Sam Fitzgibbons

25 American Dishes That Leave a Bad Taste in Everyone’s Mouth

American food may not be up there with the likes of French or Italian cuisine in the eyes of the world, but it is fair to say that it’s not exactly thought of as being terrible. American cuisine is known for being flavorful and has been influenced by countless cultures down the century, so it is generally pretty tasty. That being said, there are some American dishes that are probably going to make the average eater think twice.

From crazy combinations to unusual ingredients, these dishes are only for the most adventurous eaters, and some of them might just surprise you.

Hershey’s Chocolate

Editorial credit: Joseph Skompski / Shutterstock.

You might think chocolate is a safe bet regarding foods everyone loves, but you’d be dead wrong. Non-Americans, and Europeans in particular are not big fans of iconic American chocolate brands like Hershey’s. Why? Hershey’s uses a process known as lipolysis to extend the lifespan of their chocolate products, but this also has the unfortunate effect of souring the chocolate. This is why many Americans compare the taste of Hershey’s to vomit.

Jell-O Salad

Editorial credit: johnlck / Shutterstock.

What could be more normal than preparing a beautiful salad only to preserve it in a whole block of Jell-O? Well, pretty much anything. Most non-Americans, and even a great deal of U.S. citizens, find the whole concept of combining the sweet, wobbly treat with a healthy salad mind-boggling and they’re probably not wrong.

Sweet Potato Pie

Editorial credit: RFondren Photography / Shutterstock.

Sweet potato pie is a classic southern dessert and a staple of many Thanksgiving tables, so the Americans reading this may be surprised to learn that a lot of other cultures find it… well a bit weird. Not everyone thinks potatoes belong in a pie, especially not a meat one, and not with all of those sweet spices. Sure, the Brits love potatoes in their meat pies, but they draw the line at dessert. We still think it’s a winner, though.


Editorial credit: Baloncici / Shutterstock.

Scrapple is a traditional Pennsylvanian dish that’s normally eaten for breakfast in that part of the U.S. It’s made from leftover scraps of pork (hence the name) and flour or cornmeal, which are blended with the meat to form a patty of sorts. The scrapple is then fried until crispy and brown. It might sound good but many would disagree due to its scrappy and unappetizing appearance, and the fact it’s made from leftovers. 

Chicken n’ Waffles

Editorial credit: lsm001 / Shutterstock.

It’s a Southern soul food staple even in late-night diners across America, so why is there very little love for Chicken n’ Waffles elsewhere? First of all, a lot of cultures would consider waffles to be a sweet breakfast or dessert dish, rarely, if ever, eaten at other times. Then there’s the syrup. Many non-Americans would simply never dream of adding syrup to the same plate as fried chicken. Would they be saying that if they’d actually tried it? 

Spray Cheese

Editorial credit: melissamn / Shutterstock.

Cheese that comes in a can? Cheese you can spray directly into your mouth if you are so inclined? It’s enough to make the average European weep, and the rest of the world is not all that impressed with this unique American invention either. Plus, cheese should not have that many chemicals.


Editorial credit: Angela0613s / Shutterstock.

Chitlins, or Chitlings, as they’re sometimes known, are a unique Southern dish made from… wait for it… pig intestines. So although the brave Scots with their haggis may be tempted to give them a try, pretty much everyone else is going to think twice.

American Soda

Editorial credit: francesco de marco / Shutterstock.

Sweet bubbly and just the thing to cool you down and quench your thirst on a hot day, you might think that soda would be popular everywhere, and it kind of is. American soda, though, that’s a different matter. Many non-Americans think twice about drinking American soda due to the significant levels of high-fructose corn syrup it contains. Not only is it really bad for your health, but most people who are not used to high-fructose corn syrup in their sodas find it way too sweet.

Deep Fried Butter

Editorial credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock.

We’re not gonna lie, fried butter is kind of amazing, but to anyone who has never tried it before (and that means most people outside of the USA), it sounds kind of gross. Butter sugar, though? It’s a heart attack waiting to happen is what many people are thinking when they see it on the menu.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole

Editorial credit: Brent Hofacker/ Shutterstock.

Outside of the USA, it is not too common to sweeten your vegetables, so it is not surprising that most people are baffled by this American classic when they encounter it for the first time. Sweet potatoes are plenty sweet enough without the addition of gooey marshmallows.

Head Cheese

Editorial credit: AS Foodstudio/ Shutterstock.

Head cheese is a popular North American dish but its origins are in Europe. So it’s kind of surprising that most Europeans would think twice about trying this dish made from pig’s head meat. It’s chopped and boiled before being made into a jelly loaf. Appetizing?

Biscuits and Gravy

Editorial credit: Charles Brutlag / Shutterstock.

