10 Outrageous International Fast Food Options
By Zach Keenum, Toptenz, 1 September 2015.
By Zach Keenum, Toptenz, 1 September 2015.
Up until recently, we was under the impression that the United States sat atop the throne uncontested for “world’s fattest country,” and it also seemed like general knowledge that many countries resent America for holding that title. After careful, painstaking, and sometimes stomach-turning research, we’ve found that many other countries are producing over-the-top fast food items that may give America run for its money. Here are some of the most outrageous fast food options we’ve found. Horrifying? Some of them, yes. But that certainly isn’t going to stop us from giving them a try.
10. Sausage and Barbecue Sub (Subway, Japan)
Although it’s not as eye-poppingly outrageous as one might expect, it’s important to keep in mind that Subway is supposed to be one of the more nutritionally reasonable fast food giants - in America, at least. Japan’s Subway seems to want to approach cold cuts a bit differently, offering what’s described as a “coarsely ground juicy sausage”, barbecue sauce, and the standard choices of cheese, vegetables, and bread.
Early reviews of the sandwich were harsh, but that doesn’t stop millions of people from eating Subway every day, so don’t let that discourage you from trying. If you’re in the country and you’re looking to switch it up, a six-inch of this off-kilter treat is offered at a modest 490 yen (around US$5.02).
9. Hot Dog Pizza (Pizza Hut, USA)
A list of outrageous food items wouldn’t be complete without at least one entry from the good ol’ US of A. Surprisingly, this one ranks relatively low on the list, but don’t let that make you think it isn’t at least a little over-the-top. Introduced to US markets in June of this year, Pizza Hut’s Hot Dog Bites Pizza is essentially a normal pie surrounded by a halo of approximately 28 mini-hot dogs and a hot dog bun-style crust. Adhering to the common notion of “even if it’s bad, it’s still pretty good”, there’s little doubt that the pizza itself is probably standard middle-of-the-road fast food pizza.
It’s the addition of miniature frankfurters that’s eliciting all sorts of reactions - praising its creativity of ingredient combination, applauding the addition of a side of French’s mustard, shunning the low quality ingredients, and dismissing the frankenpizza purely based on aesthetic. One Washington Post journalist called the Hot Dog Bites Pizza “visually upsetting,” while a Duluth Tribune writer called it a “kitchen error.” We’ll let you decide for yourself. Good luck.
8. Napoli Crispy Pizza Chicken Wing (KFC, Hong Kong)
One of the most recent additions to the ever-growing catalogue of international food oddities, the Crispy Pizza Chicken Wing from KFC Hong Kong is also one of the more unlikely combinations. Colour us curious, though - according to Buzzfeed, it’s a normal chicken wing covered in layers of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, with marinara drizzled on top.
KFC is no stranger to offering over-the-top meal choices, and the Crispy Pizza Chicken Wing essentially takes fried chicken breading to the next level - in the form of two types of cheese. Outrageous? Just a little bit. Delicious? We encourage you to find out. The Napoli Crispy Pizza Chicken Meal Set includes two wings, mushroom rice, egg tart, and a drink for US$39 Hong Kong, which is around US$5 in the US. Not bad.
7. Birizza (Pizza Hut, India)
Introduced to Indian and Sri Lankan markets through Pizza Hut in 2013, the Birizza is a thoughtful and Americanized re-imagining of the popular Indian dish biryani. While it may not seem as absurd due to the fact that biryani is a very common dish in a very populated country, the blatant Americanization of the dish by bringing it to Pizza Hut is a bit head-scratching. Nonetheless, one could assume the product is doing well in Indian markets - according to Business Standard, as of April, 2014 there were 320 Pizza Hut restaurants across India, all of which served the Birizza. And really, why would you not try it?
You have the option of the Chicken Birizza (seasoned chicken curried vegetables and rice) or the Vegetarian Birizza (paneer - cubed cheese - along with curried vegetables and rice). The fact that the average American probably hasn’t tried biryani to begin with makes this dish all the more appealing. Personally, we find it more intriguing than outrageous, but this dish was too different to not include on the list. Take notes, Pizza Hut USA.
6. Surf & Turf Burger/Lobster Caviar Sandwich (Wendy’s, Japan)
Described by the Japanese news site Rocket News 24 as “a genuinely luxurious burger with plenty of volume,” Wendy’s Japan introduced the Surf and Turf Burger, along with its non-burger counterpart Lobster Caviar Sandwich in August of 2012. These items were part of the then-new Ocean Premium submenu, along with a lobster caviar salad. Both Ocean Premium sandwiches contain generous portions of Canadian Lobster, but the Surf and Turf also contains a beef patty and lobster salad, while the Lobster Caviar Sandwich is simply lobster and caviar, no burger.
The outrageousness of these items doesn’t necessarily lie in how over-the-top they are, but in how classy and upscale Wendy’s Japan is attempting to be with them. It might just be classy enough to work, too - the seafood sandwiches were added to the Japan Premium menu, which offers items such as the Foie Gras Rossini Burger and Porcini Grilled Chicken. Please, someone give an official stamp of approval to Wendy’s Japan for attempting to transform an otherwise-bland restaurant chain to appeal to a more sophisticated taste. If you ask us, more chains should try this route, despite the current trend of high-calorie fried food/fried food pairings. We’d happily be the sandwich tester.
5. Gracoro Burger (McDonald’s, Japan)
There’s the McRib, there’s the Filet O’ Fish, and then there’s Japan’s Gracoro Burger. The reason we list the two subpar sandwiches in conjunction with McDonald’s Japan’s unique delight is that they each share similarities. The Gracoro Burger is essentially the Japanese market’s answer to America’s McRib, in that it’s only served in the winter months and people get overly excited about it. But it’s like the Filet O’ Fish in that it’s a seafood sandwich - only it seems significantly more delicious. The Gracoro Burger, initially introduced into Japanese McDonald’s restaurants in 1993, seems to be something of an alternative croquette sandwich.
