14 Foods Americans Love That Are Weird to People Outside the U.S.

american man eating a corndog while foreigners look at him disgusted

Cheapism / DALLE-E 3

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
american man eating a corndog while foreigners look at him disgusted
Cheapism / DALLE-E 3

Strictly American Eats

If you could dream up an All-American menu, what sorts of things would be on it? A fresh corn dog with a large glass of lemonade (with plenty of ice) and a s'more for dessert to finish it all off sounds heavenly, doesn't it? Guess what? If someone from another country just read that description, they'd gasp in horror. Other countries aren't forthcoming with ice in drinks, go easy on the sugar, and feel that Americans deep-fry way too many dishes. Here are some of the most prominent foods we love in the U.S. that people from other countries find completely abnormal. 

Homemade Crustless Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

1. Peanut Butter

In a country where peanut butter and jelly is such a staple flavor combo that the phrase "We go together like peanut butter and jelly" makes sense to every American, the idea that someone without a peanut allergy would be baffled by PB is entirely lost. Still, many foreign countries don't get the hype of peanut butter and find American versions to be (like the bulk of the items on this list) too sweet. In some countries, the aloofness surrounding peanut butter is caused by a lack of peanuts in the region. Others put their own spin on the product, which incidentally tastes much different than the Skippy we're used to spreading.

Two corn dogs with mustard isolated on white background

2. Corn Dogs

If you're an American and you've been to a county fair, local festival, or even the freezer aisle at your favorite grocery store, you probably look at corn dogs without a raised brow. Many of us even look at them with drool seeping out of our mouths. Foreigners on the other hand? Not so much. Generally speaking, folks from other countries are flabbergasted at the amount of deep-fried foods we consume in the U.S., and corn dogs seem to be at the top of that list. As one Redditor adorably described, "Those coated hot dogs on sticks. I've seen them in movies, they look really weird." Our favorite reply on that thread? "Corn dogs are a work of god meant to give faith to the masses."

Biscuits and Creamy Sausage Gravy

3. Biscuits & Gravy

America is shook. This stuff is the beacon of breakfast in the U.S. How could anyone abroad give biscuits and gravy the side-eye? Unpacking this with the biscuits first, we get that biscuits to Brits are something entirely different than a flaky buttermilk version. But apparently there's some international discontent over the creaminess of sausage gravy as we know and love it, which makes this morningtime favorite unappealing to foreigners. 

Refreshing Root Beer Float

4. Root Beer

In the U.S., any root beer debates are typically sparked by which brand is the best to slug down on a hot summer night or which one goes best with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a root beer float. Overseas, root beer in and of itself is considered disgusting and has a reputation for tasting like cough medicine. 

Want more stories like this in your inbox? Sign up for our free newsletters

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Marshmallows

5. Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

If you hosted folks around the globe at your Thanksgiving dinner table, you might be met with some pretty concerning facial expressions as you set the sweet potato casserole — adorned with toasted mini marshmallows — on the table. International individuals simply do not understand Americans' sugar-centric recipes, and sweet potato casserole is overkill if you ask them. 

Easy Cheese

6. Easy Cheese

We'll admit it: Aeresol "cheese" gives off some really weird vibes. Still, it's relatively normal to ooze some of this stuff on crackers in the states, and absolutely outlandish if you're anywhere else in the world. As one Redditor so eloquently suggests, "Never trust yellow goo that calls itself cheese but clearly isn't." 

Related: 10 Healthy Crackers To Buy, According to a Nutritionist

Chicken Fried Steak Burger

7. Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken fried (or country fried) steak is deep-fried in a crispy coating and topped with a seasoned, creamy gravy. This southern staple spread its reach across the states, often appearing on hole-in-the-wall diner menus. It is inherently American. It's also exclusively American because foreigners want nothing to do with this dish. Maybe they're just confused by the name. 

fruit salad from pineapple, oranges, grapes and coconut with marshmallow and vanilla yogurt close-up. horizontal

8. Ambrosia & Jell-O Salads

If nostalgia was a dish in the U.S., it would be ambrosia salads and Jell-O salads. Takes us right back to Grandma's kitchen every time we make or eat it. Those overseas would have their stomachs tugged instead of their heartstrings upon being served a scoop of ambrosia, though. 

Related: 22 Things You Didn't Know About Jell-O

Homemade Southern Chicken and Waffles

9. Chicken & Waffles

Originally from Pennsylvania Dutch country, chicken and waffles is a beloved brunch around these parts. Travel across the pond, however, and you will find no such thing served for breakfast. People will think you're making things up if you dare speak of the stuff. 

Related: The Best Fried Chicken and Waffles Across America


10. Hershey's Chocolate

Here in the U.S., Hershey's is the most colossal chocolate brand around. Eurpoeans, however, taste something mildly offputting when they bite into a Hershey bar ... vomit. You read that right. The stuff we're slapping on s'mores has a certain tang to international tongues that makes it taste like barf. The more you know.

Large group of junk food
Velveeta Cheese

12. Kraft Singles & Velveeta

Don't get it twisted, abroad readers. Here in America, we do have good, real cheese. Look Wisconsin up. Still, most of us grew up unwrapping a Kraft Single to slap on our sandwiches, and that somehow solid yet still jiggly block of Velveeta is the base of way too many recipes here in the States. Don't crucify the country for Kraft. We know it's processed. We know these products will not catapult us to the pinnacle of health. But they remain commonplace, and even nostalgic.

Classic Lemonade

13. Lemonade

Did you know that the definition of lemonade is different in other countries than that Country Time or Minute Maid we've loved since childhood? Order it at a pub in the UK and you'll get a Sprite. In fact, in many countries, lemonade is actually just a lemon-flavored carbonated beverage, different from the stuff we sip here. 

ranch dressing
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

14. Ranch Dressing

Ranch is one of the most popular condiments in the U.S. For some, it might even be what represents the "white" of the red, white, and blue. It's a universal dipping sauce. Except it's not actually universal, because other countries don't serve the stuff and many find it pretty weird to boot. Of course, there are plenty of international eaters who have turned to the ranch side upon a visit to the U.S. of A. 

Up next: The True Origins of 18 Classic 'American' Foods