US food abroad

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NYNM
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2007/07/19 16:57:06 (permalink)

US food abroad

Has anyone ever eaten in an "American" restaurant in another country? What did they serve as "American?" (or regional American?)

(USChains NOT welcome, here)

(I just posted on "Where to eat" about the NY Diner in Heidelberg Germany that sold burgers)
#1

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    Davydd
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/19 18:20:53 (permalink)
    It never occurred to me to look for American food in a foreign country nor would I want to. The closest I suppose was in Cochabamba, Bolivia where we ate breakfast at a Dombo's. They had an Americano breakfast and of course tried to serve Americano coffee. Down the street from our hotel was a Burger King. We did not bother to check it out. Too many other choices of native food to try.

    Then in Cusco, Peru we did venture into O'Grady's Irish Pub. Not an Irishman in sight. Just about everything on the menu was a deep fried Monte Cristo kind of sandwich. They didn't have Guinness either.
    #2
    lleechef
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/19 20:10:09 (permalink)
    Having lived in Europe for 7 years, why the heck would I look for "American"?? In France, I was all about French food, in Italy the same, in Belgium they always say, "reste avec nous on va faire des frites!!" Which means, stay with us! We're going to make "frites"!! (French Fries)

    In Spain I met an American lady that was very upset because when she ordered a "Margarita" she kept getting a pizza! She couldn't wait to get on the plane back to the US and have a Bud Lite.
    #3
    BillC
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/19 20:22:34 (permalink)
    Like the above, it's never occurred to us to search out American restaurants abroad. One place that does come to mind is Haynes in Paris. It was famous for years for serving pretty authentic soul food, but we never went. I'm not sure if it's still open.
    #4
    Greymo
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/19 21:33:27 (permalink)
    We traveled around Europe with a French family for a whole summer and stayed at their home for two weeks. The last night of our visit, we told them to pick any place in Paris that they would love to go to and guess where we ended up?...................a Hilton hotel restaurant eating steaks and corn on the cob. We could not believe it!
    #5
    lleechef
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/19 21:49:59 (permalink)
    Oh Greymo! That is just SAD! You should have gone to Chez Roger a la Grenouille or Apicious or several other great restaurants in Paris!
    #6
    GordonW
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/19 22:21:53 (permalink)
    Seems like every major city around the world has a "Rick's Cafe" or a "Rick's Cafe Americain" that tries to do American food. Not always successfully.

    American food doesn't always translate well, just as French or Italian or Chinese food in the US isn't the same as what would be found in the country of origin. Even "generics" like sandwiches and hot dogs and fries usually end up with an element of local flavor. As suggested, American international chain hotel usually end up doing the best American food.

    #7
    rongmtek
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/20 09:41:00 (permalink)
    I exhibited at a trade fair in Paris; between setup, the fair itself & breakdown, we were there for over two weeks.
    I thoroughly enjoyed every meal, sticking to the little brasseries and boites in our hotel's neighborhood, for the most part. Rabbit, snails, exquisite bistro food of every kind. I ate enough foie gras to stuff a goose.
    But my production manager was unhappy; he could not have his daily tuna on white for lunch, and even asked me if "they have anything besides French bread".
    Out of pity, I found an "American-style" restaurant, and took him to breakfast there. He happily ate his pancakes, but did not like the sausage. They were some of the best saucisses Ive ever tasted, but not like his JONES frozen breakfast links. Chacun a son gout, eh? (Each to his own taste.)
    #8
    Farfromhome
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/20 10:10:13 (permalink)
    Years ago my family and I visited Mexico City for a week and we hired a private tour guide who was a professor at the university. He would pick us up at nine in the morning, and drive us around all day and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. However, when it came time to eat he would take us to restaurants in the area that just so happened to be owned by family members, and the food was less than good. I think it was a two fold problem, I went to Mexico City trying to get tex-mex which was idiotic on my part but even the local favorites that my husband and brothers and sisters were ordering weren't that great.

