American fast food chains are virtually ambassadors for their country and its culture, so it is surprising to learn that the food they sell is not necessarily the same as that sold at home.
Channel 4’s popular series Tricks of the Restaurant Trade did a little investigating, with American students asked to try some British versions and reveal the differences.
One finding will surprise few people: the British Big Mac is smaller than its American counterpart, and the fries that go with it are skinnier and without the crispness Americans expect. Americans awarded McDonald’s British fries just 0.5 out of 5 points. Reassuringly, they reported that the taste of a Big Mac, at least, is the same.
The list of flavourings and preservatives added to American fries is longer, which is unlikely to be a good thing. While genetically modified ingredients are allowed in the US, they are theoretically barred in the UK, although this cannot be guaranteed.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
The judges again agreed that the chicken tastes the same in both countries; however, the menu in KFC outlets varies considerably. In the US, KFC sell neither fries (chips to those of us in the UK) nor rice boxes; instead, the American menu includes side dishes such as mashed potato and gravy, and ‘biscuits’ that are actually unsweetened scones.
In the UK, rice boxes contain chicken with rice, salad and a salsa dressing, and are intended to offer a healthier alternative to the usual chicken and chips.
Once again, the judges could not discern any difference in flavour; however, they were impressed that Domino’s in the UK declares its products to be GM free.
Whatever your views on GM, it is a fact that British consumers are health conscious and British food outlets are anxious to declare the benefits of the fresh ingredients they use. Any caterer needing to deliver food with the speed and freshness our modern consumers demand needs specialist catering equipment, such as refrigerated countertops, workstations and gastronorm cabinets. A range of gastronorm cabinets are available from commercial specialists such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/.
The show offered a final verdict that British fast food is the best due to its fewer additives and stricter GM-free health standards.