What exactly is American food? It can sometimes be a challenge to define because of the country’s expansive landscape and diversity, all of which contribute to the national cuisine. Hamburgers, milkshakes, and apple pies easily qualify as typical “American” food — food that can be easily acquired and is enjoyed at thousands of international McDonald’s locations. But America has unique delicacies and treats that can rarely be found anywhere else and haven’t won over global tastebuds.
While a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is, if not beloved, at least known in practically every corner of this country, the very concept of a PB&J disgusts many in other countries. To further explore this phenomenon, Stacker compiled a list of 20 uniquely American foods that might raise the eyebrows of anybody outside of the U.S. using reports from Tasting Table, Eater, Food & Wine, and various other sources.
This list’s food ranges from national culinary icons to regional treats. Taken together, they also paint a picture of American life, from the value of convenience to the influence of immigrant cultures. All foods were either invented, first recorded, or popularized by the United States to a point where it’s become closely associated with the country. Take a look at 20 American foods that might seem strange in other parts of the world.