17 Tastiest American Foods According to Foreigners

American cuisine is as diverse and expansive as the country itself, incorporating a wide range of flavors, ingredients, and dishes that have been influenced by various cultures over the years. Some flavors are so uniquely American that when visitors return to their home countries, they can’t help but crave these 17 hard-to-find foods.

General Tso’s Chicken

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The American interpretation of Chinese food has a flavor profile all its own; the combination of sweet and savory with a little hint of spicy may not go over well in China, but in the rest of the world, it’s a hit. Once people have tried dishes like General Tso’s chicken or honey walnut shrimp, they end up missing them until they get back to having them again.

Hot Cheetos

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Americans have a plethora of snack foods. While finding the majority of chips is pretty easy in other countries, the spicy, tangy flavor of Hot Cheetos is not easily found outside of the U.S., leaving people craving it more.

Ranch Dressing

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The poster child of American food, this tangy sauce that Americans put on everything “has been the best-selling salad dressing in the United States since 1992.” But it isn’t easily found everywhere else. While some foreign visitors despise seeing the white sauce doused on everything, others catch the addiction and take it home with them.

American Pies

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Dishes like apple pie and pumpkin pie are considered quintessentially American and are craved for their sweet, comforting flavors. While pastries are common all over the world, there is nothing like an American pie. Better Homes & Gardens says “America purchased more than 3.6 million pies through [Instacart’s] grocery service” in 2021, with apple pie being the most popular.

Tex-Mex Cuisine

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Being from Germany, I would drive over an hour to the closest thing you could find to Mexican, and even then, it was a sad imitation. The ability to get the chilis from Mexico and the southwestern U.S. is expensive, if at all possible, making most Tex-Mex abroad more Italian with tortillas and no spice.

Root Beer

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Root beer’s unique flavor is unfamiliar and often unavailable outside of North America, making it a novelty and a missed beverage. “Sometimes you can find sarsaparilla or maybe A&W, but it’s just not a commonly found flavor here in New Zealand,” says Buzzfeed. Getting your hands on a frosty mug of root beer in the U.S. could lead to a lifetime of longing.

American Breakfasts

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American breakfasts are something very uniquely American; the pancakes, eggs, and bacon are unmatched in many other countries for variety and flavor. While most other places may find them gluttonous for everyday consumption, we know that we don’t eat like that every morning, either.

Peanut Butter

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While peanut butter exists elsewhere, the creamy, rich American versions are particularly missed for their taste and versatility. Vice says, “In international markets, peanut butter morphs to suit the country’s tastes,” making it difficult to find outside of the U.S.

Buffalo Wings

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Chicken wings in general are everywhere, and every country has its own version of them. The spicy, tangy sauce of buffalo wings has a flavor profile that’s distinctly American and is missed by those who love spicy food.

Thanksgiving Dinner

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Americans go all out for Thanksgiving, but for outsiders, there is nothing like it. RelocateUSA says, “It can be argued that Thanksgiving is the most popular and well-known American holiday. Each year on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans gather to eat a traditional meal of turkey and pies, and spend time with family and friends.”

Maple Syrup

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Authentic American maple syrup, especially from regions like Vermont, is a sought-after commodity for its natural sweetness and flavor. According to the New England Maple Museum, “maple sugaring is a deeply rooted farming tradition that has made Vermont the leading maple syrup producer in the United States…. [It] is an age-old process that was discovered by the Native Americans hundreds of years ago and taught to the settlers that followed.”

American Barbecue

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The slow-cooked, smoky flavors of American barbecue, especially dishes like pulled pork and brisket, are hard to find and replicate elsewhere. There is something magical about the slow-smoking method and the different rubs, spices, and sauces of good American barbecue. Even countries with a barbeque of their own will still dream of the one they had in a small town in Texas.


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I have yet to meet a non-American friend who knows what on earth a “s’more” is, so you can bet this will be a new experience. This campfire treat, with its combination of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow, is a uniquely American experience. Once someone has had the s’more experience, they’ll want to take it home and create more memories.


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The dense, chewy texture of a New York-style bagel, especially everything bagels, is something people miss when abroad. Honestly, New Yorkers would say they crave and miss bagels as soon as they leave the city, “because they aren’t the same anywhere else.”

Reuben Sandwiches

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This sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread came in at number 10 for the United States’ most popular sandwiches in 2023, according to Yahoo Finance. Tasting Table says stories of its creation are a little murky, with “one [tracing] the history of the classic Reuben to Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1920s [and] the other [pinning] the genesis of the Reuben to a New York deli in 1914.” This is a popular sandwich among Americans and tourists alike.

Southern Sweet Tea

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The sweet, refreshing taste of southern sweet tea is a staple in the American South but is not commonly found in other countries. In most countries, tea is a beverage served warm and possibly has sugar or honey added and maybe some milk. Southern sweet tea is a unique experience that people either love or hate. But it seems those in Ireland love it; maybe they wanted to take a page from the Boston Tea Party.

American Fast Food Chains

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McDonald’s can be found worldwide, with unique takes in each country. However, it isn’t the only American fast food chain to catch the hearts of travelers. KFC has been gaining ground outside of the U.S., and I can remember having to pay to enter the parking lot of KFC in Germany with long lines waiting for the fried chicken and sweet corn. Chick-fil-A, In and Out Burger, and Wendy’s have also been mentioned by travelers as favorites.

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