The 20 Most Over-the-Top Fast Food Menu Items of All Time
Fast food is, almost by definition, predictable. Even before setting foot inside your local McDonald’s, Burger King or KFC, you probably have a pretty good idea of what’s on offer and what you’re planning on ordering. But occasionally a fast food item comes out of the woodwork that completely throws us for a loop.
In recent years, lots of fast food chains have been looking to drum up publicity by introducing new menu items (many of which are limited-time offerings) that work their way into the news cycle based on novelty alone; for examples in the past few months alone, look no further than Burger King’s Bacon Cheesy Tots or KFC’s Cheetos Chicken Sandwich. But some items, especially international ones, really go above and beyond.
Some of these menu items came and went, some were nothing short of fast-food game-changers. But they all have one thing in common: They’re completely over-the-top.
Starbucks: Unicorn Frappuccino
Back in April of 2017, Starbucks unleashed its wildest offering to date: the Unicorn Frappuccino. Jumping on the much-derided “unicorn” bandwagon, this Instagram-friendly, super-sweet concoction tasted “like crushed-up Sweet Tarts and cotton candy,” according to a few tasters on The Daily Meal staff, and the five of us who tasted it weren’t even able to finish it.
Tim Hortons: Buffalo Latte
“Made from freshly brewed espresso, steamed milk, mocha and bold Buffalo sauce flavor, the latte is topped with whipped topping and a dusting of zesty Buffalo seasoning,” a press release nobody ever thought they’d have to read said. And Tim Hortons wasn’t lying: Released only in Buffalo, New York, in October 2017 to coincide with the launch of a handful of new coffee drinks, this drink was so out-there that we’re not sure if anyone actually ventured to taste it.
Pizza Hut Hong Kong: Crayfish Seafood Deluxe
The menu at Pizza Hut locations in Hong Kong is surprisingly loaded with seafood, but the Crayfish Seafood Deluxe, which was released with much fanfare in 2014, might have gone one step too far. This pie was topped with shrimp, scallops, clams and crayfish, along with a spritz of lemon.
Pizza Hut Indonesia: BBQ Frankfurter Pizza
Released by Pizza Hut Indonesia at the end of 2016, the BBQ Frankfurter Pizza was an absolute beast. First of all, the crust was made up of 12 little cheese-filled cups, and the pizza itself was topped with mozzarella, cheddar, bacon, sausage chunks and entire hot dogs. This was then topped with mustard and barbecue sauce. Is this how the rest of the world thinks America eats?
Burger King Japan: Black Ninja Burger
This Burger King Japan offering made international waves in October 2013 for its sheer outlandishness: a burger patty, onions, lettuce, mayo, a hash brown patty and a giant piece of bacon were sandwiched between halves of a black bun. Meant to resemble a ninja with his tongue sticking out (seriously), the burger quickly became a cult hit.
KFC: Double Down
Ah, the Double Down. When it was released in 2010, it sent shockwaves through the fast food industry for sheer audacity alone: two slices of cheese and two slices of bacon, all sandwiched between two fried chicken patties. This greasy absurdity returned in 2014 for another go-around. KFC has changed its image a bit since then, but we won’t be surprised if the Double Down makes a 2020 comeback for its 10th anniversary.
Pizza Hut UK: Cheeseburger Pizza
A cheeseburger pizza isn’t so wild around these parts anymore; it’s usually just a regular pizza topped with ground beef and American cheese. But in England (and previously in the Middle East), Pizza Hut released a limited-time only pizza with a crust that was actually made out of little cheeseburgers. They were topped with mozzarella, and ketchup was served on the side.
Pizza Hut Singapore: Double Sensation Pizza
Released in Singapore as a Christmastime special in 2012, this pizza was so bonkers that it’s almost impossible to describe, but we’ll give it a shot: The pizza was separated into two rings, an inner ring and an outer ring. The outer ring’s crust had melted mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan oozing out of it, and between that and the inner ring was a pizza topped with cheese, salsa, bell peppers, mushrooms and turkey ham. The inner ring was stuffed with chicken sausage, which itself was stuffed with cheese. Inside that ring was a pepper Alfredo sauce, smoked chicken and slices of zucchini. Oh, and at the center of it all was a cherry. So, yeah.
Wendy’s Japan: Premium Lobster and Caviar Sandwich
The lobster market was bottoming out in 2012, so Wendy’s Japan decided that would be a good time to release two of the most opulent fast food items in history: the Lobster Surf & Turf Burger and the Premium Lobster & Caviar Sandwich. The former was a Wendy’s patty topped with chunks of Canadian lobster, and the latter included lobster salad, claw meat, mayonnaise and caviar. Both clocked in at about $16.28, which really isn’t so bad.
