When I first toured Europe with my mother and brother, I was intent on exploring the exotic. Trying different dishes, encountering different cultures, and soaking up all of the history, art, and music possible. My brother, on the other hand, seemed most interested in finding the nearest McDonald’s. Unimpressed by the food offerings in each country we visited, he sought out the golden arches — and with it the familiar touch of home.
But even if your adolescent insists on Mickey D’s — sigh — there’s still an opportunity for cultural exploration. Over at Glimpse, the National Geographic website for people living abroad, they’ve assembled some of the most interesting offerings, including Singapore’s Chicken Fan-tastic (above), Israel’s McKebab, and China’s Taro Root Pie. Adapting local dishes into fast-food fare takes a bit of a formula, according to their post:
[McDonald’s] tried-and-true strategy, which has worked for years in the States, also seems to work abroad: Find a popular local dish, cheaply imitate it, name it something cute (usually involving a “Mc”), and make it look really yummy in a poster.
Admittedly, part of the fun of traveling is seeing how things like McDonald’s translate into other cultures. So Mom and I decided to make the most of it, and shot a photo album full of pictures of my brother standing below the arches in each country we visited. It’s hysterical to look at now, particularly since my brother hasn’t eaten a Happy Meal in years.
Check out Glimpse’s Top Five list here. And I know you have your own stories of fast food from abroad. Share your favorites.
Photo: Juston Lin via Glimpse
- Nat Geo Expeditions