30 ‘American’ Foods That Are Nasty According To Non-Americans Interview With Author
When it comes to food, it seems like pretty much everyone has a strong opinion. It’s difficult not to be picky about what goes in your mouth and stomach. And when it comes to other countries' cuisines and the quality of ingredients, you’ll find that many folks are incredibly vocal about their likes and dislikes. Mainly the latter.
Redditor u/ergoegthatis asked non-Americans to share what American foods, in their opinion, are the ‘nastiest.’ We’ve collected some of their posts to show you the range of opinions others have about US food. Scroll down and be sure to voice your own thoughts in the comments, Pandas. What American food do you love the most? What do you absolutely hate? There are a lot of options to choose from.
Oh, and just to be completely open and honest with you, Pandas: we absolutely looove having a cheeky American meal… from time to time. Pretty much every country has its culinary stars and kitchen disasters—and a lot depends on personal taste and the lifestyle you enjoy leading. So take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt. Usually, the issue isn’t with the food item or dish itself, so much as the low quality of the ingredients, the portion size, and whether you gobble everything up or eat slowly. Enjoying. Every. Single. Bite.
Bored Panda reached out to redditor u/ergoegthatis, and we had a friendly chat about the wide range of American food, what dishes they did and didn't enjoy at home and abroad, and why they definitely recommend traveling and broadening one's horizons.
"I was traveling outside the US and tried the cheeses there and they were a world of difference from the cheese-like substitutes we have in the US, which look and taste disgusting now compared to authentic cheeses. I look at them and think, 'Am I the only one grossed out by these fake cheeses?' A few days later, I came across an old news story about a famous donut company that turned its signature glazed donut into a drink, which also sounds nasty and not just because of how horribly unhealthy it is," they explained what drove them to create the thread in the first place. (We have to agree, cheese elsewhere is far better!)
Remember: everything in moderation; even food critiques!
In redditor u/ergoegthatis' experience, American cuisine is "radically different" from what they've seen around the world.
"The emphasis in American food is on taste and speed. This doesn't mean all of American food is like this," they pointed out.
"The US is huge with a lot of different foods such as jambalaya, chili, gumbo, Kentucky burgoo, shrimp and grits, Brunswick stew, and many other dishes with history. But there is definitely a characteristic that has been influencing a lot of American food which is speed and taste," the author of the thread shared with us.
"This also affected how we eat: quickly, in massive portions. In other countries I traveled to, I noticed many eat slowly and enjoy the food while making conversation. They also have much healthier food, more plant ingredients, and less sugar/flour/additives."
Those Midwestern "fruit salads" where half of the ingredients is marshmallow fluff or mini marshmallows, Jello, whipped cream... I have a high tolerance for American food, but I cannot handle these, or even comprehend why and how they exist.
However, it's not like everything is automatically delicious abroad. "Dishes I didn't like abroad were some super pungent cheeses in Europe, sheep tripe in the Middle East, and excessive use of coconut in Asian countries," they opened up to Bored Panda. "I'm used to this being part of desserts but there it's added to even savory dishes."
The redditor has a lot of favorite American dishes, too, and it's going to be very relatable to most of you Pandas. "My mom's cooking of course! Nothing greater in the whole world. Brown rice and seasoned chicken/lamb is her specialty. Other American dishes I love are Philly cheesesteak (with real cheese only), grits with butter, and Texas barbecue." There's absolutely nothing like a homemade meal, prepared with love.
"I'd like to add some advice to everyone, especially Americans: travel! Get a passport and travel. There's a whole world out there of culture, art, history, relaxation, and of course, food. The US is large and diverse but that is not enough. If you don't travel to many other countries, you have not lived," the OP urged.
Those cakes that have large amounts of fondant on them. The time and talent it would take to make one of these cakes is unreal but fondant is just nasty tasting in my opinion. That was not meant to offend anyone.
The prevalence of high fructose corn syrup in EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, being in Canada, it's bleeding over the border as a lot of products here are manufactured in the USA.
American bread. I'm sure you can get good bread somewhere in the US, but the generally available, sugary, long-shelf-life bread is so appalling.
Now, of course, your export of fast-food restaurants has nothing to do with haute cuisine, but any burger would be so much better if at least you used acceptable bread.
Be honest, Pandas, are we the only ones craving artisanal cheeses with a side of junk food? It’s perfectly fine to have a cheat meal once in a while. But if your entire diet consists of sugary snacks, meals dripping with saturated fat, with no fiber to be seen anywhere, you’re probably wrecking your health.
