17 American Foods That the Rest of The World Just Can’t Stomach

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By Jonathan Trent

The United States may be a hotbed for culinary wonder, with dozens of famous dishes from every state, but there are plenty of dishes that the rest of the world has failed to embrace. For example, here are 17 American staples yet to leave the States!


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As The Guardian comments, American chocolate, bizarrely, tastes like vomit to non-US citizens. That’s because American chocolate makers such as Hershey’s use dried, long-life milk rather than fresh milk like the rest of the world. This dried milk contains butyric acid, which is also found in vomit, hence the rather off-putting taste.

Biscuits and Gravy

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Many other countries interpret the word ‘biscuits’ in the same way Americans would interpret the word ‘cookies,’ so there’s very little confusion as to why biscuits and gravy haven’t taken off abroad. The dish also lacks the aesthetic properties to make it appealing enough to export to other nations. They’re missing out!

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Pie

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To anyone who a loving grandparent hasn’t served this monstrosity of a dish on Thanksgiving night, the concept of sweet potato and marshmallow pie is tough to stomach. To a foreigner, the dish seems just as crazy as putting Sour Patch Kids on top of collard greens!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

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One of the major reasons why peanut butter and jelly sandwiches haven’t taken off elsewhere in the world may be a mix-up in communication. For most European countries, ‘jelly’ is the term used for ‘jello,’ which, as most would agree, is unlikely to work in a sandwich.

Jell-O Salad

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To be fair, there will be plenty of young Americans who wouldn’t go near a Jell-O salad, let alone the rest of the world. However, it’s actually quite popular among older generations, although, as CNN rightly reports, mixing Jell-O with vegetables and calling it a salad has declined since the ‘60s.

Sloppy Joe

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In other nations around the world, the filling of a Sloppy Joe would belong on top of pasta or rice, not in between two halves of a bun! The concept of the Sloppy Joe is just too messy and too soggy for a non-American to fathom. More for us!


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America’s food standards laws are considerably more relaxed than in most other parts of the world, including many European countries. Twinkies are packed with ingredients banned across Europe, so they are not allowed to be sold on the shelves in Austria, Finland, and Norway. Yikes.


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Grits may be a southern staple, but they are unlikely to become commonplace on breakfast menus across the world. In addition to offering little in terms of taste, grits aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, lacking color and texture compared to many global breakfast foods.


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Much like Twinkies, Pop-Tarts contain a plethora of ingredients that have made them impossible to stock on European shelves. There’s also the added issue that parents in other countries would never even consider giving their child anything so sugar for breakfast, for understandable reasons.


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A highly effective marketing campaign and impressive awareness of its demographic has turned Kool-Aid into one of the most famous drinks in the States, with YouGov suggesting that 98% of Americans are aware of the brand! However, the sugar-filled beverage hasn’t really made it to Europe, where it’s only available in American-themed stores.

Chicken Fried Steak

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Chicken-fried steak is a far cry from Steak au Poivre, with battering and deep-frying a piece of steak likely to get you arrested in Paris. It’s an unusual, and some would say unappetizing, way to cook a steak, hence why the dish hasn’t taken off outside the US.

Canned Cheese

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Cheese is one of the most beloved food items worldwide, with France, the UK, Switzerland, and Italy taking it incredibly seriously. That’s why canned cheese, which can barely be classed as cheese, is unlikely to ever be regarded as anything other than a sacrilege outside of the US.

Corn Dogs

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The public perception of hot dogs isn’t always positive in other nations, as they contain preservatives and processed ingredients. Deep frying them, putting them on a stick, and calling them a ‘corn dog’ makes them all the more sickening for people across the world. It’s undeniably rather strange!

Chicken and Waffles

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Mixing the savory flavors of fried chicken with the sweetness of waffles is just too much for a non-American mind to comprehend. Most non-Americans wouldn’t be adverse to eating either waffles or fried chicken; they’d just never eat them together. They don’t know what they’re missing!


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Meatloaf, as Americans know it, is not commonly consumed outside of the States due to its dryness and lack of seasoning. Other nations have their own variations of the dish, usually adding different meats, herbs, and spices, but our plain Jane meatloaf has simply never appealed to other continents!

Root Beer

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Root beer, defined by Britannica as a sweet, non-alcoholic carbonated beverage commonly flavored with extracts of roots and herbs, is rarely found outside the US. Unfortunately, root beer flavoring is often used in cough syrups and medicines in many countries, which is turning people off the drink for obvious reasons.

Boxed Mac & Cheese

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Finally, there’s processed food, and then there’s Kraft Mac & Cheese; it stands alone as the poster boy for processed food, designed to show off how low food standards have truly fallen. If it weren’t so commonplace, you’d be well within your rights to assume it was some sort of social media marketing prank. Italians would blush with horror!