Published October 31, 2012
| The Daily Meal
No matter where you go in the world, there is a good chance you can order a Big Mac, french fries, and a Coke at McDonald’s. Whether you order the Big Mac meal in New York City, China, New Zealand, or France, it will appear exactly as you expected it to — the global standardization that McDonald’s has achieved at its more than 33,500 locations in 119 countries is impressive. But, venture into a McDonald’s outside the U.S. and you’re bound to find something a bit different on the menu that you won’t see in the U.S., like the Maharaja Mac (essentially a Big Mac in which the beef patties have been replaced by chicken) in India.
Other American fast-food chains are right there with McDonald’s. In 76 countries, you can order a Whopper from Burger King, whose worldwide locations serve more than 11 million people daily, and coffee drinkers can grab a Starbucks coffee in more than 50 countries.
America’s fast-food franchises are arguably some of the most recognized international brands. While Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks serve some of the staples that have made them so popular in America in locations around the world, they also cater to the local tastes in the countries in which they are located.
For example, Burger King has a very similar menu all over the world, but you will also find the Spicy Tender King Sandwich in South Korea and the Premium Black Kuro Burger with squid ink-flavored ketchup in Japan.
Should you decide to step inside an American fast-food chain the next time you are abroad, take a closer look at the menu — what you find may just surprise you and your taste buds.
Maharaja Mac at McDonald’s (India)
In India, where the McDonald’s kitchens have always been divided into separate sections for cooking vegetarian and non-vegetarian food and where McDonald’s locations do not sell beef or pork, the fast-food giant has replaced the Big Mac's two all-beef patties with chicken to create the Maharaja Mac.
McShrimp at McDonald’s (Russia)
If you find yourself in Moscow and want a different side to accompany your Big Mac other than traditional McDonald’s french fries, order McShrimp, breaded shrimp served with your choice of six sauces.
Premium Kuro Burger at Burger King (Japan)
You can understand the reasoning behind this burger's name just by looking at the color of the bun. The Premium Kuro Burger ( or kuro means black in Japanese) has a beef burger sandwiched between a bun that has bamboo charcoal mixed into the dough, creating the black hue, and topped with black ketchup made from squid ink, garlic, and tomato ketchup.
Spicy Tender King Sandwich at Burger King (South Korea)
The Spicy Tender King consists of chicken strips, topped with lettuce, onions, mayonnaise, and a fiery barbecue sauce.
Salsa Boxmaster Wrap at Kentucky Fried Chicken (Taiwan)
This massive wrap is stuffed with fried chicken, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, hot and sour Mexican salsa, and Doritos, which add a nice crunch. There really isn’t any good reason why this doesn’t exist in America.
Sweet Bites at Kentucky Fried Chicken (Australia)
These moist cake desserts come in two flavors: triple chocolate (chocolate cake with creamy chocolate frosting topped with crumbly chocolate bits) and banana caramel (a banana-flavored dessert enrobed in caramel).
Mushroom & Mozzarella Flaky Sandwich at Starbucks (Singapore)
Breakfast sandwiches have been on the menu at Starbucks for a couple of years now, and Starbucks shops around the world have subsequently rolled out the sandwich program adapted to regional tastes. The Mushroom & Mozzarella Flaky Sandwich in Singapore is comprised of white mushrooms and mozzarella stacked between two pieces of flaky bread made with linseed, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds.
More from The Daily Meal