Pizza Hut's Crown Pizza. // Courtesy of Pizza Hut International
For some people, an international trip is a chance to go truly local—to try the fried grasshoppers in Oaxaca, Mexico, or the maggot cheese in Sardinia, Italy. For others, the Burger King across from the hotel is a selling point. Here’s the best of both worlds: Some re-envisioned American fast-food staples, which don’t include any sorts of bugs.
Dunkin’s Seaweed Doughnuts
To me, this sounds like a kid’s worst nightmare, or something from American Horror Story. Among the flavors at Dunkin’ Donuts China you can find shredded pork and dried seaweed doughnuts. As odd as it sounds, it’s probably pretty tasty. Coincidentally or not, last spring basketball superstar LeBron James signed on to be DD’s new spokesperson in Asia.
Pizza Hut’s Kebab Pies
Pizza is currently one of the trendiest foods in America. But even with wacky versions like the chicken ranch pie that you can find in Louisville, Kentucky, no one seems to have stepped it up quite like Pizza Hut in India. That’s where you can find the new Crown Pizza, a.k.a. the King of Pizzas. The pie is ringed with a crust studded with deep-fried chicken or vegetable kebabs (they look like McNuggets to me) and garnished with a squirt of creamy pepper sauce. The snazzy sounding Chicken Majestic Crown Pizza boasts hot-and-spicy chicken; if you go for the Chicken Splendor option, you get chicken tikka on top of your pizza instead.
Super Diet Sodas
In America, diet soda means zero-calorie beverages: You shouldn’t gain weight when you drink them. In Japan, diet soda now means you can possibly lose weight because you’re drinking them. A few weeks ago, Pepsi unveiled a “fat-blocking soda,” Pepsi Special; the key ingredient is “indigestible dextrin”—also known as dietary fiber—which, they claim, can cut down on the amount of fat that the body is able to absorb. As of right now you have to get on a plane to Japan to find the soda and start losing weight.
McDonald’s Seasonal Burgers
Generally the word seasonal conjures up images of summer produce at farm-to-table restaurants, not a wintertime burger at a Berlin McDonald’s. But for six weeks during the cold weather months, German McD’s offer a specialty, the Big Rösti. It’s a beef patty topped with a crispy, pan-fried potato pancake (which looks suspiciously like the hash brown potato patty from the breakfast menu), bacon and cheese on an onion-studded bun.
French Fast Food Black Burgers
Last winter, in celebration of the French premier of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Quick burger chain created the “Dark Vador” burgers (sic). When they said dark, they meant it: The Vador burger was served on a bun dyed jet black. Sadly, these burgers were limited release. So were the Premium Kuro burgers that Burger King Japan introduced this fall, on buns as black as "Dark Vador's" were. But surely the black bun burger trend will spread and they'll pop up somewhere else soon this year.