American Fast Food vs. Other Countries: Differences

American Fast Food vs. Other Countries

It is undisputed that American fast food is the most popular worldwide. We all know and love the popular fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Burger King, so it is safe to say that hamburgers and chicken nuggets are eaten worldwide. However, each country has adapted American fast food to its local cuisine. What’s more, every country has its own type of fast food, which sometimes can be very different than American. So what are the differences between American fast food and fast food in other countries? 

American fast food is fattier than the fast food in the rest of the world. European fast food has been influenced by American but also Middle Eastern cuisine. Asian fast food consists of meat, flatbread, rice, and pastries. Latin fast food is spicy and meat but lighter than American.

As much as American fast food has influenced the rest of the world, the other counties have still managed to retain their particularities, making them unique. Since fast food is a mark of every culture, we should appreciate the different types of fast food worldwide. Therefore, in the following text, I will explain the differences between American fast food and fast food in other parts of the world. 

American Fast Food vs. European Fast Food

Here’s a cheat sheet to look at before we start with differences in detail.

American fast foodEuropean fast food
Greasy and fattyLighter
Moderately spicyMild 
Processed ingredientsFresh ingredients
CheaperModerately expensive
All about quantity Higher quality and more nutritious
Diverse but still unified Very versatile
Not as healthy as the restHealthier than American fast food
Mostly deep-friedBaked, grilled, fried, or steamed

The main difference in terms of fast food in America and Europe is in the legal regulations in Europe regarding food. Europe has much stricter legal requirements about what can be imported and sold. 

Therefore, fast food in Europe tends to be healthier and more nutritious than American fast food. Also, European fast food often contains more fresh salad compared to American. Moreover, American fast food is more about quantity and the size of the portions, while European fast food is more about the quality. 

Therefore, the meat in American fast food often contains soy to make the piece larger. The bread in American fast food is often store-bought, while European buns are often made at the restaurant selling them. 

Another difference is that American fast food is cheaper than European. Therefore, many Americans opt to have fast food instead of cooking, which is not the case in Europe. 

European fast food is less caloric than American fast food. For example, the Souvlaki contains less fat and calories than a Big Mac. Also, generally speaking, European eating habits are healthier than American. 

American fast food is often deep-fried, while European fast food is often baked or roasted. European fast food is also very diverse, depending on which part of Europe we are talking about. 

Pierogi is fast food in Eastern Europe; Börek, Döner, and Souvlaki are Balkan fast foods. The fast food in Western Europe looks a lot like American fast food, but with better quality and less fatty. 

 American Fast Food vs. Asian Fast Food

Asian fast food and Asian cuisine are much more diverse than American fast food and American cuisine in general. While we can point out a few dishes characteristic of American cuisine, and a few fast food types, we cannot say the same about Asian fast food. 

However, as diverse as it is, Asian fast food is healthier than American. The meat is predominantly beef or chicken, whereby the meat in American fast food also includes pork. Asian fast food doesn’t have as much dairy as American fast food, and the cooking method is healthier, meaning that Asian fast food is either grilled or steamed, not deep-fried. 

The amount of carbohydrates is much smaller in Asian fast food as they primarily serve the food with pita bread or flatbread, and there’s much more greenery in Asian fast food. 

There are vegetable wraps that don’t contain additional fats. While the American fast food ingredients are mostly processed, Asian fast food ingredients are mainly fresh. Therefore Asian fast food is healthier than European fast food. 

As I mentioned about European fast food, Asian food can also be divided into regions. So in Western Asia, fast food contains hummus such as falafel. Eastern Asia is influenced by Chinese cuisine, meaning that fast-food consists predominantly of rice, fried vegetables, and seafood. 

Southern Asia fast food is influenced by Indian cuisine, so it is spicy, fried, and meaty. 

American Fast Food vs. Latin Food

Latin food is eaten in Latin America and is maze and rice-based, containing a lot of spices, vegetables, and meat. 

The cooking method is frying mainly, as most of the dishes in Latin cuisine take little time to make. Latin food depicts the Latin culture just as it is, temperamental, colorful, passionate, and fiery. Therefore, Latin dishes are abundant in colors, flavors, and textures. 

The most famous Latin dishes include arepas, tacos, fajitas, chimichangas, tamales, and many more. Latin food also includes spicy and mild dips, such as salsa sauce, guacamole, pico de gallo, etc.

Latin food is healthier than American fast food because it contains many fresh ingredients. Also, even though it contains dairy, such as cheeses, to top the dish, the cheese content isn’t that high. Another difference is the carbs content; Latin food has less. 

Even though there’s lots of rice and maize involved in Latin food, the carbs contained in Latin food aren’t the same as in American fast food that comes from processed white flour. Also, what the bun is in American fast food, that’s the tortilla in Latin food. 

American Fast Food vs. Other Countries

What Country Eats the Most Fast Food

The country that eats the most fast food is the USA. [1] There are fast-food restaurants in the USA as old as 70 years. Fast food is deeply rooted in American culture and is more about lifestyle than anything else. 

Dating consists of a fast food meal followed by a fast food dessert, making the USA the leader in producing and consuming fast food. 

Why Is Fast Food More Common in the USA than in Other Countries? 

First of all, American fast food is much cheaper and available than the fast food in the other parts of the world. Also, you’ll get a bigger and juicier burger for the same price as in Europe or Asia. 

There are a lot of fast-food chain restaurants, and there’s one or more on every corner. However, the biggest reason Americans eat fast food the most is that it has been rooted in their culture for a long time. 

Fast food is what Americans serve their quests and what they have for a quick snack before going out. Fast food is how young Americans date also. 

The working hours in the USA tend to be longer than in Europe or Asia, so cooking is something they don’t have so much time for, and it is far more convenient to have your food delivered than spend time cooking. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!