Unfortunately, the cold hard truth is that the people living in the United States have pretty awful dietary habits. Far from everyone; but most. The CDC found that 73.6% of all American adults over the age of 20 were either overweight or obese. Meanwhile, 41.9% of adults are considered to be obese. Nobody deserves to be body-shamed. However, obesity shouldn’t be celebrated, considering the health risks it poses.
Obesity leads to a far lower-quality life and increases one’s health risks. It can lead to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, clinical depression, and others.
Though there are various other factors to consider when it comes to health and obesity (e.g. genetics, eating disorders), the general tendency is that Americans eat poorly, live more sedentary lives, and simply don’t exercise enough. However, this health crisis isn’t a purely American one. For example, the NHS reports that in the UK, two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.
Some of the savoury Jello recipes from the 50s and 60s look grim.
That Thanksgiving dish Americans love with marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes — it sounds and looks disgusting.
In the US, the FDA has a reactive approach to food standards inspections. What this means is that food additives are allowed, unless they’re proven to be harmful. Meanwhile, in Europe, the exact opposite happens: regulations are stricter. Additives must be proven to be unharmful before they’re allowed to be used in food items.
According to Politico, the FDA is pretty much a hot mess. “Food is not a high priority at the Food and Drug Administration. [...] Over the years, the food side of FDA has been so ignored and grown so dysfunctional that even former FDA commissioners readily acknowledged problems. There’s a long running joke among officials: The ‘F’ in FDA is silent,” writes Helena Bottemiller Evich.
Overall, this means that food grown and manufactured in the US is more likely to have growth hormones and chemical preservatives in them. This isn’t good news for someone who wants to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle! Compare the food that the US is known for with that from, say, Italy, Spain, or Japan. The cultural difference, when it comes to the culinary arts, is massive: quality local ingredients and smaller portion sizes (among other important factors!) result in a higher quality of life. And the life expectancy speaks for itself.
In the US, the average life expectancy is 74.5 years. Compare that to 81.6 years in Japan, 80.1 years in Italy, and 79.7 years in Spain. The difference is staggering. However much we might like that fake orange cheese, it really isn’t good for us.
I once had a pizza in America and it had ranch dressing on it. Ranch dressing doesn't really exist in Europe and it's this weird salty fatty mayo-like sauce and it certainly does not belong on a pizza. Or inside a human body for that matter.
Boiled peanuts. My wife loves them and every time we drove through South Carolina we had to stop and buy them. The stench was so bad I would have to roll the windows down. Those peanuts and Lindsey Graham are on my top two hate list for that state.
Chinese Canadian. I'm going to provoke a lot of proud Southerners with this. Sweet tea is sugar water with a hint of tea.
My first experience of sweet tea was at a Floridian McDonald's. I ordered iced tea and I got the question of "sweet or unsweet?" I'm dying of the heat and humidity (Canadians don't do well in hot weather) and I wanted slightly sweetened tea and I didn't know the history of sweet tea (sugar was expensive so people showed off by mixing diabetes inducing amounts of the stuff into their tea) so I was expecting anything but a sugar syrup in a cup.
I went back and bought a bottle of water. If a 12 year old with no easy access to sugar thinks it's too sweet to drink, it is.
Also, any mayo based salad! Ewww.
I had a deep-fried Mars bar at a festival in America the first time I ever visited and I'm reasonably sure it's going to give a few of my ancestors diabetes
Twizzlers, I found some in a shop in London and decided to buy some, they were the nastiest things I'd ever tasted and for the price I paid for them, I'm disappointed
When they introduce me chicago pizza something in me died, that should not be called pizza is just a devil fat pie.
Their dessert. I lived there for 3 years and the amount of sugar they dump into their desserts are mindblowing. Beautiful to look at but holy s**t were they sweet as hell.
The felt obsession with anything deep-fried is unnerving to me. There's a good few things that are excellent deep-fried, don't get me wrong, but putting literally anything in batter and frying it seems... self-destructive at best.
I tried a big-name American chocolate brand once but couldn’t eat it due to the vomit smell and taste.
I find biscuits and gravy to be absolutely disgusting. But I'd like to counter-balance that by adding how crazy delicious corn bread is and why on earth hasn't it become a staple here in Europe? It's SO yummy!
I hate scrapple. There's a reason the word 'crap' is in the middle of it.
American here, absolutely DESPISE pre-packaged frosting. It’s either as hard as a rock or a liquid. Don’t know what they put in that stuff but it’s just awful.
Ghirardelli, Guittard, Dove, Scharffen Berger, and hundreds of smaller companies are fine. Pretty much just avoid anything you would find near the register at a grocery store