    So we started asking for americanized food after a few days (we were really hungry) and he took us to this one place that was similar to a Kipps/Bob's big boy, it even had the statue out front. It was mostly american style food with a few mexican touches thrown in.

    In hindsight, it was worth it for the bad meals to have the opportunity to see and experience what we were able to with that tour guide and while I haven't been back 2 of my brothers have and they called the tour guide and he meets them at the airport, and still takes them to the same family members restaurants but at least now they know what to order and what not to order
    #9
    Ivyhouse
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/20 10:45:14 (permalink)
    I went to China on a tour a few (almost 20) years ago. The worst meal I had was when the tour group members complained to the guide that they were "tired of all Chinese food" and they wanted an American style dinner.

    #10
    fabulousoyster
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 10:23:16 (permalink)
    I try the country's version of Pizza.
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    Twinwillow
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 10:59:15 (permalink)
    After spending 2 weeks in Italy eating delicious Italian meals at every sitting, we were ready for some good old American food.
    I found my "fix" a Friday's in the int'l. concourse at Heathrow airport.
    We stuffed ourselves with loaded 'tater skins, burgers, fries and ice tea. Believe me, that American food at a Friday's in England would never have passed muster in the USA but, it was great to us.
    #12
    rongmtek
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 12:05:41 (permalink)
    Sometimes you just need a taste of home; even when offered some great, although different fare.

    However, I did see an awful lot of "ugly Americans" when I worked those European trade fairs.
    In Cologne, Germany I listened to a fellow American exhibitor complain long & loudly to his friends on the street-car, as we all went to work for the day, that he went out for Chinese food the night before, and "the goddam menu was in German, fer Chrissakes!"
    #13
    Twinwillow
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 12:55:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rongmtek

    Sometimes you just need a taste of home; even when offered some great, although different fare.

    However, I did see an awful lot of "ugly Americans" when I worked those European trade fairs.
    In Cologne, Germany I listened to a fellow American exhibitor complain long & loudly to his friends on the street-car, as we all went to work for the day, that he went out for Chinese food the night before, and "the goddam menu was in German, fer Chrissakes!"


    As it happens, Americans are fairly well tolerated in Europe today. But, I have never heard a kind word about German tourists.
    #14
    matilda
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 13:21:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by twinwillow

    quote:
    Originally posted by rongmtek

    Sometimes you just need a taste of home; even when offered some great, although different fare.

    However, I did see an awful lot of "ugly Americans" when I worked those European trade fairs.
    In Cologne, Germany I listened to a fellow American exhibitor complain long & loudly to his friends on the street-car, as we all went to work for the day, that he went out for Chinese food the night before, and "the goddam menu was in German, fer Chrissakes!"


    As it happens, Americans are fairly well tolerated in Europe today. But, I have never heard a kind word about German tourists.


    " />
    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2004/08/25/2003200155
    #15
    Twinwillow
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 14:13:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by matilda

    quote:
    Originally posted by twinwillow

    quote:
    Originally posted by rongmtek

    Sometimes you just need a taste of home; even when offered some great, although different fare.

    However, I did see an awful lot of "ugly Americans" when I worked those European trade fairs.
    In Cologne, Germany I listened to a fellow American exhibitor complain long & loudly to his friends on the street-car, as we all went to work for the day, that he went out for Chinese food the night before, and "the goddam menu was in German, fer Chrissakes!"


    As it happens, Americans are fairly well tolerated in Europe today. But, I have never heard a kind word about German tourists.


    " />
    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2004/08/25/2003200155



    Thank you for reinforcing my statement.
    #16
    Poverty Pete
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 14:32:15 (permalink)
    Only the crass would discuss business at a business lunch. No wonder the French are so dominant in the world of economics.
    #17
    Beer&Snausages
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 15:16:15 (permalink)
    36 years ago I travelled with a large contingent of Boy Scouts from Hawaii to the World Jamboree in Asagiiri, Japan. We toured the country for a week before and then a week after the Jamboree (and spending a couple of days at a JDF base courtesy of Typhoon Olive).

