For all you food snobs out there...
Budget Travel wrote:By Sean O'Neill
We know you don't want to fly halfway around the world to eat a Big Mac. But how about steamed cod with mustard sauce and chives, mixed vegetables and parsley baby potatoes? That, for instance, is what's considered fast food in Germany.
When we think of fast food in the U.S., we imagine mega-chains with thousands of restaurants around the world — too many, in fact, for the brands to have much quality control. But in some countries, such as Brazil and India, the concept is just catching on, and the quality of the food you'll find passing as "fast" is all the better for it.
Dining at white-table restaurants abroad is certainly a treat of travel (if you can afford it), but if you really want a glimpse into local culture, there's no better way than sampling the fare residents grab on the go. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the meals are as tasty as they are cheap. Here, then, are our picks for the best foreign fast-food venues overseas.
Signature dish: Hamburger topped with a fried egg; black beans, white rice and French fries on the side (10 reals, or about $6.50)
Many older and traditional Brazilians frown upon eating food with their hands, so when the Giraffas chain debuted in 1981 and became the first quick-service restaurant to hand out steel knives and forks, it caught on quickly. Giraffas now has 358 locations across Brazil. As at other fast-food joints, patrons at Giraffas pick up their orders from a counter, but food is usually presented on open plates, not in cardboard boxes, for guests eating in-house — another acknowledgment of national preferences.
Singapore: Toast Box
Signature dish: "Crispy grilled" kaya (coconut jam) toast with slices of butter, a soft-boiled egg and a mug of kopi (coffee) (Singapore $2.50, or about $2 U.S.)
Founded in Singapore in 2005, breakfast-and-lunch purveyor Toast Box now has more than 30 locations in the city-state and 12 elsewhere in South Asia and the Pacific, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines. But the dish it specializes in has been served locally by roadside kopitams (or coffee stands) since the 1920s. Toast Box brandishes one major weapon in the toast-and-spread war against longstanding roadside rivals: It has its employees dress in blue-and-white striped caps and aprons — a direct appeal to Singaporeans' delight in snappy uniforms. Yet Toast Box wisely retains the familiar touches of a traditional kopitam, such as Formica tabletops and natural wood decor.
Signature dish: Blini filled with red caviar or salmon roe (240 rubles, or about $8.30)
Founded in 1998, Teremok has spread to 111 restaurants and 80 street kiosks in Moscow and St. Petersburg. While soups, porridges and salads all appear on the menu, it's really all about the blinis. These thin, triangular-shaped wheat pancakes are wrapped around various fillings (sweet or savory) and are baked to order at the counter in front of your eyes. In the U.S., we're not used to thinking of this tasty dish as a fast-food item, but in Russia it's available all day and evening. Down it with some kvass, a low-alcohol drink made from rye flour with malt, or else some Hmel'noy Med (a half liter of honey beer).
Has anyone been to any of these