It’s a common practice done by a lot of budget travelers: they always grab a few meals at local fast food chain locations to get a taste of something familiar. However, there are times that they get surprised with how different the food tastes. Even if the menu items are the same at home and abroad, they could be two various things altogether.
Almost every international fast food chain does this. They really tweak how they serve their food a bit, so if you’re thinking of eating at a local branch of your favorite fast food while you’re out of the country for some reason, don’t expect that they’ll taste the same.
You might be wondering why, though. They’re still the same brand, but why would their food taste different? It’s simple, really: it’s to appeal better to the local taste. Sure, locals will eat at fast food chains from the US or UK because they want American or British food, but the truth is, it has already been tweaked to suit their palates better. It’s the same when ethnic restaurants are opened in the US. They’ll already become Americanized in taste to attract more local diners.
Aside from making their staple menu items more appealing to locals, fast food chains also get creative when they open stores abroad. Wendy’s, for one, has poutine in their menu in Canada, while McDonald’s offer the Ebi Fillet-O, a fillet-o-shrimp sandwich, in Japan and the McGrillschnägg, a pork sausage and bacon sandwich, in Switzerland. You’ll definitely find it weird if you’re a visitor, but for locals, these are just some of their popular dishes that fast foods found to be great additions to their menu to attract more customers.
These menu items are actually a reflection of the local preferences and possibly the locally available ingredients. Japan is known for being rich in seafood, so it’s natural for local restaurants and diners to serve dishes that feature such. Meanwhile, sausages are a part of life in Switzerland, so why not put them on a hamburger bun and call it a day? The idea might seem bizarre to foreigners, but they work locally, so they continue to flourish and foster the fast food industry’s creativity.
If you just want to eat your favorite fast food meal while abroad, what should you do? There could be a few things that will taste familiar to you in most fast food joints, but if you really miss home and want a taste of it, you might want to visit a restaurant that serves your ethnic cuisine. That’s the safest bets you have in such cases.