Desperately trying to cram one more salty treat into America’s already bloated snack hole

OVERTHINKING IT: Fast Food from Other Countries That We Don't Have (yet)

Being on a diet and haven given up fast food for Lent, I (and others in situations like mine) tend to notice certain foods more often than usual, especially ones that you love or get your interest. You get these cravings for things you cannot touch. It’s like forbidden fruit, especially when that forbidden fruit is deep fried in peanut oil for five minutes. That’s where I am right now. And I kind of find it intriguing yet somewhat counterproductive that I would watch channels like the Food Network and the Travel Channel (or as I like to call it, Food Network Part Deux). Speaking of the Travel Channel, if you watch that channel during the weekdays from around morning to late afternoon, the majority of its programming is finding the most extreme/different X out there. Most of the time it’s always centering around food, I guess the whole “travel” aspect has been now stretched to cover hot dog joints on 90th Street and Shea.

Anyway, of their morning broadcast, the one that took all of my attention is when they go to other countries around the world and look at their fast foods. Sure the McDonald’s in Austria and Korea has the Big Mac and the Quarter Pounder (or as they know it as a “Royale with Cheese”) but there are differences in the menu that set them apart from us. Mainly because of different cultures and palates, that’s expected. Anyway, after watching that kind of programming for about the eleven billionth time in my life, I decided to take some time and scope out the different fast foods from other lands that make my overthinking mind think and overly large belly rumble in anticipation. Thanks to the internet (particularly Youtube) and television, I found some foreign fast foods that make me wish we had here in the good ol’ USA, and you know I bet there is someone over in Thailand or Istanbul or Portugal that is doing the same thing and look at our American fast food menus and probably craving a Double-Double Animal Style with the fries well done from In-N-Out Burger.

1. (Japan) Pizza Hut’s Sausage Roll Pizza

If there ever was a pizza that would take Stuffed Crust Pizza’s lunch money every day at school, this would be it.

I came across this pizza a while ago when I was looking up the differences between pizza here in America and pizza in Japan, mainly because freaking Pizza Hut had its logo plastered everywhere in the anime Code Geass. While I thought the only differences was the price (3000 Yen for a pizza? Is there gold baked into the crust as well?) I noticed that the Japanese take the flavor knob and crank it to eleven. For one thing I found out that while some of their toppings are tame (like shrimp) they tend to do add things like wasabi paste and mayonnaise (and people look at me funny for putting Sriracha all over mine).

Anyway, toppings aside, I think the one pizza they have over there is the “sausage roll” pizza from Pizza Hut. I mean, you’d think we’d be on top of such things. We already had cheese baked into the crust, why didn’t we go the extra mile and substitute sausage for the cheese? Sure it’s a heart-attack waiting to happen, but we invented the Meat Lovers pizza for pete’s sake! As if a pizza loaded with Italian and meatball sausages and pepperoni slices weren’t enough, why on God’s green earth didn’t we add this into the equation!?

2. (Middle East) Pizza Hut Cheeseburger Crust Pizza

“Cheeseburgers?! Now that’s what I call a pizza!”

Continuing on the trend of pizza, I came across this also a while ago when it made some brief appearances on the news circuits like Fox News, the Los Angeles Times, and even local radio stations. I guess when you make something so outrageous, it’s going to gather some attention. I mean while we did grow up with Taco-inspired pizzas and pizzas inspired by burgers (my overthinking mind believes it was a way for my school’s cafeteria of getting rid of excess lettuce and tomatoes), it never came across anyone’s mind to fully combine the burger and pizza. Well, look to the Middle East and there you are. It seems the Pizza Hut (yep, them again) decided to do the impossible and fuse burgers and pizza together.

Overthinking about it, you’d think we’d also be the first on this. I mean it seems like this pizza would have been thought up in some kind of college dorm eons ago (totally dropped the ball on that Papa John’s).

But there are signs of hope of this coming to the states, as the Canadians have something like this. Only a matter of time…just only a matter of time.