At first glance, the patty fairly resembles that of a Filet O’Fish, in that they both boast a seasoned breadcrumb exterior. Beneath the breadcrumbs of the Gracoro, however, is a creamy and tantalizing combination of shrimp, macaroni, and white sauce. According to Kotaku, as of 2012, McDonald’s also launched a variety of the sandwich topped with demi-glace sauce and cheddar cheese. Perhaps you aren’t typically one to succumb to the shallow temptations that restaurants like McDonald’s offer, but Japan is also not typical in their fast food offerings, if you couldn’t tell by now. If you find yourself in Japan this winter, the Gracoro Burger is certainly something to keep in mind. The sandwich goes for 380 yen, or about $3.22 in US currency.
4. Black Ninja Burger (Burger King, Japan)
Leave it to the culinary oddballs in Japan to churn out outrageous item after outrageous item - behold, the Black Ninja Burger from Burger King. The picture of the sandwich alone should be bizarre enough to appeal to one’s taste buds. Introduced to the Japanese market in October of 2013, the Black Ninja gets its colour from the buns being cooked over bamboo charcoal. The combination of ingredients on the burger seems absurd but delicious, consisting of a hash brown, shredded lettuce, Chaliapin (onion and garlic) sauce, and a giant, protruding slab of Canadian bacon.
The slab of bacon sticks out of the sandwich like a tongue, and according to Quartz, it’s meant to represent the Japanese BK mascot of sorts, Kuro Ninja. Kuro Ninja is pictured in BK’s marketing for the sandwich sticking his tongue out in a taunting manner. Now that we’ve learned this tidbit, the protrusion of the bacon makes a little more sense - but that doesn’t make it any less bizarre looking. Still, the press release had me convinced after reading ‘hash browns and bacon’. As of October 25, 2013, the black beauty was selling for 680 yen, or US$6.75.
3. Zinger Double Down King (KFC, South Korea)
While researching this next sandwich, we found that many publications named it as a “monstrosity” and “horrifying” - but anything you can consume (in moderation) without seriously hurting yourself shouldn’t be labelled as such. The key word here is moderation. Enter the Zinger Double Down King from KFC South Korea. When the original Double Down sandwich was introduced in 2009, it boasted a simple-yet-bold recipe of bacon, two different types of cheeses, and secret sauce in between two filets of Original Recipe chicken. In October of 2014, KFC South Korea upped the ante by introducing the Zinger Double Down King, which adds a beef patty (yes, we’re covering all three spectrums of meat here) in between the chicken and bacon.
Called ‘terrifying’ by online publication Foodbeast, one would assume the sandwich would be quick to induce heart palpitations in even the most battle-hardened eaters, but the Zinger apparently only clocks in at 750 calories. It’s hard to believe, but if that’s the information we’re given, we’ll feel less terrible if we ever get our hands on one. Pictures from Twitter show consumers having to cut into the sandwich with a steak knife just to dismantle it, and frankly, that’s not that surprising. What is surprising, however, is that this variation hasn’t made it overseas to US markets. Come on, KFC Korea. Let us try it, and we promise we’ll never bother you for anything again - because we’ll be either sulking in bed alone or spending the night in the bathroom.
2. Double Down Dog (KFC, Philippines)
January 26th, 2015: a day that will live in infamy…at least in the food industry. This is the day that KFC upped the ante again and decided to combine fried chicken with the worst meat product fast food has to offer - hot dogs. Continuing its trend of replacing innocent bread with fried chicken and throwing whatever the hell they want in between, KFC Philippines released the Double Down Dog only on January 26 and 27, and with only 50 sold per day at just 11 locations in the country. At least they were attempting to limit the amount of arteries clogged.
The Double Down Dog contains a hot dog - apparently of the chicken and cheese variety - and tops it with honey mustard before surrounding it with, yes, fried chicken. Let’s hope there aren’t any plans to bring this thing stateside, although a sandwich of this stature would seem more appropriate (and would probably sell better) in the US than anywhere else.
1. Double Sensation Pizza (Pizza Hut, Singapore)
There was a time, long ago, when the crust was the most boring part of the pizza. We’re happy to say that time is long gone, and Pizza Hut Singapore has fully taken advantage of that with its Double Sensation Pizza, featuring two separate rings of stuffed crust. And that’s not even close to the only outrageous thing about this pie. It starts with the outer ring of crust, stuffed with parmesan, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese, which in every picture looks to be exploding out of the dough. The outer pizza is topped with turkey ham (didn’t know that was a thing), bell peppers, mushrooms, and a salsa sauce. Moving on, the inner ring of crust is filled with chicken sausage and cheese - yes, there are sausage links within the crust - and the inner pie is topped with smoked chicken, zucchini, and alfredo pepper sauce. If that ingredient list seemed overwhelming to you, it probably did its job.
This may take the cake (or pie) as the most over-the-top item on this list, and it somehow manages to stay desirable. The pizza was made available in Singapore in December of 2012, right around the time the world was freaking out over the pending apocalypse. Perhaps it was planned? “The world’s ending, so we might as well go all out and give hungry Singaporeans this pie as a last hurrah.” In any case, the world is still here, and the memory of the Double Sensation lives on. The pizza sold for the equivalent of US$21.75 for a 10” option, and US$27.49 for a 13” option. Since it seems to be several meals in one, we’d have no problem shelling that amount out for one. It’d be an investment.
Top image: Pizza Hut Birizza. Credit: Pizza Hut India.
[Source: Toptenz. Edited. Top image added.]