12 Strangest Things and Practices Mistakenly Identified as “Authentically American” in Foreign Countries

Through the years, the United States has become a cultural melting pot of sorts as people from all over the world have come to call it their home. As such, many weird yet wonderful things have been labeled as “authentically American” in foreign countries.

With this, a person opened an online thread asking people to share some things they’ve encountered that people from other countries perceive as truly American. Here are 12 of the most peculiar items and practices we saw in that discussion!

1. Ketchup on Everything

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The global template for American style is adding ketchup and sliced hotdogs to all foods. A commenter says they hate ketchup but have mastered the art of pretending to be grateful when their hosts proudly announce they’ll have tons of ketchup available.

2. American Party Cups

red cup
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Every American show always has red cups at parties. Several thread contributors agree that they’ve seen knock-off red solo cups presented as American party cups. One person was invited to an American party at a club. The drinks were served in red cups, with an American flag hanging up. People were wearing jean shorts and playing beer pong.

3. Knock-off USA Sports Apparel

12 Weirdest Things People Saw Labeled as
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Am I the only one who wears T-shirts without any idea what they represent? I may not like a particular sporting team, but I appreciate free merch. Someone recounts that they lived in Germany in the early 2000s and came across young people wearing counterfeit sportswear featuring non-existent teams.

Some were the Minnesota 59’ers, New York Chiefs, and St Louis Bad Boys. The shirts had convincing color schemes but were way off-brand for any franchise. They wish they would have bought some to share two decades later, but they were poor students then.

4. American Restaurant

worker at McDonald's. McDonald's is an American hamburger and fast food restaurant chain.
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A globetrotter replies that their nephew-in-law is Mormon and went on his two-year mission in Taiwan. A family took a liking to him and persisted in bringing him to an American restaurant. Finally, they took him to a cafeteria in an Ikea.

5. Nachos

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America may have a lot of weird food combinations, but most restaurants get nachos right. One individual states that they bought nachos in London in the early 2000s that did not have the right ingredient combination.

They were probably BBQ chips with salsa or tortilla chips with marinara sauce. At first, they were sure it was a mistake, so they made the same order from several places. They were disappointed and finally went to Chili’s to get the real thing.

6. American Salad

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From the long list of foods that define America, a salad doesn’t come close. One jet setter writes that they saw an American salad being sold at a supermarket in Turkey. It was a mix of peas and carrots with a load of mayonnaise. No one could agree with them that it wasn’t American food.

7. KFC for Christmas

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Isn’t it crazy that a food franchise can lie to an entire country? Marketers are not above exploiting the American culture to make sales. A responder shares that they always get a kick out of how Japanese think Americans eat fried chicken for Christmas.

It appears that a Japanese KFC franchise owner formulated this myth. Though they don’t consider it a religious holiday, the Japanese celebrate Christmas by eating KFC and Christmas cake.

8. American Steak

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Another traveler narrates how a restaurant served them a chunk of cold raw beef while they were in Belgium. They’d creamed the meat a bit, but that did not improve it.

9. California Hot Dog

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Corn on a hotdog is another pineapple-on-pizza discussion that foodies need to have. Somebody claims they bought a California hotdog at Brighton Pier in the U.K., which had corn and lettuce. They’ve lived in California their entire lives, and the closest they’ve come to corn on a hotdog is the cornbread batter of a corn dog.

10. American Bacon

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Bacon is the easiest American thing to get right. A commenter explains that Australian bacon is like a slice of ham. While on a month-long work trip outside Sydney, they picked up a pack of American bacon at a Woolworths. It was disappointing to find out it was the same thing as Australian bacon with more strips of fat.

11. Mexican Food

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A traveler mentions that they tried a Mexican place in Singapore. They ordered a tortilla and got a giant spring roll wrapper. Everything else on the menu was indescribable. It seemed like they’d looked up photos of traditional Mexican food and tried to match the ingredients with what they had.

12. Corn on Pizza

an image of Hawaiian pizza with corn
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Can we define how far is too far with pizza toppings? A final user states they’ve seen many food outlets in other countries selling American pizza with corn. They’ve never seen corn on pizza in the U.S., yet many people think it’s American.

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