10 American Foods Non-Americans Are Weirded Out By & 10 They Absolutely Love

10 American Foods Non-Americans Are Weirded Out By & 10 They Absolutely Love

When it comes to American food, there are definitely some massive hits and some more questionable additions. Fried Oreos? Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows? Those probably aren't the American foods we'd introduce to someone visiting the country. But if you really want to wow them, there are plenty of great recommendations we'd like to give you. Here are 10 American foods that non-Americans are totally weirded out by, and 10 American foods that they all love and would travel for.

1. Twinkies

Twinkies are probably the most iconic American snack out there; while many Americans have fond memories and sweet nostalgia attached to these treats, we can't say the same for others out there. Non-Americans generally express surprise and confusion when it comes to Twinkies - not only are they too sweet, but they don't understand the hype or the exceptionally long shelf life. The amount of preservatives doesn't exactly scream "Try Me!" to them.

Twinkies (4577789974) (1)Christian Cable from Canterbury, United Kingdom on Wikimedia Commons

2. Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

While sweet and salty is a food combo applied across the globe in numerous different cuisines, this one...it's definitely a bizarre one. This dish, often served during American Thanksgiving, combines sweet potatoes with a topping of toasted marshmallows. Not only are non-Americans confused by the idea of mixing vegetables with something as sweet as marshmallows, but they just can't wrap their heads around why something that seems like a dessert, is actually served as a side.

David-Trinks-Rbbgoxelp0C-UnsplashPhoto by David Trinks on Unsplash

3. Root Beer

What do you mean root beer doesn't have any beer in it? This beloved sweet carbonated drink isn't as loved by others around the world. Many foreigners find its taste strange and rather medicinal, with a lot of them comparing it to cough syrup. See, if you describe something like that, it's easy for it to sound offputting.

Perry-Merrity-Ii-7Htqxu23O7O-UnsplashPhoto by Perry Merrity II on Unsplash

4. Corn Dogs

Corn dogs are a baffling snack to many non-Americans all around the world. These hot dogs are coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter and deep-fried until the exterior is nice and crispy. It's a popular American fair food that the rest of the world doesn't seem to understand. Many have stated they find the combination of flavours and textures to be unusual.

Blake-Guidry-2Kgcckeef2G-UnsplashPhoto by Blake Guidry on Unsplash


5. Biscuits and Gravy

This classic Southern breakfast dish is a spectacular one - it's so comforting and warm to eat! Soft dough biscuits are smothered in a creamy, white, sausage gravy, which sounds pretty delicious, but for the rest of the world, it's a bit confusing. For one, many countries consider "biscuits" to be "cookies", which when explained like that, makes sense as to why there's so much confusion. On the other hand, its simply an unfamiliar combination most people haven't tried, and they need to taste it to understand.

1024Px-Biscuits And Sausage Gravy (6340833792) (1)jeffreyw on Wikimedia Commons

6. Deep-Fried Butter

Okay, deep-fried butter is an incredibly American dish that you shouldn't be surprised to learn is a bit of a shock for foreigners. Originating from state fairs, deep-fried butter involves freezing butter, coating it in batter, and then deep-frying it till crispy and golden. Most non-Americans are completely baffled and appalled by the indulgence and unhealthiness of this dish, confused as to how it came to be to begin with.

1024Px-Deep-Fried Butter At State Fair Of Texas 2009ACollin Harvey from Grand Prairie, Texas, USA on Wikimedia Commons

7. Jell-O Salad

Jell-O salad is admittedly a dish that confuses us too. Often a mix of flavoured gelatin and various ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and sometimes even cottage cheese, it's definitely a unique dish that only America's got. Many people from other countries find this idea of savory ingredients suspended in sweet gelatin to be beyond peculiar and downright unappetizing.

Congealed Salad CranberryShadle on Wikimedia Commons

8. Cheese Whiz

Cheese Whiz is a processed cheese spread that's popular in the U.S., but don't expect the same reception when shared with non-Americans. Many find the idea of "sprayable" cheese, both in concept and taste, to be very weird and artificial. These thoughts just leave a bad impression on the minds of those who didn't grow up with it.

2021-08-12 17 18 17 A Jar Of Kraft Cheez Whiz In The Franklin Farm Section Of Oak Hill, Fairfax County, VirginiaFamartin on Wikimedia Commons

9. Chicken and Waffles

Pairing crispy fried chicken and fluffy waffles, often drizzled with syrup or butter, is a truly delicious combo that only made sense once you actually tasted it. So for foreigners who don't have this option in their home country, the thought of combining a traditional breakfast item with savory meat is an unconventional one. This one of those "don't knock it till you try it" kinds of foods!

