

The American recipe for adapting other countries' cuisines is simple: deep-fry the ever-lovin' hell out of them. News of that must have reached those other countries, because -- perhaps in an effort to better cater to the appetites of traveling Yankees -- in many "American" restaurants around the world, ideas of what constitutes typical stateside fare have begun to stray towards the more ridiculous side. 

To wit, here are 10 of the funniest interpretations of "American" food from around the globe. When in doubt, just add all the meats you've got.

Sandwich américain

“Frenchies” might profess some interesting ideas about our nation’s food scene (“America is entirely pictures of chicken wrapped in bacon.”), but when it comes to replicating it within their own country, they do a pretty bang-up job -- a “sandwich américain,” which is hawked by street vendors all over the country, consists of minced meat (usually ground beef or sausage), veggies, sauces, and a non-negotiable heap of fries IN THE SANDWICH. Then again, a French dip isn’t exactly French, so we kinda reciprocated this one.


Meat Lover’s Delight ‘Zone

Route 04 American Bar & Restaurant
Gurgaon, India
Americans love meat enough not to care what kind it is, right? At least, that’s the philosophy behind the “Meat Lover’s Delight ‘Zone” at India’s Route 04. Their menu -- notably lacking beef, due to the country’s dietary restrictions -- attempts to cater to American appetites with huge fajitas, (lamb) steaks, and dishes of fried chicken, but the most telling indicator that Route 04 is going for an “extreme” audience is this calzone, whose description reads: “No holds barred!!! Ham, bacon, chicken, salami, sausages, sliced meatballs AND WHATEVER ELSE THERE IS.” We’re kind of scared. And all tingly.

Indiana beef

Indiana Cafe
Paris, France
Most Americans know that Indiana is a landlocked state in the Midwest. Someone should probably tell that to Indiana Cafe, a French restaurant whose specialty “Chimichanga Indiana” prominently features both crab and shrimp. They also have an entire menu of tartares, and a dish called “Indiana Beef,” which is, namely: “rump steak cubes marinated in soy and herbs, pico de gallo, creme anglaise, creme fraiche, served with basmati rice or wedge fries.” Grab me one of those and meet me at the Indy 500!

Flickr/Gavin Anderson

Jacket potatoes

Kenny Rogers Roasters
Singapore, Malaysia, etc.
Lovers of Seinfeld (or just human beings who were cognizant of chicken restaurants in the ‘90s) might be familiar with Kenny Rogers Roasters. Kramer famously has a complicated relationship with the country star-owned chicken restaurant, which inevitably closed down US operations (not because of him, right?) in 1998. However, the chain is not only alive, but THRIVING, in Asia, where it still serves rotisserie chicken... in addition to baked “jacket potatoes” that come filled with your choice of tangy chicken, beef Bolognese, macaroni & cheese, “vegetable fusion,” or myriad other oddball options. Giddyup?

The Big One Burger

Papa Joe’s
Basel, Switzerland
Not much is known about the namesake of Swiss chain Papa Joe’s -- save that he’s got a “big heart... stories from all over the world,” and a “weakness for good-looking women” -- but his restaurants do make a hell of a burger. “The Big One” is served with a pineapple & banana sauce, “farmer fries,” and, in true American fashion, tartar sauce for dipping. We don’t know which of Joe’s good-looking international lady-friends told him to “underlay” his chicken nuggets with nachos, but we’re a fan of her.

Flickr/Lynn Gardner

California salad

EdWood Café
Bordeaux, France
This ‘50s-themed restaurant in Bordeaux at least has the aesthetic down; the place is bedecked with Pepto-Bismol hues, retro diner seating, and even an Elvis statue, though the King would probably be mightily confused by their food, and that guy ate banana, peanut butter & bacon sandwiches. Ed Wood’s “California salad” contains greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado (so far, so good), grapefruit (...), surimi fish paste (nononono), shrimp, and corn, and sounds like a trendy diet that maybe could’ve come from California? Although we’re doubtful.

The Mushroom “Cowboy” Burger

The Filling Station
Lanaken, Belgium
We didn’t add quotes to that menu item name above -- The Filling Station did that themselves. While the rest of their menu is actually pretty on-point, with the always-thrilling inclusion of an entire spare rib section (and the dubious inclusion of “Scareface (sic) Pasta”), the Mushroom “Cowboy” Burger is an odd choice. It comes with mayonnaise, cheddar, and fried mushrooms, and sounds like some fancy-pants city folks’ notion of true country fare. Still, those spare ribs, though...


American fried rice

The American military strikes again! Well, not literally, but in a historical sense, American fried rice, or “khao pad amerikan,” was originally served to members of our nation’s military who visited Thailand during the Vietnam War. The fried rice contains a veritable cocktail of stereotypically American ingredients, like ketchup, fried chicken, ham, hot dogs, raisins, and pineapple. The dish didn’t catch on in Thai restaurants in America because, well, we’ve already got enough ketchup-fried chicken-ham-raisin-pineapple hot dogs, don’t we?

BBQ Western sandwich

Play Off
Bamberg, Germany
Bamberg, Germany was, until very recently, the site of an American military base, and the local bar scene reflected that, with a smattering of American-style sports bars and pubs that tried to appeal to the sensibilities of the visiting soldiers. Play Off is one such joint, and is notable for its neither BBQ nor Western “BBQ Western sandwich,” which incorporates bacon, tortilla chips, cheese, onions, tomato, and lettuce, alongside a large menu that contains more than a few American pop culture references (“Red Hot Chili Poppers” and the “Big Kahuna Burger”).


Philly steak sandwich

Nancy’s Steakhouse
Helsingborg, Sweden
Only in bizarro world -- or an enormous Swedish mall -- could a restaurant staff intentionally serve a Philly “steak sandwich”... WITHOUT ANY CHEESE. If that’s not ridiculous, we don’t know what is.

Adam Lapetina is the partnerships editor at Thrillist, and hopes that putting fries on top of everything catches on in America. Read his musings at @adamlapetina.



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