12 popular US foods that aren’t common elsewhere

There are some foods that are a lot more common in the US than elsewhere. TFoxFoto/ Shutterstock

One major thing people might notice when travelling to other countries is that the food options are typically significantly different than your home country. This isn’t only true for the menu items at restaurants, but also for the items on the shelves in grocery stores.

Below are just a few foods that are common in the US but hard to find elsewhere.

Huge salads aren’t quite as popular outside the US.

Salad bars aren’t very popular outside the US. Chop’t/Facebook

In the US, almost every restaurant offers a hearty salad option, usually filled with all different kinds of veggies, some cheese, a protein, and maybe some extra random add-ons.

In most places outside the US, salads won’t come with all of these random extra add-ons.

Read more: What popular salads look like in 16 places around the world

Tater tots are hard to find in places like Europe.

Tater tots aren’t easy to come across outside the US. Tom Noe / flickr

It’s probably not shocking to hear that this fried, often frozen food is something of an American delicacy. Although according to The Daily Meal, they can be found in Australia under a different name, tater tots are pretty scarce elsewhere.

A Minnesotan in Denmark chronicled her search for tater-tots abroad saying, “We found ourselves in the frozen potato section when the truth I’d been ignoring forced itself into my reality: there were no tater tots.”

Pop Tarts are going to be hard to find when travelling.

Sugary, delicious Pop Tarts are really an American food. To find them outside the US, though, you’ll most likely have to buy them on an American online store.

On one TripAdvisor forum, a user from Hong Kong, China wrote: “We don’t really see them here in Hong Kong.

An Australian user wrote a similar sentiment: “I’ve never had a Pop Tart. Not sure if we can get them here in Oz… “

American cheese is, not surprisingly, pretty American.

Don’t expect to find American cheese too many places outside the US. Wikimedia Commons

There’s a reason American cheese has its name. In all seriousness, this is something you probably won’t find in other parts of the world.

A writer on The Cooking Geek blog said, “It is no secret that people from many countries, especially European countries, scoff at the very idea of ‘American cheese.’ But I had no idea that you could not even buy the stuff outside of the USA. Even as close as I was to the New York border, in Ottawa, they didn’t even know what it was!”

Fake cheese is probably not something you’ll stumble across anywhere else.

Spray cheese is really only sold in the US. Mindspace/ iStock

Be it plastic-y orange cheese squares to sprayable cheese from a can, people outside the US just don’t seem to get the whole processed cheese thing.

British Quora users shared which American food items they just don’t understand, and processed cheese topped their list more than once.

“Orange ‘cheese’ squares and/or Cheez Whiz. Just no.” – Quora user Adam M. Steiner.

“That peculiar, bright yellow and wholly unnatural looking thing called ‘processed cheese.’ It’s clearly not the work of anything natural.”- Quora user Steve Jones.

Peanut butter is something that many Europeans actively dislike.

Peanut butter’s popularity doesn’t reach far beyond the US. Dustin Dennis/Shutterstock

Peanut butter is an American staple that can be found in basically any household and in many different dishes. But people elsewhere don’t consume it often – in fact, NPR reported that Europeans ate less than one tablespoon of peanut butter every year.

Further, market research in Russia suggested Russians find American peanut butter “too salty” thus it’s rarely sold there.

Root beer is one soda you’ll be hard-pressed to get in other countries.

Root beer is one of the only sodas that is exclusively American. Estrada Anton/Shutterstock

Most countries around the world sell soft drinks, and a lot of them have their own versions and flavours. But root beer is one kind of soft drink that is pretty strictly American.

“One other interesting fact about root beer is that, except for a couple of Canadian brands and one Australian brand, you’ll not find root beer anywhere else in the world,” Monte Melugin wrote on Grub Americana.

Cheez-It crackers are an American favourite, but that’s about it.

Cheez-its are 100% American. Cheez-It / Facebook

Many snacks that originated in America can be found in other countries, even if the flavours are totally different. But Cheez-It crackers? Not really.

For example, according to Study Abroad Lithuania, the closest thing to Cheez-Its there are “Pringles.”

On MetaFilter, a user wrote they were having “precious little luck” finding any sort of Cheez-It replacement in Japan.

A Reddit user from Spain echoed the same sentiments writing “Where the hell can I buy Cheez-Its“?

Soft white bread is going to be tough to find when travelling.

It can be tough to find. Shutterstock

In the US, people love to use soft loaves of bread for sandwiches. Other countries simply don’t get it.

In one Reddit thread about things Americans do differently, many people wondered why people in the US have an obsession with “sweet” bread.

Read more: How bread is eaten in 27 countries around the world

Hershey’s chocolate is tough to find in other countries.

Hershey’s chocolate bars are scarce in other countries. Raihana Asral/ Shutterstock

Hershey’s chocolate bars are scarce outside of the US. In fact, according to the Financial Times, international sales made up only 14% of Hershey’s total revenues last year of $US5.3 billion.

Further, Hershey has no significant distribution in Europe, unlike Mars, its privately-owned rival, whose leading brands include Snickers, M&M, Twix, and Starburst.

Sweet tea is really an American drink.

Sweet tea is purely American. S_Photo/Shutterstock

Sweet tea is a Southern specialty, and it’s hard to find a really good version in any other part of the US, so it’s not exactly surprising to hear that it isn’t found in other countries. In fact, it can even be hard to find iced tea in general.

Although many countries have their own iced teas that are similar to sweet tea such as Maghrebi mint tea in North Africa and Thai iced tea in Thailand, the notion of a sweet black tea is distinct to the American South.

As for the popularity of iced tea in general in the UK, one Reddit user wrote, “Put it like this. In a number of places in the US and Canada, if I asked for tea I would be given iced tea rather than brewed leaf tea unless I specifically said I wanted hot tea. In the UK you would never be given iced tea instead of hot tea.”

Biscuits and gravy are only found in the US.

American breakfast as a concept is exclusively American. Aimee M Lee/Shutterstock

It seems in countries outside the US, American travellers won’t likely find biscuits and gravy.

In a Reddit thread titled “Non-American redditors, what American food do you consider to be completely gross or weird?,” one user commented “I have American cousins. Took me out for breakfast one morning and made me try biscuits and gravy. That gravy is disgusting! The waitress told me that its just lard mixed with flour salt and pepper. Who can eat that in the morning?”

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