Pizza Hut Hong Kong: Flying Fish Roe Salmon Cream Cheese Pizza
Did you ever take a bite of a pizza crust and think, “Man, I wish there was some salmon roe and cream cheese in there”? In 2014, Pizza Hut Hong Kong went ahead and did it anyway. And because it was introduced at the same time as the Crayfish Seafood Deluxe, you could go ahead and get it topped with a wide variety of seafood as well. Now that’s just cray.
Taco Bell: Naked Chicken Chalupa
Ever since it launched its breakfast menu in 2014 with a waffle taco (RIP), Taco Bell has been trying to figure out what else on Earth can replace a taco shell. There’s the Naked Egg Taco, of course, and there’s also the Naked Chicken Chalupa, which was rolled out in 2016 and is still available. It’s a patty of breaded white meat chicken that’s folded into a taco shape and fried, then stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and avocado ranch sauce. But you’re definitely going to want to add in some bacon and Fritos.
Burger King: Nightmare King
This burger isn’t too outrageous on its own: a beef patty and a fried chicken fillet topped with American cheese, bacon, mayonnaise and onions. But a few things put it over the top: One, it’s all tucked inside an emerald-green bun; two, BK claimed that when it fed the burger to 100 participants over the course of 10 nights, they were 3.5 times more likely to have vivid dreams; and three, it’s called the Nightmare King. Released to a collective shrug last October, all this “scary” burger reinforced was the fact that if you want a good night’s sleep, don’t eat a bacon- and fried chicken-topped burger right before bed.
Burger King: Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheetos
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were having a moment in the sun a couple years ago, so Burger King decided to jump on the bandwagon and introduce Flamin’ Hot Mac n’ Cheetos — giant, spicy “Cheetos” filled with some facsimile of mac and cheese — to grocery stores in October 2017. Not content to limit this monstrosity (a spin on their regular Mac n’ Cheetos, which were rolled out in 2016) to the freezer aisle, a couple months later they went ahead and added them to the menu at locations nationwide.
Arby’s: Smoke Mountain
Arby’s added pulled smoked short rib to its menus for a limited time in July 2018, and to celebrate the occasion they added a seriously meaty monstrosity to the menu: the Smoke Mountain. It was stacked with beef short rib, pit-smoked ham, smoked brisket, melted cheddar, crispy onions and smoky barbecue sauce, all between two slices of Texas Toast.
Carl’s Jr.: El Diablo Thickburger
Do jalapeños, jalapeño poppers, habanero bacon ranch sauce and pepper jack cheese really belong on a burger? Probably not, but who cares? Released in 2015 (and again in 2018) by Carl’s Jr., this super-spicy burger may have brought the heat, but it also brought some serious grease: It clocks in at 1,180 calories, 73 grams of fat, and 2,210 milligrams of sodium.
Popeye’s: 24 Karat Champagne Wings
This creation was so wild that it was only available for one day (October 4, 2018) at just four Popeye’s locations: boneless chicken wings, coated in a Champagne-infused batter before being fried and topped with 24-karat edible gold flakes. It was ostensibly created to celebrate the opening of the chain’s 3,000th location, but was also a smart way to hop on the (brief) bandwagon of draping lowbrow foods with highbrow swag.
Burger King Japan: Windows 7 Whopper
Way back in 2009, Burger King Japan led the vanguard of the “extreme fast food” trend with its Windows 7 Whopper, a Whopper topped with — wait for it — seven beef patties, created to coincide with the release of Windows 7. It was only available for seven days, and the first 30 customers each day were able to procure it for 777 yen (about $8.55). Whether it was actually maybe just a little bit overboard was obviously beside the point.
Pizza Hut Middle East: Crown Crust Pizza
Introduced by Pizza Hut Middle East in 2012, these pizzas were about as over-the-top as it gets: One pizza was topped with burger chunks, lettuce, tomato and special sauce (and its crust was made of mini-cheeseburgers); the other was topped with cheese, onions, green peppers and fried chicken, and the crust was made of mini fried chicken sandwiches.
Pizza Hut UK, Australia and South Korea: Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza
One of the most infamous pizzas of all time, this Pizza Hut creation, introduced in 2012, actually had a ring of full-size hot dogs rolled into the crust, making for quite an interesting surprise when you cut into it (the only giveaway was a squirt of mustard and ketchup around the rim). Upping the ante a few years later, Pizza Hut decided to instead surround the rim with pretzel-wrapped cocktail weenies, which is actually not a bad idea. This one actually made its way stateside.
KFC Korea: Zinger Double Down King
In 2014, KFC Korea decided to launch its own version of the Double Down, and it may have outdone the original: Instead of just bacon and cheese, these two fried chicken “buns” sandwiched a beef patty, bacon, barbecue and creamy white sauce. The fact that KFCs in the U.S. don’t sell burgers, but those in South Korea do? Just one thing we bet you didn’t know about your favorite fast food chains.
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