Pret a Manger
Fast food may seem like a strictly American tradition, but just about every country has fast-food and fast-causal chains of its own nowadays. For better or for worse, some of these chains have come to the United States. Here are 10 that we welcome with open arms.
There are lots of foreign fast food chains whose specialties you’re probably not going to get a chance to eat any time soon. Mongolia’s largest fast food chain is called Khaan Buuz. In Finland, there are more locations of Hesburger than McDonald’s, Kochlöffel (and its signature blue “spork”) is super-popular in Germany. Gorditas Doña Tota has more than 200 locations throughout Mexico. And a French chain called Flunch has quite possibly the best chain name in history.
The vast majority of international chains never expand beyond their native borders. But a few do and have become quite popular because of it. Tim Horton’s, for example, started as a no-frills doughnut and coffee shop in Ontario. Today there are more than 800 locations in the United States and dozens in the Middle East and the U.K. And after its impending sale to Burger King, Tim Horton’s will be the third-largest fast food operator in the world.
Visiting an international fast food chain can be an eye-opening experience. We’re so used to the traditional burgers, hot dogs, pizza, fries, and burritos we have in the U.S. that seeing what other cultures eat can be fascinating and inspiring. So the next time you get an opportunity to visit one of these 10 chains that have made their way to the U.S. from abroad, drop in and order the craziest thing on the menu. You most likely won’t regret it.
This chain is hugely popular in the Philippines, and has locations scattered around the U.S., largely in California. Aside from burgers, they offer fried chicken, spaghetti, noodles, and unique breakfast dishes like Spam, beef tenders, or sweet pork with rice.
Founded in 2003 in Sydney, Australia, Pie Face is best known for its wide variety of savory and sweet pies, each represented by a different facial expression. A handful of Pie Face outlets have opened in the U.S., including six in New York City. Their funky pies, in flavors like Thai chicken curry; bacon, egg, and cheese; and Philly cheese steak, are turning a lot of people on to the glories of hand-pies.