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10 American Foods That Are Odd to Foreigners

Guest Blogger: Jenny Aguayo, Program Assistant at the Illinois Study Abroad Office 

It’s no debate that a lot of food in America is over-processed. Our food travels many, many more miles by the time it reaches our plate, so long-term preservation is a must. For this reason, many foreigners find themselves facing strange foods they’d never dare imagine.


1. Cheese Whiz. Cheese in a can? Only in America.




2. White Sandwich Bread. Most of mainland Europe and other parts of the world embrace fresh loaves of white bread, but tilt their heads at our processed slices of white refined sandwich bread.

root beer float

3. Root Beer Floats. Sugar is obviously our favorite ingredient. Why not put ice cream into syrupy soda?


biscuits and gravy

4. Biscuits and Gravy. A traditional American food, many foreigners find biscuits doused in gravy a strange concept to grasp.


lucky charms

5. Breakfast Cereal. Breakfast varies around the world. But the amount of sugary cereals available in America is appalling to most. “Marshmallows? For breakfast?”

6. Peanut Butterand Chocolate (together!). Peanut Butter is another typical American commodity, however, a rarity for most of the rest of the world. Combine that with chocolate and we’ve created an oddity. (But really, it’s just this heavenly thing we call Reese’s)


corn dog

7. Corn Dog. It’sa hot dog. On a stick. Covered in corn bread. As if the concept of a dog on a stick wasn’t weird enough.


beef jerky

8. Beef Jerky. For some, beef jerky is salty savory goodness. For others, it’s processed edible plastic.


bacon donut

9. Bacon in anything. Bacon in waffles. Bacon donuts. Hot dogs wrapped in bacon. Youname it. We’ll put bacon in it.



10. Sandwich Cookies with Icing in the middle. Whether it’s Oreos or Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Creme Pies, sugar sandwiched in sugar is always the answer.


Want to hear it straight from a source? Read a British student’s account of her culture shock experiences as a study abroader at the University of Illinois!

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