1.Pork and seaweed doughnut (Dunkin' Donuts China)
When we hear the word “doughnut,” a baked good barely distinguishable from dessert comes to mind. But Dunkin Doughnuts is expanding their eponymous offering’s image, launching a savory doughnut stuffed with shredded pork and seaweed. So far, the pork doughnut is only available in Asia, where it spearheads an aggressive Dunkin’ expansion campaign on the continent. The fast food chain plans to open 100 stores in China alone in the coming year, and has signed a multi million-dollar endorsement deal with NBA star LeBron James to ramp up its marketing campaign.
Would we eat it?: Yes, but we probably wouldn’t pay for it.
Darth Vader burger (Quick, France)
Ok, so it was a promotional gimmick, and it didn’t last long. But for about a month, the French fast food chain Quick offered a “Darth Vader burger,” complete with a black bun. The burger was part of a promotion for “Star Wars: Phantom Menace 3D.” As the Monitor’s Laurent Belsie wrote back in January:
“It's structured like a Big Mac. It could almost pass for a Big Mac, except that the bun is ... well ... black. Not blackened, totally black. Like two well-formed pieces of charcoal.”
The promotion also included a Darth Maul burger with a bright red bun, as well as a Jedi burger, with a regular bun.
Would we eat it?: With our eyes closed, probably.
Kimchi croquettes (Dunkin' Donuts Korea)
Back in 2009, Dunkin’ Donuts released a line of health-conscious donuts and pastries, in various countries around the world, including a lentil cocoa donut in India, a yogurt-filled donut in Greece, and the Kimchi croquette, in Korea. Kimchi, for those who don’t know, is a savory vegetable dish made with cabbage and onions and a common snack staple in Korea. A croquette is basically a stuffed donut without a hole. It sells for 1,300 won, or about $1.15 US.
Would we eat it? : Depends on how you feel about cabbage.
Bacon Potato Pie (McDonald’s Japan)
This is the first of two excellent ideas on the list coming out of McDonald’s in Japan. From the outside, it looks like the stateside McDonald’s Apple Pie, but it’s salty and savory, with mashed potatoes and bacon deep-fried in the familiar apple pie shell. It sells for 120 Japanese yen – $1.45 US.
Would we eat it: With bells on.
Shrimp burger (McDonald’s Japan)
Let’s face it: the fish offerings among American fast food are severely limited, and sometimes you hanker for something more than a white fried fish filet sandwich. Enter McDonald’s Japan (again!) with the Ebi Filet-O shrimp burger. The company debuted the sandwich in 2005 amid slumping sales in Japan as a tactic to lure customers with fare that catered more specifically to Japanese palates. It worked: 10 million shrimp burgers were sold in the sandwich’s first three months, and the Tokyo-based branch of the McDonald’s corporation saw its profits perk up.
The Ebi-Filet-O looks a lot like the stateside Filet-O-Fish, but it comes with a patty made of bits of shrimp and topped with lettuce, spicy sauce, and the requisite McDonald’s sesame seed bun. It retails for 320 Japanese yen, or about $4 US
Would we eat it: McDonald’s Japan is looking like the place to be these days. Absolutely.
Chicken Nugget burger (Burger King, Poland)
Who says you have to eat the chicken in your chicken sandwich in patty form? Not the folks at Burger King in Poland, who had the innovative idea of taking chicken nuggets and making them a sandwich meat. It also comes with a curry sauce, lettuce, and something called “Saltamajonase” (mayonnaise, we think).
Would we eat it? American fast food is woefully lacking in curry sauce, and who doesn’t want an easier chicken sandwich?
Coffee Jelly Frappuccino (Starbucks, Japan)
It’s a regular Starbucks Frappuccino (frozen coffee drink) but with a bonus at the bottom: coffee jelly, made from actual brewed coffee. Coffee jelly topped with whipped cream is a common dish in Japan, and the Starbucks drink has been lauded by coffee lovers as perfect for a hot summer day. This is one of the most expensive items on our list; the small size will set you back 480 Japanese yen, or about $5.50 US.
Would we eat it?: We like other sorts of jelly, so why not coffee?
Cheese and marmite panini (Starbucks UK)
Marmite is a brown, sticky spread made from yeast byproduct. The British ad slogan for the salty, polarizing spread is “love it or hate it,” and it is sometimes used as mosquito repellent. Sounds delicious, right? Apparently someone at Starbucks thinks so, because they put it in a Panini with melted cheese on ciabatta bread. It retails for 2.60 British pounds, which at the current exchange rate equals just north of $4 US.
Would we eat it: This one hinges entirely on which side of the marmite question you land. We’d be cautious, let’s just say.
Tuna Pie (Jollibee, Phillipines)
OK, so maybe frying up savories into pie form isn’t always a great idea. Like the McDonald’s McRib, the tuna, pie, which comes stuffed with cooked tuna and vegetables, is an elusive cult item, only making appearances on the Jollibee menu at certain times throughout the year. It made a comeback late last month, and currently selling for a limited time. In addition to the Phillipines, there are Jollibee restaurants in five states (California, New York, Nevada, Washington, and Hawaii), so those brave enough can try the tuna pie without going through customs.
Would we eat it?: No.
Winter double king pizza (Pizza Hut, Japan)
What's on the Winter Double King Pizza? The better question is, what isn't on it? The meaning of the name is unclear, but here’s what you get: a pizza topped with mayonnaise, king crab, shrimp, beef, broccoli, onion, corn, egg, and potato. The most remarkable feature, though, is a removable crust made of fried, mayonnaise-stuffed shrimp that look like little pigs in blankets. A medium costs 2500 Japanese Yen, or $23 American.
Would we eat it?: Given the number of ingredients on this thing, there's bound to be at least one item for everyone.