• Flickr/ Charles Chamberlain

  • Flickr/ Ethan Tewhitt

  • Flickr/ PointnShoot

  • Flickr/Anna

  • Flickr/ Adreanna Moya Photography

There are plenty of foods eaten around the world that Americans think are just plain odd.

In Asia, for example, eating fried insects is commonplace and, while unorthodox and less common in the U.S., it is a staple of the culture’s food and a good source of protein. Meanwhile in South America, eating cuy (guinea pig) has been a widespread practice for centuries, and though many North Americans may find it abhorrent to eat a beloved family pet, the guinea pig holds no such honor in non-Western societies and is often raised explicitly for food. There are plenty of foods eaten in the States that are also thought of as a little strange.

Admit it, you’ve looked at aerosol spray cheese that comes out of a can — that bright-yellow, gooey, cheese-like concoction that’s sprayed onto bread, squeezed onto other foods like hot dogs, or just eaten straight from the nozzle — and thought “that’s a strange thing to be eating.” You’re not alone… many American foods baffle people from other countries.

Even American “classics” like the corn dogs are a little mind-boggling… a hot dog, battered, deep-fried, and then smeared with ketchup and mustard is not a combination many people would turn to when it comes to preferred snack foods.

Still, while many favorite American foods may be considered downright strange by the rest of the world in some ways it can be a good thing — America (in this case meaning the U.S.) is often criticized for not having its own cuisine. The expression “as American as apple pie” is not really accurate since the British were eating apple pie centuries before. The hot dog is really a German, not an American invention. But… the corn dog amalgamation, strange as it may seem, that’s entirely American in origin.

Read on to see what other foods are enjoyed across the U.S. that the rest of the world thinks are strange.

  • 1. Maple Bacon (Also Bacon Chocolate, Bacon Cupcakes, and Bacon Lollipops)

    Flickr/ Charles Chamberlain

    Bacon is overwhelmingly popular across the U.S. with people enjoying it crispy, juicy, with cheese, on waffles… just about any iteration you can come up with is likely to impress (unless you’re a vegan). But having a prepackaged product that’s both maple syrup and bacon, though tasty, is a little off center for the rest of the world. The same applies to chocolate with bacon in it and a premade cupcake mix with bacon bits mixed in.

  • 2. Grits

    Flickr/ Ethan Tewhitt

    Grits are just one of many Southern food favorites that seems bizarre to the rest of the world. This dish of ground-up corn kernels boiled in milk is enjoyed mushy and with butter (and/or lard), cheese, and gravy. The texture is difficult to qualify… is it supposed to be like mashed potatoes? Is it like porridge? We just don’t understand…

  • 3. Chicken and Waffles

    Flickr/ PointnShoot

    This southern favorite is fast gaining popularity across the U.S. for its tasty flavor combination. But while it may be delicious to America, the rest of the world is not that keen on putting deep-fried chicken on a buttermilk waffle and drizzling it with maple syrup… that’s pushing the boat out a little too far! 

  • 4. Peanut Butter and Jelly

    Flickr/Anna

    Peanut butter is eaten in many countries, but it’s not as popular elsewhere as it is in the States. When you combine it with jelly (or Marshmallow Fluff), well that’s just an off center combination that many people outside of the U.S. would not even want to try. Bear in mind though, in some countries, peanut butter is drizzled with some golden syrup or honey to sweeten it up on a piece of toast or in a sandwich… it’s just never combined with jelly (or jam, which is traditionally its own separate sandwich spread). 

  • 5. Corn Dogs

    Flickr/ Adreanna Moya Photography

    They’re a favorite at street carts, fairgrounds, and parks, but most of the world still thinks that this hot dog dipped in batter and deep-fried is strange. Stranger still is when it’s drenched in ketchup and mustard before being eaten.

    See more crazy American foods

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