With everyone running off to various parts of the world for exciting spring or summer plans, it seems only natural to address an issue regarding the lack of international franchise success within the U.S.
Aside from all the McDonalds’, Starbucks’, and KFC’s lining most street corners of metropolitan locations worldwide, other countries have a few delicacies they’ve been covertly keeping to themselves all this time. It’s okay, we’re here to reveal these mouthwatering fast food restaurants from all over the world in efforts to finally bring them to the United States. I don’t know about you, but I could go for a burger pizza, or some Timbits right about now.
1. Spain – Telepizza
Hot dog pizza? Calzone pizza? Nacho pizza? Si, por favor. Telepizza, a Spanish franchise, is immensely popular in the European Union and several Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Just looking at their diverse, appetizing, artery-clogging menu is more than enough to understand why.
It’s very similar to a typical fast food restaurant in America – there are burgers, salads, pizza, and even cool happy face-shaped french fries. Telepizza takes these American classics, combines them, and the result is just fabulous. If you ever happen to find yourself in Spain craving some good old American food with a Spanish twist, Telepizza’s got your back. De nada.
2. Russia – Teremok
While we are still on the topic of European fast food chains, we can’t leave this popular gem out of the mix. Teremok is a Russian franchise specializing in blinis (crêpe-like contraptions) filled with either sweet or savory fillings.
The concept of this restaurant was inspired by the mother of Teremok’s founder Mikhail Goncharov, who is still immensely involved in the development of new menu items to this day. For those stranded in the U.S without an abundant source of blinis on hand , there’s good news; Teremok will open its first American outpost in NYC soon.
There are reportedly no changes to the authentic Russian menu, except the addition of one ingredient, maple syrup, to better suit the taste palates of most Americans. If you’re in New York City soon, or even in Russia, put this amazing restaurant at the top of your to-eat list. In the meantime, try this easy crêpe recipe to hold off until you get your fill of blinis. We promise, it’s so worth it.
3. South Korea – School Food
With the restaurant franchise industry reaching new heights of popularity in South Korea, trendy fast food chains are churning out like there’s no tomorrow. A popular gathering place for the youth of today is none other than School Food. This casual eatery serves the typical fast food snacks of South Korea; rice cakes, cold noodles, and Korean-style sushi rolls (Kimbap).
This isn’t completely “fast food,” but it’s definitely a must-try restaurant for those looking to get a feel for Korean food, or the veteran eaters among us who can handle even the sourest of kimchi. If you’re planning on going to South Korea anytime soon, make sure to stop by School Food and indulge in the amazing variety of foods they have to offer. Trust us, it’s way better than those tempting snacks sold on the crowded streets of Seoul (although those are pretty good too).
4. Japan – Mosburger
What could symbolize a blending of two important cultures better than a super popular burger restaurant with a tasty Japanese touch? By Japanese touch, I’m thinking along the lines of rice burgers, butterfly prawns, and Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream (available in Yuzu, Double Berry, and Green Tea flavors). They also have a super cute website where you can test your Teriyaki Trivia and download nice wallpapers and screensavers for your phone.
Mosburger’s motto is “making people happy through food,” which must be true since a simple glance at their array of burgers and surplus of side treats brings a smile of pure joy to my face every time. Mosburger, you will be the first place I visit on my next trip to Japan, for sure.
5. Brazil – Habib’s
If going to Brazil anytime soon is a priority of yours (Rio 2016, anyone?), you must remember to make a detour to none other than Habib’s. This isn’t really Brazilian food – it’s a Middle Eastern-themed eatery known for its low prices and exotic dishes. There’s an array of to-die-for desserts, including baklava, flan, and mousse.
As for the entrée options, falafel, Instagram-worthy pizzas, and savory pies abound. I know, we can’t choose from these tasty options either. Just get ‘em all, share with it your friends, and cheer for Team USA this summer at the Olympics while you’re at it.
6. United Arab Emirates – ChicKing
ChicKing is a fast-growing restaurant chain that specializes in serving the tastiest, and most secretive, original recipe for fried chicken. We could stop there and wait while you book your next flight to Dubai, but it gets better. This franchise serves pasta, wraps, fries, and even has kids’ meals (with toys!). *Continues with online plane ticket purchase.* May we suggest riding first class for this adventure?
7. South Africa – Nando’s
Ever heard of PERi-PERi flame-grilled chicken? That’s the specialty of Nando’s and it’s too good to pass up. This franchise originates in South Africa and proudly presents a Portuguese/Mozambique vibe, which is hard not to notice from the extra fancy atmosphere that lures in even the most hesitant guests.
The secret to their top-notch chicken is the use of the African Bird’s Eye chili, also known as PERi-PERi, an essential component to the fire-igniting sauce Nando’s is famous for. This sauce is so popular, Nando’s has capitalized on this obsession and actually sells it in supermarkets in South Africa. If you’re in the States and can’t find a hot sauce to silence that daring soul of yours, try one of these 27 hot sauces ranked based on their spiciness.
#SpoonTip: If you go to Nando’s, don’t just order the chicken, try the Granadilla Cheesecake too. It’s the perfect way to end a long day of tourist-ing
8. Canada – Tim Hortons
Okay, so this might be a little familiar to those living near the border with our neighbors up north. Tim Hortons sells freshly brewed coffee along with a plethora of donuts (donut holes are specially called Timbits), breakfast foods, and sweet or savory snacks to compliment your caffeine fix.
Better yet, most locations are open until 11 pm, or even for 24 hours. So yes, there is a solution to your 3 am donut cravings after all. You can even get free donuts on National Donut Day. We just need to make Tim’s a household name to combat the Starbucks giant and their incredibly overpriced coffee.
America has some pretty iconic – and incredible – fast food franchises that have become “the place” for friendly gatherings, a quick meal (or two… or three), and the ultimate craving silencers.
Let’s not forget, however, that other countries can do this just as well as our most beloved eateries can, or maybe even a bit better too. Rather than arguing over which fast food chain is superior, why don’t we just love them all? One can only hope for Telepizza to deliver to campus in 30 minutes or less, or Tim Hortons to make my walk to class a little bit easier. This is what I would call cultural fusion at its finest.