    Since the majority of our contingent and leaders were of Japanese heritage and spoke the language our itinerary had us eating exclusively at Japanese restaraunts, staying with host families, enjoying the communal baths as we toured the island of Honshu and the cities of Kyoto-Tokyo-Osaka-Nagoya-Hiroshima. I had a great time, having come from Hawaii, we all were used to a multi-ethnic blending of cuisines and nothing was too icky to try or taste for a 14 year old. But after three weeks of miso broths w/fish heads, white rice and other staples of true japanese cuisine, you should have seen all 40 boys tear into the 1st McDonalds that we encountered in Tokyo as we entered the Ginza area.
    #18
    tacchino
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 15:45:02 (permalink)
    There is a TexMex place on the Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris, near the Cluny Museum, I think. It seemed to be packed constantly, and not just with homesick Americans. I glanced at the food, and it didn't seem to be anything special. But maybe there is something unique about it for many who come there?
    I think the fact is that many people are just not very adventurous eaters. They don't like going beyond their comfort zone in terms of cuisine. This would explain why many Americans turn their noses up instantly at the thought of eating organ meats, when they can be absolutely delicious properly prepared.
    #19
    GordonW
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 16:03:59 (permalink)
    McDonalds. . . there's a constant. A few tweaks to each country's overall menu to match local tastes, but the core menu is the same taste and presentation around the world, down to the fries.

    So constant, The Economist magazine/newspaper has the "Big Mac Index" to test comparative consumer purchasing power parity across countries -- how much people pay in each country for the basically exact same item.

    #20
    NYNM
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 16:57:04 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by GordonW

    McDonalds. . . there's a constant. A few tweaks to each country's overall menu to match local tastes, but the core menu is the same taste and presentation around the world, down to the fries.

    So constant, The Economist magazine/newspaper has the "Big Mac Index" to test comparative consumer purchasing power parity across countries -- how much people pay in each country for the basically exact same item.





    Yes, but at least they serve beer overseas.

    And last time I was in Heidelberg (2 yrs ago), we stopped at Starbucks (right ther eon Hauptstrasse). I was soooo proud of my host who didn't "know" about Starbucks yet and had never been there (until we introduced him, I'm sorry to say..)
    #21
    Ashphalt
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 17:24:11 (permalink)
    This thread reminds me of a show I once saw on BBC America. It may have been one of Gordon Ramsey's, the series where the expert comes in and fixes a restaurant that's not working. One episode, if I recall correctly, was about a woman who ran a soul food restaurant in one of the English beach resorts, maybe Brighton. That's gotta take guts!
    #22
    Ashphalt
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 18:13:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Poverty Pete

    Only the crass would discuss business at a business lunch. No wonder the French are so dominant in the world of economics.


    I've often heard that the U.S. is the only Western culture in which people are defined by what they "do" and where business is considered polite conversation. I believe it wasn't always so.

    When my Dad first started doing most of his business (textiles) in the South in the late 50s and early 60s, he was quickly taught that in any business meeting it was up to the host to raise business discussion, which rarely happened at a first meeting. First it was necessary to find out where y'all were from, who you married and when, who your people were and what your background (military, education) was. Business was never discussed in front of family, friends or "the Ladies" and never at the meal, but perhaps afterwards in the office or over drinks.