3. (Japan) McDonald’s Ebi Filet-O

“Let’s be honest, at least with this fried seafood sandwich,
we know what kind of animal from the sea is being used.”

As you read earlier, I observe Lent, during Lenten Fridays I am forbidden to eat meat and have to rely on fish. With Scottsdale lacking a Long John Silver’s or any decent place to get a fish sandwich for cheap, you’re kinda reduced to McDonald’s fish-o-filet sandwiches, which can get tedious at times. I mean, it’s the same thing and most of the time it seems like I’m eating more breading than I am fish .I’d like something different if I was eating at a McDonald’s during the Lenten season. Then I came across the Ebi Filet-O after watching a couple videos about it.

From what I heard, it’s more than just a fusion of a fish sandwich with shrimp instead of cod or flounder or whatever the hell kind of fish McDonald’s uses. People have cited that it’s like eating shrimp tempura, which is one of my favorite things to eat. And instead of a mouthful of tartar sauce, you get some tempura sauce instead, which is what I also like. Sometimes, you just get tired of deep fried white fish, ya know? Especially when at times it tastes like you’re eating a deep fried sponge that was used to clean an aquarium.

4. (Philippines) Jollibee’s Tuna Pie

Let’s be real, folks. You’ve eaten worse things from a Hot Pocket

From the land of my origins, the Philippines, we have a chain that rivals the Big Three and goes to toe-to-toe with them. The chain is called Jollibee. Aside from the usual fare of hamburgers and fried chicken, it’s the only fast food chain in the world where you can get an order of Spaghetti and meat sauce with a side order of steamed white rice (Holy Carbohydrates, Batman!).

Anyway, the chain caters to its people, which are mostly devout Roman Catholic Filipinos, and during the Lenten season they offer something like a savory apple pie. But instead of tart apples in a sugary sweet sauce, you get a pie full of tuna casserole. To me, and the others I told to about this sandwich-pie-concoction, it seemed disgusting, but it seemed to be having a McRib-like following to those who dine at Jollibee on a common basis. In fact, news organizations like the Christian Science Monitor and Yahoo News have praised it in the past. While I’m not one to jump on the hype of certain things, I wouldn’t mind having this tuna in a pie thing for once. I just gotta remember to not look at its contents, as it reminds me of a horrible memory from a high school lunch that still haunts to me to this day (I swear to GOD blinked at me when I poked it with a fork).

5. (Brazil) The Burger with the Edible Wrapper from Bob’s Burger Chain

“Oh sure, when I was really hungry and I decided to eat
the burger with the wrapper still on, you called me a freak,
but when you do it, you’re an environmentalist!”

So if you haven’t heard of this one, I’ll give you the summary of how this idea came to be. The owner of Bob’s Burgers chain in Brazil noticed that burger wrappers were causing a lot of trash problems in the country. So he decided to make a wrapper that would be fully edible so that you’d eat the wrapper alongside the burger. The wrapper, which the chain claims is a secret, is actually to be some sort of edible rice paper. You can see it in action in this youtube video.

Now while I’m not much of an environmentalist, save for recycling my piles and piles of empty plastic soda bottles, my overthinking and paranoid self likes this idea because of it would eliminate burger wrappers that are overly-littered on the highways. That way it would eliminate one of my biggest overthinking fears. The fear that one of these days I’ll be driving down the 101 when all of a sudden, my entire windshield is covered in Whopper Jr. wrappers, resulting in me jerking the wheel in order to get to the side of the road and resulting in a ten-car pile-up and shutting down the entire highway system for Arizona.

And those were the fast foods from other countries that I wish we had here in the states. While there are multitudes and multitudes of other artery-clogging meals out there for me to gab on about, these are the ones that caught my most of my attention. You should go out and find more about these different yet enticing fast food delicacies as you might find some that might suit your palate. Some may sound weird to you, but I think in some countries Wendy’s Baconator would kill a man in bacon shock (unlike here in America, they kill upon over-consumption).