Fast Food Chains You Won't Find in America
When it comes to fast food, no other country holds a candle to America. We're at the forefront of the fast food industry, with more home-grown franchises than anywhere else.
READ: Five of the Most Outrageous Burgers in America
That's not to say, however, that other countries aren't hot on our heels with their own on-the-go offerings. In regions all across the globe, local fast food franchises are an important part of the culinary landscape, serving up twists on the country's traditional fare — or in some cases, the exact antithesis of the country's traditional fare. And just like their American counterparts, these restaurants are hugely popular with the public.
PHOTOS: Fast Food Items You Won't Find in America
Here's a look at a few of the world's favorite fast food joints that (sadly) can't be found on U.S. soil.
Hell Pizza, New Zealand
New Zealand's Hell Pizza now operates in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The menu's staples include pizzas named for each the seven deadly sins, including the Greed Pizza (a Hawaiian pizza loaded with double the toppings) and a Pride Pizza (the vegetarian option). Customers can also choose to play "Pizza Roulette" for no extra charge, and the chef will hide one of the world's hottest peppers on a single slice of your pie.
MOS Burger, Japan
MOS Burger is the second largest fast food franchise in Japan, the first being McDonald's. They've branched out into Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, offering a fairly straightforward slew of burgers, hot dogs, soups and sides. One of their more localized items, which is only available in certain markets, is the MOS Rice Burger: a sandwich made with your choice of filling (seafood fritter, fried burdock with carrot, or grilled pork with ginger) and served on a "bun" made of rice, barley and millet.
Wimpy, United Kingdom
Named after the character of J. Wimpy Wellington from Popeye, the Wimpy restaurant chain once operated 1,000 restaurants in 23 countries. There are considerably less now, but Wimpys can still be found in such places as the U.K., Ireland, Guatemala, Japan, India and Scandinavia. They serve up mostly burgers and fries, but you can also find a Bender in a Bun on their menu (a burger-shaped hot dog on a sandwich bun) and burgers made from Quorn, a U.K. brand of imitation meat product made from proteins derived from fungi.
Swiss Chalet, Canada
According to Yelp, there used to be a Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill in upstate New York, but alas, it is no more. Still, over 200 of these fast food and casual dining restaurants can be found in Canada, and they're serving up slow-roasted chicken, ribs, salads and sandwiches. Most meals also come with "Chalet Sauce" for dipping.
Bob's was founded in 1952 by champion tennis player Robert Falkenburg, who is widely credited with introducing the concept of American-style fast food (as well as soft-serve ice cream) to South America. At their 700-plus locations throughout Brazil, Angola and Chile, Bob's serves up mostly standard fast-food fare (burgers, fries, etc.). Some of the menu's highlights include Gran Picanha burgers (with chimichurri sauce and fried onions), Ovomaltine milkshakes (based on an Ovaltine-type beverage) and toasted cheese and banana sandwiches. Bob's was also recently in the news for briefly introducing edible burger wrappers in the hopes of reducing waste.
The Egyptian-based Mo'men restaurants have over 50 locations in northern Africa, the Middle East and Malaysia. Their specialty is submarine sandwiches, like the Magnum Seafood sub with shrimp, calamari and crab; or their Alex Liver sandwich with spicy beef liver, green peppers and sesame paste. Mo'men's dessert "Mo'menu" sounds pretty good as well, offering such options as a nougat cream cup and a Nutella tortilla.
Television lets you see things from far away, and telephones let you speak to people from far away, so it only makes sense that Telepizza lets you order pizza from far away. That's precisely the idea behind this Spanish fast food delivery chain, which operates over 1,100 restaurants throughout Europe, South America and the United Arab Emirates. And despite its name, Telepizza delivers way more than just pies; customers can order pastas, calzones, salads, stromboli, chicken wings, kebabs, hamburgers, bacon-wrapped hot dogs — even fried Camembert cheese bites.
One of the largest fast food chains in Russia (behind American giants McDonald's, KFC and Sbarro) is Teremok. Founded in 1998, the chain boasts just over 200 restaurants in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including several dozen outdoor kiosks (similar to food carts) in addition to more traditional eat-in/carry-out storefronts. Patrons at Teremok chow down on fast-food versions of Russian fare, including borschts, dumplings, minced meats and blinis, which are thin pancake-like crepes with sweet or savory fillings.