Same Chains, Different Countries = Unexpected Menu

Siqbal,Wikimedia Commons
Siqbal,Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes, even if you love Korean food, you just crave something from home- a burger and chips, a glazed doughnut, or a big cheesy pizza. Luckily, there is an ever-increasing number of Western chains across Korea, offering food for just these occasions. However, that’s not to say the menus are exactly the same.. sure, you can still find a plain cheese burger on the Macdonalds menu, or a margherita pizza (no sweetcorn, please), but there are always a few variations/ additions to the menu that have that distinctive Korean ‘twist’.

Let’s have a look at some of the more interesting Korean alternatives you can find on the menu in some popular Western chains:

MacDonalds

mcdonalds.co.kr
mcdonalds.co.kr

The Bulgogi Burger is an option available in most burger places across Korea, and is a nice addition to the Macdonalds menu; adding a delicious sauce to a plain burger is a win, in my opinion!

There is also the choice of a shrimp burger: lots of shrimps moulded into a burger patty. Or, the Shanghai Burger, a version of the Western standard chicken sandwiches, but with ‘spicy seasoning’… well, it is Korea!

To complete your Korean Macdonalds, order a green tea frappe or an affogato.

Baskin Robbins 

miasuraya.com
miasuraya.com

There is always some sort of cheesecake flavoured ice cream in Baskin Robbins, obviously a favourite in Korea.

And, of course, green tea ice cream, an odd but surprisingly good option.

Other flavours include: melon, lemon, cotton candy, sherbet, and don’t forget that classic combination, apple-mint. Mmm.

Starbucks

istarbucks.co.kr
istarbucks.co.kr

As the picture confirms, red bean and green tea cream frappuchinos are only available in Korea. What am I going to do back in England?!

You also have the choice of foods such as egg and potato burrito, black olive sausage danish pastry, sweet potato cake or even a spinach lasagne- that definitely isn’t available in the UK!

 

Burger King

burgerking.co.kr
burgerking.co.kr

If you’re a garlic fan, you should head to a Korean Burger King, home of the Garlic Steak Burger: an ordinary burger, with a topping of crushed garlic.

And it goes without saying that there is also a range of bulgogi burgers on the menu.

 

Pizza Hut

koreataste.org
koreataste.org

Topping choices for pizzas include: garlic, cream cheese, sweet potato, normal potato or broccoli. There is also a huge choice of crusts: the ‘star edge’ crust’, filled with cranberry cream cheese, or apple-cinnamon cream cheese, or the ‘rich gold’ crust, made of sweet potato, mozzarella and cheddar. A three-layered crust certainly seems decadent for a pizza!

Dunkin Donuts

dunkindonuts.co.kr
dunkindonuts.co.kr

Koreans love rice so much, they even use it for doughnuts! This item on the Dunkin Donuts menu is made with sticky rice, instead of traditional doughnut ingredients. They come in different flavours including green tea and sweet potato, if you couldn’t have guessed!

There is also always a huge range of ridiculously cute doughnuts in heart-shapes, animal-shapes etc… Koreans know how to make eating fun!

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TGI Fridays

 2
tgif.co.kr
tgif.co.kr
tgif.co.kr

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the normal favourites on the TGI Fridays menu: steak, ribs, chips. But it has some extra meals which are distinctly Korean: a salad topped with fruit and mascarpone, pasta in a bread bowl, and most importantly, the choice of fried-rice as a side dish. Phew.

Dominoes

dominos.co.kr
dominos.co.kr

Similarly to Pizza Hut, Dominoes pushes the barrier with its new and exciting crusts and toppings. Cheese roll crusts, double-cheese crusts, cheesecake mousse (really), syrup, mango hot sauce and garlic flakes. Definitely more exciting than your plain-old pepperoni.

 

 

 

 
Outback Steakhouse

outback.co.kr
outback.co.kr

Similarly to how Koreans make pizzas a lot more elaborate, some of the dishes at Outback have far more ingredients than in other countries.

