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Jan 17, 2014 08:55 PM

American restaurants in other countries

Have any of you world travelers found American restaurants abroad? If so I am curious what passes for American food in the ones you've visited.

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  1. Depends on what you mean by "American food" and excluding chains like KFC or McDonalds.

    But that said, there's usually some sort of diner (think Denny's not Katz level food), BBQ, and burger joint on the level of greasy spoon drive-thru.

    There are also Steakhouses but I'm not sure those are purely "American" unless they're also kitschy and theme-based with cowboys and a Western motif.

    High end American is hard to pinpoint because I'm not sure there's a definitive definition of such a thing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Exactly what I was driving at.

      I ate tonight at a real Mexican restaurant. I mean it was obvious that the management and wait persons were all Mexican or of Mexican extraction. The food was really good, unlike the fake Mexican you can get at some chains.

      But I recognized everything on the menu. There wasn't anything unusual or strange to my American taste. I wondered how American tastes have transformed how Mexican food is prepared in this country.

      What would be the equivalent regarding American food, I wondered. What dishes would be recognized by non-
      Americans, and would be included in an American restaurant in London, or Paris or Istanbul? And how are they changed in different countries?

      I assume Hamburgers, Chili, Barbecue. But I don't know. That's what I am wondering.

      1. re: sueatmo

        The Hard Rock Café in Polanco in Mexico City closed last year after 20 years. It just seemed so out of place there....

    2. My brother lives in Singapore and searched desperately for "American" food for his first months there. He LOVES the food there, but was madly craving a burger and fries. He's lived all over the US and burgers are like an entire food group to him; his favorites probably are Father's Office and In'N'Out here in LA.

      He finally found a little restaurant in a hotel geared toward tourists and they had a plain ol' hamburger and fries on the menu.

      He said it was "fine." Satisfied the craving, made him feel really homesick after eating noodles/meat/rice for every meal.

      It was a plain ground beef patty, white bread bun, lettuce, tomato, mayo, onions, etc. and fries. He said it was all maybe a little boring and very "clean."

      He said they also had other "American food" on the menu including spaghetti with marinara. But as far as I know, he only went back 1 or 2 other times and had another burger.

      Last I heard, he'd found another burger joint with better food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nothingswrong

        There are tons of American restaurants in Singapore! All the fast food chains, BJs, A&W, TGI Fridays, Hooters and other non burger places like Lawrys and Morton's all have branches there too. you can find a burger in every neighborhood. You can find everything food wise in Singapore.

        1. re: boogiebaby

          Good to know. I've never been.

          He's been there for a few years now, and every time he calls to chat, he's stuffing his face with a fried egg and bacon sandwich, so I'd venture to guess he's found plenty of "American" food options by now.

          I think when he first moved there, he was afraid to leave the area where he worked and lived, and from the photos he sent back then, there was little in the way of restaurants.

      2. Yes. A lot of McDonald, KFC, Starbucks, PizzaHut...etc.

        Do you mean actual restaurants operated by American companies or American style restaurants? There are tons of American style steakhouses aboard.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I know about American franchises going overseas. I am wondering about Americans operating American restaurants or non-Americans operating American-style restaurants. How does the American cuisine translate to other cultures?

          And what is American cuisine to other cultures anyway? Hamburgers?

          1. re: sueatmo

            There are many more non-American (or native) people operating American style restaurants. Most of these American style restaurants are two types. Either the common-folk Longhorn, Applebees style restaurant or the higher end steak house -- which tends to combine a bit of American with a bit of Australian.

            Oh yes. American pizza is very big too.


            Mayo topping pizza is popular.

            So basically, like steak, pork chop, pizza, burger,....etc.

        2. <what passes for American food in the ones you've visited.>

          In my travels, I have often seen "American breakfast" advertised. Maybe a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, toast, butter, and OJ are viewed as typical American fare.

          1. DD and I managed to fit in a visit to the lovely East of Everything in Melb last month. Tasty, well prepared interpretations of southern-style menu, such as corn fritters, and buttermilk-brined fried chicken. Not that I have any basis for comparison from the southern US, but the items were indeed delicious.
            Seemed sort of strange to be sipping North American ales...