Do other countries have "American" food?

In the US there are all sorts of regional resaraunts. You have your basic Chinese food, Italian, mexican, etc. I was wondering if in other parts of the world they have American food establishments. Other than fast food chains. What type of dishes would they server? I can’t think of anything that’s very “American” other than maybe hamburgers, but we didn’t really come up with much of our own unique foods did we?

Yes! I happened to be in London on the Fourth of July once, and the restaurant we were eating in had an “American Food Buffet.” All I remember was franks ‘n’ beans, potato salad and cole slaw. It was AWFUL.

“Indeed.” Wolfe waggled a finger at him. “Have you eaten terrapin stewed with butter and chicken broth and sherry?”

“Have you eaten a planked porterhouse steak, two inches thick, surrendering hot red juice under the knife, garnished with American parsley and slices of fresh limes, encompassed by mashed potatoes which melt on the tongue, and escorted by thick slices of fresh mushrooms faintly underdone?”

“Or the Creole Tripe of New Orleans? Or Missouri Boone County ham, baked with vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire, sweet cider and herbs? Or Chicken Marengo? Or chicken in curdled egg sauce, with raisins, onions, almonds, sherry and Mexican sausage? Or Tennessee Opossum? Or Lobster Newburgh? Or Philadelphia Snapper Soup? But I see you haven’t.” Wolfe pointed a finger at him. “The gastronome’s heaven is France, granted. But he would do well, on his way there, to make a detour hereabouts. I have eaten Tripe a la mode de Caen at Pharamond’s in Paris. It is superb, but no more so than Creole Tripe, which is less apt to stop the gullet without an excess of wine. I have eaten bouillabaisse at Marseilles, its cradle and its temple, in my youth, and it is mere belly-fodder, ballast for a stevedore, compared with its namesake at New Orleans!”

– Nero Wolfe, in Rex Stout’s TOO MANY COOKS (1938)

I haven’t been there to recently to see if it still works this way, but in Belgium they used to serve steak tatare as filet americain. I knew several kids who were told by their waiter that it was “American hamburger,” ordered it in a fit of nostalgia, and were most unpleasantly surprised.

There are plenty of self-styled “American restaurants” in Europe. They serve pretty much the same type of food as the average American diner.

In Ukraine there are a bunch of American restaurants that serve hamburgers, turkey sandwiches, ribs, steaks, salads, pizza. They are expensive, cater mostly to expats, so you can assume that any Ukrainian you see in the dining room is in the mafia.

There are “American” restaurants in Dublin (like “Captain America” on Grafton Street). When I was in Scotland I ate at “Uncle Buck’s”, a supposedly American restaurant. I had to see what their idea of American food was – steaks and fries and salad bar. The only thing un-American was the sundae I had for dessert. The chocolate sauce was incredibly pale, unlike the rich brown of Hershey’s – or Cadbury’s for that matter.

I forgot to say: When eating in an American-theme restaurant in Ukraine, you can assume that the Ukrainians you see are mafia, and you can assume that soon after the meal you will be severely incapacitated with stomach cramps and worse, um, problems.

Yep. Back in my study abroad days we used to hang out at one in Valencia, Spain. I’m told they had the only decent steaks and burgers in town (since I can take or leave steaks and burgers anyway, I had no strong opinion on this matter). They definitely did a mean plate of nachos – and yes, Spaniards do consider nachos “American food.” But the real allure was the decor – cattle horns and buffalo heads (I dared not ask if they were real) everywhere you looked, mixed with the occasional poster of the New York skyline.

And they served “American cocktails,” but they were about five times stronger than you’d get in the States. Damn, I miss that place.

Many Europeans look down on American food, but I suspect that’s because they think we eat nothing but McDonalds hamburgers and KFC chicken. (Some of us do, I’m sorry to say.) If you want to know what real traditional American fare is like, get yourself a copy of a good cookbook on the subject, like Bernard Clayton’s Cooking Across America or Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American. You will find such mouth-watering recipes as Dirty Rice, Chicken-fried porkchops, Boston baked beans, Steamed Blue Crabs, and, for dessert, Mississippi Mud Pie.

Well the problem is this. There isn’t really Italian or Chinese food either. There is Tuscan, and Scillian, and so forth food. Szechuan, Cantonese, Shanghai style, and so forth. I ate at an “American” restuarant in Brussels. It mostly had creole and southern food, with a couple of oddities thrown in. It was alright.

china was riddled with american food.

i ate at an a&w and a mcdonalds while there. i think the world’s largest kfc is in beijing.

the mcdonalds in hong kong served curry potato pie. it was bizzare. the walls were decorated with pictures of american presidents, vintage ads for american products, and for some reason the titanic.

after a long stretch of chinese food that i wasn’t turned on by, i was fortunate to stumble upon a sign advertising unadulterated western food. haha. i ate like a madman, hoping to fill myself until the end of my trip.

i think i’m headed to mongolia soon. oh boy.

oops. i missed that.

well, the unadulterated western food place wasn’t fast. there i had spaghetti and garlic bread and caesar salad and carlsberg.

it was fantastic.