For example, their cheese lobster, which comes with a shrimp cake, jacket potato, vegetables and a pot of salad on the side.

They also offer a traditional Korean ‘dosirak’ or lunchbox, with a nice selection of food to takeaway,- a good option if you’re on the move!

Lastly, the unfortunately titled dessert: ‘Chocolate Thunder From Down Under’. It looks delicious, but maybe re-think the name? It doesn’t conjure up the best mental image in the world…

KFC

kfckorea.com
kfckorea.com

If you are a meat-lover, you’re going to love the new item on the Korean KFC menu: three types of meat in one ‘burger’. In fact, there’s no bread, as the burger is sandwiched between two fried-chicken fillets. With some bacon added in for fun, because we all know that two types of meat just isn’t enough.

On the side, choose from a range of side-salads: sweet corn, pumpkin, pickles, or if you want more meat, potato with bacon.

Papa John’s

pji.co.kr
pji.co.kr

The menu is similar to Pizza Hut and Dominoes with it’s creative range of toppings. But at Papa John’s, even the appearance of pizza is exciting: you can order them in a heart shape. Now there’s romance if I’ve ever seen it!

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We’ve also had some unexpected surprises when ordering food which aren’t from popular chains. The most frequent additions to western-sounding foods? Kimchi and Gochuchang (red pepper paste) which are frequently added. Probably the most memorable oddity though, was ordering a classic beef burger at an ‘American’ restaurant… only to find when it came that you got a banana with chocolate sauce on the side. Eating them separately-great! Eating them together- I’m not so sure… chocolate banana and burger is a bit more wacky than I like my fusion!

Next time you go to a Western chain in Korea, will you go for a safe option, or will you be a bit more adventurous? Cheese pizza or cream cheese pizza? Oh, the choices…

 

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19 thoughts on “Same Chains, Different Countries = Unexpected Menu

  1. This was interesting to read! I do not frequent these places at home, so I have yet to go to one here in Korea! Not surprising how things are the same, but with their own Korean twist. That seems to be the theme here in Korea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true & I never really stopped to think about food chains that have unique things JUST for Korea. I have a habit of popping to chains around Asia to see what interesting things they have on their menu. Malaysia’s MCDs had an amazing pineapple pie, and China had a coconut chocolate pie! Yumyum! What has been the best “koreanised” thing for you thus far?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh pineapple pie sounds amazing!
      I have to admit, I love their addition of mango to things- I had a mango chicken burger the other day which was pretty good! And, you can’t beat a bulgogi burger 🙂 The pizza on the other hand… too fussy and too many toppings for me!

      Like

  3. yeah, potato and corn pizza is not really my thing. neither is that shrimp burger at mcdonalds. i actually eat mcdonalds way more here than i ever did at home, mostly because they deliver here. that’s probably my favorite difference!

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  4. This was a really fun list! I don’t really go to food chains in the states, but it was really interesting to read how they tweak the menus to fit into different culture’s taste profiles. That KFC burger thing looks completely insane! I think my arteries hardened just looking at the photo…and what is Pizza Hut thinking filling a pizza with fruit laced cream cheese?! Have to wonder if anyone, anywhere could find that tasty. Have you tried it?!

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    1. Haha I know, the KFC burger is crazy- I’m tempted to try it just to say that I have!
      I haven’t tried that stuffed crust..but I have had a red bean crust, boring by comparison but it was very strange, having a sweet crust on savoury pizza!

      Like

  5. Awesome idea to share with people! This is something I never thought of sharing with others but it’s probably something interesting to someone who hasn’t been to Korea.
    Pizza chains are definitely the most different from the U.S.A. Of course you can get the normal stuff. But the Korean types are crazy- cream cheese, mayo, corn!

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  6. We have Popeye’s in my town and I’ve seen KFC in others, to add to your list. Pretty cool compilation here. I’ve really tried to avoid these places as of late because Korean food has just been more appealing. But this kind of stuff is good for us foreigners to have on occasion. Not sure if it’s good to eat ALL the time. Thanks for sharing this.

    Like

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