What’s up with biscuits and gravy? It might be a southern staple, but this dish that consists of soft, doughy biscuits and creamy gravy is enough to confuse many non-Americans. Not only because biscuits are the name Brits give to cookies, but also because meat gravy is more common in many places outside of the U.S.

American Cheese

Editorial credit: Merrimon Crawford / Shutterstock.

For many people, American cheese is not good cheese. Sure, it might hold its shape well when melted on top of a burger, but it’s lacking in flavor and often highly processed. It’s something no connoisseur of cheese ever wants to see on their plate.

Frito Pie

Editorial credit: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.

Frito pie is the ultimate in comfort food with a Mexican spin, and hugely popular in America, but it’s fair to say that other cultures find it baffling. For most of the world, Fritos (or their versions of them) are snack foods to be eaten alone, or at most with a delicious dip. The idea of turning them into a meal by topping them with chili and cheese is mind-boggling.

American Sports Drinks

Editorial credit:IZWAN IS / Shutterstock.

Like American sodas, American sports drinks often contain additional ingredients that make them unpalatable to the rest of the world. This includes things like artificial colorings and flavorings that are banned elsewhere, as well as vegetable oils that make them actually pretty unhealthy.

Sloppy Joes

Editorial credit: Juliana_haris / Shutterstock.

Why would Sloppy Joes make people think twice? After all, they’re just ground beef and onions in a tomato sauce. Well, mainly it’s the name that puts people off. They don’t sound too appetizing right off the bat, and then there’s the fact they’re pretty stodgy, not to mention messy to eat. 


Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.

To most of the world, the idea of adding a powdered mixture of artificial colorings and flavorings to perfectly good water is insane. It’s actually making water less healthy, which gets it a big fat NO from non-Americans.

Ranch Dressing

Editorial credit: Elena Veselova / Shutterstock.

It’s a winning combination of creamy buttermilk, salt, onion, mustard, garlic, herbs, and spices, so surely everyone loves it. Although most people wouldn’t consider that ranch dressing tastes bad, it’s not really a thing in most countries, and that’s probably because people like to taste their salad. When their veggies are covered in ranch, the full freshness of their flavors is lost.


Editorial credit: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.

It may evoke cozy feelings of childhood around the dinner table for most Americans, but for everyone else, the thought of indeterminable meat mushed together in a loaf pan is not a pleasant one.

Taco Bell

Editorial credit: Harrison Keely / CC BY 4.0/ Wikimedia Commons

Taco Bell has never really taken off outside of the United States, and we have a theory that’s because this Mexican-inspired chain restaurant has too long been the subject of ridicule in American TV shows. We’ve all seen jokes about being stuck in the bathroom after a Taco Bell dinner, and we say “No, thanks.”

Donut Burgers

Editorial credit: / Shutterstock.

Replacing the perfectly adequate bun with a donut is a big “why?” for many people outside the USA who don’t go in for combining sweet treats with savory dishes. Think of the calories.

Root Beer

Editorial credit: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.

Root beer may be an American classic, but to many outsiders, its unique recipe, made using the root bark of the sassafras tree, tastes a little too much like mouthwash. And they don’t want to drink a cool glass of mouthwash with their dinner.

American Bread

Editorial Credit: Master1305 / Shutterstock.

Bread is a staple the world over, but most doesn’t contain nearly as much sugar as American bread, which means it’s often too sweet and cake-like for foreigners looking to make a sandwich. In fact, some American breads have more sugar than candy.

Circus Peanuts

Editorial credit: melissamn / Shutterstock.

Chock full of artificial flavorings, one taste of this classic childhood staple is likely to be enough for the average European who is used to having their candy flavored, for the most part, with natural ingredients like fruit juice.

Corn Dogs

Editorial credit: Rimma Bondarenko / Shutterstock.

Hot dogs, which aren’t exactly made from the best parts of the animal, are a turn-off for many people, but that fried cornmeal coating? It just looks unappetizing to the average foreigner who has never been exposed to a corn dog.

19 Grim Realities of Dating After 50 That Are Often Overlooked

Editorial credit: fizkes / Shutterstock.

19 Grim Realities of Dating After 50 That Are Often Overlooked

26 Things That Will Be Extinct Because Millennials Refuse to Buy Them

Image Credit: Andriy Solovyov/ Shutterstock.

26 Things That Will Be Extinct Because Millennials Refuse to Buy Them

24 Outdated Slang Terms You Absolutely Shouldn’t Be Using Anymore

Image Credit: oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.

24 Outdated Slang Terms You Absolutely Shouldn’t Be Using Anymore

25 Hardest Parts About Getting Older That No One Ever Talks About

Image Credit:Ruslan Huzau/ Shutterstock.

25 Hardest Parts About Getting Older That No One Ever Talks About

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!