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Published on Oct 22, 2013 in Europe, Featured Articles, News

European Fast Food

It probably comes as no surprise that European’s have different eating and cooking habits than Americans. Stereotypically, Americans generally have a mental picture of Europeans taking long lunches capped with a cup of espresso. They feel that meals in Europe are savored and enjoyed without the time pressure experienced by most Westerners.

That’s true to a great extent, as most Europeans tend to cook at home. That’s why a visit to a European supermarket will show only a small frozen ready-made food section in comparison to an American supermarket. In addition, Europeans also aren’t big on diet or low-fat foods. They want the gusto and, therefore, they’ll consume cheese, butter, whole milk, and other food items that generally get thrown out of most diet plans or are considered unconstitutional in California.

America leads the world in fast-food chains. Fast food appeals to our busy lifestyles. Although Europe is not known for fast food, younger Europeans have shown an increasing appetite for fast food, reflecting their busy social and professional life. Moreover, the most popular fast food chains within Europe, addressing this budding change in eating habits, are not necessarily your global leaders, such as, McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Burger King, and so on. Although those chains exist and thrive, Europeans also have their own fast food chains that satisfy local, regional, and trans-European appetites. For example:

Telepizza is your typical pizza with toppings that might appear strange to those in the US. Such toppings might include corn, tuna, or similar food items. Telepizza began in Spain, but has since spread across Europe.

Supermac’s, which began in Galway, Ireland, serves burgers, fries, cod, and regionally preferred items such as French fries drenched in curry sauce.

Nando’s is known as the home of the Portuguese flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken. This is a very popular chain in Great Britain. Customers choose between chicken and beef and having either a wrap, burger, or pita. They also choose a choice of sauces to accompany the selection.

Hesburger resembles McDonald’s in outward appearance, but there the similarity ends. Hesburger has items on their menu such as a Ruis Burger, which is a beef patty topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, two onion rings, and paprika mayo on organic rye bread. It’s Finland’s largest food chain, but has outlets in Germany.

Quick is the French version of McDonald’s and is, for all intents and purpose, a knock-off. The packaging, meal selection, and food appearance is pretty much the same.

Wimpy’s has European locations in Great Britain and Ireland. The name comes from a Popeye character, J. Wellington Wimpy, and features burgers. In fact, if you order a Bender in a Bun it’s going to be a burger-shaped hot dog served on a bun.

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Nordsee is a German fast food chain that serves fish, instead of hamburgers. There are various types of fish, such as salmon, codfish, and so on which can be fried, steamed, grilled, or baked. This seafood chain has 400 locations throughout Europe.

Max Burger is the McDonald’s of Sweden, and is also the oldest hamburger chain in Europe. They have specialty burgers, but the burger and fries are typically what we see in the US.

Chicken Cottage is a British fast food chain that offers various types of chicken and burger dishes. It’s essentially the KFC of Great Britain. Although chicken is their specialty, they do offer other dishes such as the Lamb Quarter Pounder.

American fast food chains are also adapting their menus to European tastes. McDonald’s, for example, has:

In Italy, McDonald’s McNuggets, which can be stuffed with spinach and Parmesan cheese. For desert there’s torta nonna or a torta caprese, a cheese tart and a chocolate and nut cake, respectively. Italy you can also have a McItaly (Parmigiano Reggiano Burger), a burger with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Speck dell ‘Alto Adige, and pancetta.

In Spain, you may find a gazpacho soup at your local McDonald’s along with Capricho Manchego, a Spanish style chicken warp with Manchego cheese sauce.

In Vienna, Austria McDonald’s offers Wiener Fruhstuck, a popular Viennese breakfast of coffee, pastry or bread, accompanied by jam and honey.

In France McDonald’s has Croque McDo. This consists of ham and melted emmental cheese, encased in toasted bread.

In Germany McDonald’s has the Nuremburger. This consists of Nuremburg sausages topped with crispy fried onions and a mustard sauce. You’ll also find the Big Rosti, a beef patty topped with a potato pancake, bacon, cheese, and cheese sauce. This combination is then placed on a bacon and cheese bun.

In Portugal, soup is extremely popular. McDonald’s serves a typical Portuguese soup, Caldo Verde, along with Lavendor Soup (beans, cabbage, carrot, ham, and noodles), Vegetable Soup, White Bean Soup, Spinach Cream Soup, and Carrot Soup.

In Great Britain you may find porridge with jam on the menu at the local McDonald’s.

Burger King also offers its own regional specialties. In Poland, for example, you’re able to buy a Chicken Nugget Burger. This is comprised of three chicken nuggets with lettuce, mayo, and a curry sauce between a sesame-seed bun.

In Domino’s France you can order a La Savoyarde pizza where your pie is topped with crème fraiche, mozzarella, potatoes, and Reblochon. The Kebaba pizza will have tomato sauce, mozzarella, roast poultry kebab, jalapenos, onions, light crème fraiche, and garlic. Domino’s in France also offers sandwiches, such as the L’Audacieux Sandwich, which consists of blue cheese, bacon, onions, light crème fraiche, and Gouda stuffed in a roll.

In Domino’s Netherlands you can order a Pasta Carbonara, which is penne pasta mixed with Alfredo sauce. Mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, bacon, shredded parmesan, and oregano served in a puff pastry bowl.

Fast food is gaining popularity in Europe. Therefore, when you’re in Europe, you might want to satisfy your fast food cravings at one of these fast food chains and experience Europe’s take on fast food.

Alan Refkin

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