    Corporate America simply doesn't have time for such things, today.
    #23
    mayor al
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 18:48:09 (permalink)
    During our tenure in SoCal we made weekend journey's to Ensenada, Baja or the area south of it for a day's fishing. Ensenada is only a little over 100 Kilometers south of the border, and draws a lot of American visitors and short cruises out of L A and San Diego. In most of the restaurants the staff speak English, or a combination of English and Spanish that makes ordering and finding good 'stuff' fairly easy. However sometimes the cultural hodge-podge can get confusing. One of our favorite restaurants is a Chinese place near the boat-docks and shopping plaza. The problem being that the help spoke Chinese and Spanish and the menu was printed in those two languages. This meant that our orders were made by myself using my "barely adequate" (according to the U S Army)knowledge of Spanish. Most of the time we got what we wanted, but now and then a mix-up would occur.
    When My Czech Cousin visited in 2005 for 10 days, We would offer choices of places to go for meals. He really liked the steakhouse dinners (Outback and Roadhouse style) and other "hi-Protein" items. Lower on his choice list were the Asian and Mexican places. He did like the Moonlite BBQ, which makes him a good candidate for food critic in my book !! He laughed at our version of "Bread"- sliced white bread, but liked the Costco Italian Roasted Garlic loaves we get frequently. And He doesn't understand how the Lawsuit over the Trade-Name of "Budwiser" could have been settled in favor of "BUD LITE" !!
    #24
    BT
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 18:55:14 (permalink)
    Welcome or not most of the "American" food you'll find outside of America is sold by chains. I've had McDonald's hamburgers around the world and they were pretty much the same. That was a couple decades ago, though, and I keep reading that these days they are putting local stuff on their menus.

    Probably the first tacos I ever had were in Okinawa. There was a place there that catered mostly to off-duty marines that sold them in huge numbers (it was fascinating watching the guy deep fry the tortillas using chopsticks). In fact, that's one place to look if you ever do crave "back home" food overseas--near a US military base.

    I was surprised to find in Thailand a Swenson's Ice cream shop.

    Here's the SF version


    They apparently have a far east subsidiary HQ'd in Singapore.

    Otherwise, it's hard to think of too much (maybe big honking steaks) that's identified as "American". We are a nation of immigrants. Most of our food is an adaptation of something from the "old country" and often the "old country" version is better.
    #25
    matilda
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 19:07:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Ashphalt

    quote:
    Originally posted by Poverty Pete

    Only the crass would discuss business at a business lunch. No wonder the French are so dominant in the world of economics.


    I've often heard that the U.S. is the only Western culture in which people are defined by what they "do" and where business is considered polite conversation. I believe it wasn't always so.

    When my Dad first started doing most of his business (textiles) in the South in the late 50s and early 60s, he was quickly taught that in any business meeting it was up to the host to raise business discussion, which rarely happened at a first meeting. First it was necessary to find out where y'all were from, who you married and when, who your people were and what your background (military, education) was. Business was never discussed in front of family, friends or "the Ladies" and never at the meal, but perhaps afterwards in the office or over drinks.

    Corporate America simply doesn't have time for such things, today.


    This is the way I recall it always having been done. Still is in general, depending on who called the meeting...LOL.
    #26
    NYNM
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 19:08:46 (permalink)
    As I read all this, I think, isn't it sad that to the rest of the world, there is no point to opening an "Ameican" rstaurant (whatever that is...)

    Here in NYC, of course, we have Afghan, Peruvian, Turkish, Scandanavian, etc. etc restaurant. I know in Germany, most towns have Chinese, Balkan, Italian, etc. It makes me wonder, are we perceived of as having no cuisine? or just that junk food? or that no one wants to say "Oh, let's eat American tonight!" or what??

    I know in Heidelberg there was one place on Hauptstrasse that was called Coyote Cafe and I thought of Mark Miller and expected good southwestern cooking, but it turned out to be a bar that played jazz.

    I wonder if they sell "American Cookbooks" (ie Let's Cook American!!) overseas or if no one cares.....
    #27
    BT
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 19:34:35 (permalink)
    ^^^Let's put it this way: If you were opening an American restaurant in Europe, what would you serve?

    I know one problem with such a concept when I was living in Japan would have been cost. Meat in "American" quantities would have been unavoidably expensive. And so a "roadfood" sort of American restaurant would have been almost impossible.
    #28
    Beer&Snausages
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 20:13:06 (permalink)
    BT,
    Don't ask me why, but the one thing I can vividly remember about the summer of '71 and that trip was that the Yen was 360 to $1 on exchange. Not like the 120 to $1 it is today.
    #29
    BT
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    RE: US food abroad 2007/07/21 23:25:25 (permalink)
    ^^^By 1973 when I was there, it was down to 270.
    #30
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