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Fast-Food Restaurants We Wish Were in the U.S.

06/30/2014 11:51 am ET | Updated Aug 30, 2014
wiki/Sir-James

One of America's most influential -- and sometimes controversial -- exports is fast food. America's contemporary fast-food industry was born on Sept. 13, 1921 in Wichita, Kan., when Walter A. Anderson teamed up with Edgar Waldo "Billy" Ingram to open the first White Castle. In the next 15 years, White Castle would open seven more locations, expanding to other mid-Western markets. The McDonald brothers came onto the scene nearly twenty years later, followed by Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King (then Insta-Burger King) in the '50s and Wendy's in the '60s. The fast-food fad accelerated from there, making way for our new national pastime: instant fried gratification.

Many of those first American fast-food institutions have gained major traction overseas; today there are more than 23,000 McDonald's locations outside the U.S. (around 9,000 more than on its home turf) and KFC's international locations outnumber those in America nine to one. While some overseas restaurants seek to emulate major American institutions, however, others have created their own regional versions of fast food.

From Nigeria, where Mr. Bigg's has more than 170 locations serving traditional cuisine such as meat pies, Nigeria staples moin moin (steamed bean pudding) and jollof rice (rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, and red pepper) to India where Jumbo King has served 100 million vada pav (an Indian snack of a spicy deep-fried potato patty sandwiched between a bread roll) to date, diners can likely find fast-food chains almost anywhere in the world these days. Read on for some of the best foreign fast-food franchises that'll have you running for your passport.

  • Supermac’s (Ireland)
  • Founded by school teacher Pat McDonagh in Galway, Ireland, in 1978, Supermac’s has more than 100 locations in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The company claims to have pioneered curry chips and the snack box craze in Ireland. Supermac’s menu has burgers, chicken sandwiches, cod and chips, and eight different varieties of French fries, including coleslaw, taco, curry, and cheese fries. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Eddie Virago Click Here to see More of the Fast-Food Restaurants We Wish Were in the U.S.
  • Telepizza (Spain)
  • Like the name implies, this fast-food chain delivers pizza and more (like burgers, sandwiches, and pasta) via phone and internet orders. Founded in Madrid in 1987, Telepizza has since expanded to 1,200 pizza shops in Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Poland, Portugal, and United Arab Emirates. The oven-baked pizzas are made-to-order and include some seldom-seen flavors Stateside like Pizza Steak House, Pizza Bacon Cheeseburger, Pizza Barbacoa, Pizza Hot Dog, and Pizza Barbacoa Crème Queso. Photo Credit: © Flickr / randomix
  • Teremok (Russia)
  • The Teremok chain was founded in 1998 and has grown to be one of the biggest fast-food franchises in Russia, with more than 200 restaurants. You’ll find typical Russian fast food here, such as borscht, dumplings, and minced meats. The most popular items are its blinis (thin pancake-like crêpes served with either sweet or savory filings). Photo Credit: © Flickr / queenkv Click Here to see More of the Fast-Food Restaurants We Wish Were in the U.S.
  • Wienerwald (Germany)
  • Waiter Friedrich Jahn founded Wienerwald, a roast chicken restaurant that, when it first opened in Munich in 1955, only served chicken noodle soup. Weinerwald soon made roast chicken, once reserved for special celebrations only, an inexpensive option for Germans who eagerly stopped by the restaurant for the homemade spit-roast chicken. Today, the options have expanded to grilled, barbecue, red pepper, garlic, and herb chicken. For those who can’t decide, try the Chicken Box Special, which includes the classic roast chicken, garlic chicken, barbecue, and red pepper varieties. Sides include French fries, potato salad, and coleslaw. Save room for the Viennese apple strudel and Viennese Kaiserschmarrn (a thick pancake fried in fresh butter, complemented with sweet raisins, and dusted with icing sugar). Photo Credit: wiki/Sir-James
  • Wimpy (U.K.)
  • If you have been to England, no doubt you have seen the red and white sign with the word "WIMPY" sandwiched between two slices of bread (or in one of 23 other countries which Wimpy now calls home). There is nothing wimpy about the burgers here, which are served with lettuce, tomato, onions, and ketchup on a white bun. The Wimpy chain, which opened in 1954 at Lyon’s Corner House in Coventry Street, London, claims to be the first to have served a vegetarian burger, the Spicy Beanburger, but it also serves fish and chips, "toasties," and Tea-Time treats, which include toasted tea cake with butter and carrot cake. New offerings include open-face hamburgers and a range of hot chocolates. Click Here to see More of the Fast-Food Restaurants We Wish Were in the U.S. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Martin Deutsch

- Lauren Mack, The Daily Meal

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