February 8, 2023

When you think of the classic American lunch,  probably the first things which comes to mind are hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, fries, and a soft drink. It’s pretty hard to make those into something different, right?


The world is full of innovative styles and flavors. You’d be silly to think that even the most ordinary  meals haven’t been turned on their heads somewhere in it. Here are five examples of the most ordinary kind of American lunch items that have been taken to places you never would have dreamed.

Hot Dog. It doesn’t get much simpler than a hot dog. A sausage placed in an open bun then topped with ketchup or mustard and if you feel adventurous you might put some pickle relish, onions, or chili on top.

Puka Dog. In Hawaii you can get a Puka Dog instead of a hot dog. Instead of the sausage being in an open bun, it is cooked inside a roll with a hole it it (puka is the Hawaiian word for hole). Also called a Hula dog or Aloha dog, these delicious cousins of hot dogs combine the taste you expect with local fruit relishes, exotic Asian sauces, and spicy Hawaiian mustards.

French Fries. The American fry needs almost no introduction. A sliced potato in strips or wedges, deep fried, salted, and served with ketchup. Easy to understand and delicious to eat.

Poutine. Quebec, the Northern neighbor of the USA has a completely different take on fries (and, we might add, they are much more French). Poutine is a disturbingly ugly mess of fried potatoes covered with brown gravy and cheese curds! The word poutine means both fat and an unappetizing mess of food. Poutine would certainly turn you fat if you ate it every day, but it is delicious and found in diners, specialized poutine restaurants, and even at McDonalds!

Burgers. Americans love burgers. The concept is simple – mince meat, cook, put between two halves of a bun, top with ketchup, mustard, pickle and salad. There are variations with toppings, meat, and sauces but essentially, a burger s always a burger.

Sushi Burger. The Sushi Burger is made with raw fish, wasabi, lettuce, Japanese mayonnaise, and sauce placed between seaweed topped  rice cakes. It looks like a burger but tastes like sushi!

Pizza. Pizza while having origins in Italy is about as American as American food gets. Melted cheese, tomato sauce, and toppings cooked on a round dough then cut into pie shaped pieces.

Berber Pizza and Turkish Pide. In the Sahara desert they serve ‘Berber’ pizza. Roasted lamb, onions, and spices cooked inside a flat loaf of bread (hobz). It’s cut into the familiar pie shaped slices but tastes  nothing like any pizza you’ve ever had.  In Turkey, one of the most popular snack foods is pide. It is a pizza stretched out to as much as two meters and topped with onions, lamb, and spices. It looks like pizza but the shape is all wrong.

Soft drinks. An American lunch tends to include a soft drink. There are many variations but they tend to fall into the following categories. Cola, lemon-lime, orange, or root beer.

Salty Watermelon Pepsi and Lemon Pepper Tang. Not all people have the same desire for incredibly sugary drinks. In Asia you can find regional variations of soft drinks that sound terrible to North Americans but are much loved by the locals. Pepsi mixes some odd flavors in their Japanese cola. Salty watermelon and cucumber are just two. In Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the locals like to sip Lemon-Pepper Tang!

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