Miguel-Dominguez-95Ybr Wdsmm-UnsplashPhoto by Miguel Dominguez on Unsplash

10. Deep Fried Oreos

Deep Fried Oreos are a quintessential American fair food, created by coating Oreo cookies in a sweet batter and deep-frying them until golden. The concept of deep-frying an already sweet snack like an Oreo is often bewildering to non-Americans, who typically view it as an epitome of excess in American culinary culture. They just can't help but ask, "Why?"

Deep Fried OreoCla1402group4 on Wikimedia Commons


1. New York Style Pizza

When you think of America, one of the foods that instantly comes to mind is probably pizza. But for tourists, it's not just pizza, it's New York-style pizza. New York-style pizza is famous worldwide, known for its thin, hand-tossed crust and variety of toppings. Non-Americans love traveling to New York just to try a slice! After all, the amount of Tik Toks and Reels we see online revolving around these deliciously large, foldable slices would draw anyone in.

Diego-Marin-Pedmdpvvuik-UnsplashPhoto by Diego Marín on Unsplash

2. Texas Barbecue

You simply can't go to America without trying Texas barbecue; and if you're a meat lover, it should be your number one stop! For many visitors, the slow-cooked brisket is an absolute must-try. This style of barbecue, with its unique blend of spices and smoking techniques, is an American special, offering a flavour you can't find anywhere else.

Luis-Santoyo-Dgr5S1Xhqa0-UnsplashPhoto by Luis Santoyo on Unsplash

3. Maine Lobster Roll

The Maine lobster roll, a sandwich bursting with fresh lobster meat soaked in butter or mayonnaise, is a culinary treat tourists flock to Maine for. Just one look at it and you just get the urge to try it! Non-Americans love visiting Maine to get a taste of this luxurious yet simple seafood dish. 

Alexander-Grey-Myansb4 8Cc-UnsplashPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

4. Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Distinct from your classic, regular hot dog, the Chicago-style hot dog is another regional favourite that tourists love talking about. It's typically topped with yellow mustard, green relish, chopped onions, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, a dill pickle spear, and a dash of celery salt, (whew, that was a mouthful!) all nestled in a poppy seed bun. It's so different from what you'd expect, it makes sense why non-Americans feel a need to try it.

Chicago-Style Hot Dog 2arnold inuyaki / Arnold Gatilao on Wikimedia Commons

5. San Francisco Sourdough Bread

San Francisco is known for its delicious sourdough bread, a result of the unique yeast cultures found within the area. Non-Americans often visit just to get a taste of this tangy, crusty bread, enjoying the product that has followed centures-old baking traditions.

1024Px-Bread In BoudinEdward Z. Yang on Wikimedia Commons

6. Key Lime Pie

Originating from the Florida Keys, Key lime pie is a must-try American dessert, famous for its tart and creamy lime filling and graham cracker crust. Visitors to Florida often seek out this refreshing, sweet-yet-tart pie, which is a staple of Southern coastal cuisine.

Nathan-Lemon-Jkcoi3W2Uko-UnsplashPhoto by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash


7. Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly cheesesteak is an iconic sandwich from Philadelphia, consisting of thinly sliced beefsteak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll. It’s a sought-after food experience for tourists, who often debate between trying it with Cheez Whiz, provolone, or American cheese. Just how close to the original do you want it to be?

Cheesesteak (19386149993) (1)jeffreyw on Wikimedia Commons

8. Clam Chowder in New England

New England clam chowder, known for its creamy consistency and use of fresh clams, potatoes, and onions, is a classic American dish. Visitors to the Northeastern United States often seek out this hearty, comforting soup, particularly in Boston and coastal New England towns where it's more commonly found. Especially for non-Americans who don't get to enjoy seafood as much, they'll definitely fall in love with this dish.

Kevin-Lanceplaine-Wxxcfdhfelc-UnsplashPhoto by Kevin Lanceplaine on Unsplash

9. Cajun and Creole Cuisine in New Orleans

New Orleans is often noted as America's number one state for the best food. And it's not hard to see why! Famous for its Cajun and Creole cuisines, including dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and étouffée, tourists often travel to this vibrant city specifically to experience its unique culinary culture, which reflects a blend of French, African, Spanish, and Native American influences. The comforting and warm soul food that's cooked here will easily become a favourite for any foodie that visits.

Shrimp Gumbojons2 at pdphoto.org on Wikimedia Commons

10. Southern Fried Chicken

Southern fried chicken, known for its crispy, seasoned coating and juicy meat, is a staple in American Southern cuisine. While fried chicken is a popular dish found in many places around the world, Southern fried chicken definitely stands out as a must-try. This dish draws food enthusiasts to states like Georgia and Kentucky, where the tradition of frying chicken is elevated to an art form.

Food-3271156 1280Image by christian rosero from Pixabay