Fast food is the food that can be prepared and served very quickly. Modern fast food is associated with global chains of fast food restaurants like Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC and the like. And country wise, United States probably would be the first country you would think of if asked about fast food. However, fast food chains are not the only sources of this food and it can be found, most likely, in every country in the world.
Today we would like to start a series of posts about the fast food around the world. This is not a scientific research and we don’t pretend to list every food in every country. So if you have something interesting to add or if we have made some mistakes, please do not hesitate to comment and share your thoughts.
The countries and foods are arranged in no particular order.
The most common quick food restaurant is the “burger bar” or “grill bar” which typically features hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs and a wide variety of other fast food staples.
Another common quick food alternative, the “original” fast food outlet in Denmark, is the pølsevogn (sausage wagon), where one can cheaply eat a variety of different sausages, including Denmark’s very famous red sausages, røde pølser. These hot dog-like sausages are long, thin and bright red. They are traditionally served on a small, rectangular paper plate along with some bread, and a serving of ketchup, Danish remoulade sauce and mustard. The sausage is hand held, dipped into the sauce and eaten. The bread is eaten alternately, also dipped into the sauce.
When the sausage is served in a traditional hot dog bun, it is called a “hot dog”. It is commonly served with remoulade, ketchup, mustard, onion (either raw or toasted, i.e. ristede) and thin sliced pickles on top. Ristede onions are similar in taste to French-fried onion rings. Another variety is the French hot dog (Fransk hotdog) which is a sausage stuffed into a special long roll. The roll has a hole in the end, in which the hot dog is slipped into, after the requested accompaniment has been squirted in (ketchup, mustard, different kinds of dressing).
The Dutch have their own types of fast food. A Dutch fast-food meal often consists of a portion of french fries, called friet or patat, with a sauce and a meat product. The most common sauce to accompany French fries is mayonnaise, while others can be ketchup or spiced ketchup, peanut sauce or piccalilli. Sometimes the fries are served with combinations of sauces, most famously speciaal: mayonnaise, with ketchup and chopped onions; and oorlog: mayonnaise and peanut sauce (sometimes also with ketchup and chopped onions). The meat product is usually a deep fried snack; this includes the frikandel (a deep fried sausage), and the kroket (deep fried meat ragout covered in breadcrumbs).
A smaller version of the kroket, the bitterbal, is often served with mustard as a snack in bars. Regional snacks include eierbal (a combination of egg and ragout) in the North and East, and Brabants worstenbrood, a sausage baked in bread.
Another kind of fast food is fish. This includes raw herring, which is sold in markets and eaten, by lifting the herring high in the air by its tail, and eating it upwards, or on a bun. Other regular fish snack are kibbeling (deep-fried nugget-sized chunks of cod), smoked eel, and rollmops.
Austrian snacks centre on the ubiquitous Würstelstand , or sausage stand, which sells hot sausage (Wurst) as well as a few other things – usually French fries, soft drinks, canned beer and occasionally burgers. Numerous varieties of Wurst are available: Frankfurter, Bratwurst (fried sausage) or Burenwurst (boiled sausage) are the most common, but you could also try a Currywurst, a Käsekrainer, a sausage filled with blobs of molten cheese, or a Bosner, it resembles a hot dog, consisting mainly of a sausage, onions, and a blend of tomato ketchup, mustard, and curry powder. Bosner is made with white bread and is usually grilled briefly before serving. To accompany your sausage, you usually get a roll (Semmel) and some mustard (Senf), which can be either scharf (hot) or süss (sweet).
Fast food in Belgium means frites or French fries. Stands serve them in a paper cone accompanied by mayonnaise, bearnaise or curry sauce. Another popular fast food is the Belgian waffle. Stands in outdoor markets bake them with crunchy bits of pearl sugar in the batter.
Sausage is the basic Finnish fast food. According to a saying ‘A Finn is never too full not to eat a bit more sausage’.
Zapiekanki – somewhat similar to a pizza but much less salty – is a popular Polish fast-food composed of a long baguette, sprinkled with chopped mushrooms, meaty toppings and cheese and then heated to melt the cheese, poured on top with ketchup, mayonnaise and additionally other toppings.
If you want to try some typical Swedish fast-food, you can go to a hot-dog stand (korvkiosk). There you can choose between fried and boiled hot dogs, served with French fries or mashed potatoes together with mustard and/or ketchup.
The typical German “Imbiss” or “Schnellimbiss” is a fast-food shop, stand or trailer.
Bockwurst – the famous Frankfurter is an example of a bockwurst and a firm favorite among snacks. Literally hundreds of types are available but all basically are pork and beef (turkey is also getting popular) boiled in brine. It’s the classic hot dog sausage.
Bratwurst – fried sausage usually served with a half a slice of white bread. Bratwurst im Brötchen is the same as Bratwurst served in a crispy bread roll.
Currywurst – is a Bratwurst which has been sliced up in a special machine with a dollop of curry ketchup ladled over it.
Frikadelle – a kind of home-made hamburger or rissole, usually made from a mixture of minced beef and pork, usually served with a half slice of bread or a roll. Frikadellen can also be found under the name Bouletten and is sometimes served with Nudelsalat (pasta salad) or Krautsalat (a kind of coleslaw without mayonnaise).
Hähnchen – roasted chicken can often be found at take-away stands as “Halbes Hähnchen”. Normally well seasoned with paprika and salt. Traditionally, Germans eat this dish with French fries.
Pommes – this is French fries.
Döner Kebab – brought to Germany by the Turkish immigrants. It is similar to the shwarma. Thin slices of grilled veal, lamb or chicken in crisp Pitta bread and topped with onions, red cabbage, tomato slices and a sauce made from yoghurt, garlic and other spices.
A peculiarly British form of fast food is the sandwich. Another popular fast food is fish and chips which was originated in the United Kingdom. It consists of deep-fried fish (traditionally cod or haddock) in batter or breadcrumbs with deep-fried chipped potatoes.