When I was in London, back in 1985, they had many. Now when I say that you may not think these foods American. But pizza places were around with references to Chicago. There were a few Tex-mex places, including Friday’s Tex-Mex (decent food, but different than in Tx) and Lone Star Cafe (pretty similar to what I am used to). They also had their version of burger chains (Wimpy’s Burgers). I saw no independent burger joints. I ate bbq ribs at a place near Covent Gardens. On the cheap sides many shopping areas have food courts. Tasty food!! I ate my first chicken pizza there. But I figure food court is an American concept polished from older traditions.

I did not see grits. Come on Brits out there, prove me wrong.

Of course, MacDonalds, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell (even in Mexico), Burger King have overseas operations.

There are a couple of “American style” eateries down here in Melbourne, Australia. A few that come to mind are “Captain America’s Hambuger Heaven”, “Lone Star” and all those Hard Rock etc. places.

They serve things like burgers, ribs, buffalo wings, ribs, ranch style whatever, ribs, potato skins with sour cream/cheese/bacon bits, ribs, creole anything, ribs, sodas, sundaes, steaks, shakes, burgers, fries, ribs…hmm, get the picture?

throwing another shrimp on the barbie

I’m both a traveller and a bit of a food xenophobe. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating local cuisine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss a good steak or milk shake or what have you once in a while.

One of the more interesting and humorous things about ordering American food overseas is that sometimes the local folks, well…they don’t kind of get things quite right. Usually it’s just in terms of taste, but then again I suppose it’s probably not too easy to make an “American” dish going solely off a recipe and maybe a photo.

On the other hand, in some places American food is sort of, uh, adapted to local tastes. Like the time in Syria when I, in a fit of food homesickness, ordered a burger and fries from a quasi-Western restaurant. I got what I ordered, all right…only the fries were conveniently placed IN the sandwich, like some sort of topping gone horribly horribly wrong. Actually didn’t taste all that bad, though.

More to the original topic, I think if one can get a hamburger in the Middle East and a “sub” sandwich in Laos (both of which I’ve done) at locally-run places, then I think it’s probably safe to say that “American” food is available on most corners of the globe.

There’s a Western/TexMex Bar in Bamako, Mali which was once rated [1995?] among the top ten bars in the world…

Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh (they had 2 restaurants last time I was there–in Oakland and on The Strip) does that to all of their sandwiches–puts cole slaw and french fries between the bread, serves it up to you on waxed paper.

Sort of a shabby chic thing, but without much chic. Still tasty.

dont forget “America Town.”

“aww, we got seated at Tax-achusetts!”

“well, I havent talked it over with the family, but I’m pretty sure we’d all agree on a free meal at america town”

I lived in Japan for a while when I was younger. (Misawa for those who want to look it up… Cartophiles.) Anyway, there were all the traditional fast food things that you would expect. I remember going on a field trip to KFC in the private school that I was going to at the time. Wooo, we were so k3wl. (k3wl was meant to be a joke on all those whom I think are l@m3. heheheh)

schief2, “One of the more interesting and humorous things about ordering American food overseas is that sometimes the local folks, well…they don’t kind of get things quite right. Usually it’s just in terms of taste, but then again I suppose it’s probably not too easy to make an “American” dish going solely off a recipe and maybe a photo.”

I once walked into a local pizzaria. As I didn’t live on base it was owned and operated by the local Japanese. At 10 I should have known something was horribly wrong when I saw no local GI’s in there but my desire for pizza overcame that logic. I ordered it and it was awful. The pizza dough was not porous (ie the yeast didn’t really rise) and was made with rice flour, the pizza sauce was sickeningly sweet like they added several cups of sugar to it, and the cheese that could have possibly covered up some of the grossness of the pizza was not real and rather sparcely speckled over the top. It made lunchroom cafeteria pizzas seem gourmet by comparison. It was so wrong. It looked right but tasted like someone elses vomit. YECH!

I didn’t like Japanese food when I was there nor do I really have much of a taste for it now (I remember fish on stick vendors complete with heads in place of hot dog vendors and other things that were just gross.) so I had to make do by eating on base or at the few “American” type of restaurants that were around the area.