Despite the media coverage that the U.S. gets about its ever increasing obesity epidemic, it seems that the trend of eating ourselves to death is a worldwide problem. There are many international meals, which have more trans fats and other potentially fatal ingredients than one would like to imagine.
America is known for its gigantic proportions and its junk food culture... there’s even a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill. With the world focusing its attention on the expanding waistlines of Americans, many other countries seemed to have flown under the ‘Fat Radar’.
These countries hail from all four corners of the globe and the meals that have originated from these countries are really scary indeed! This article on the Huffington Post website, reveals the ugly truth behind these meals. Some people believe that all Eastern cuisine is healthy (and most of the time this is true), however four of the culprits in this list originate from Asian cities.
My partner actually asked what I was reading about when she saw the dropped-lipped shocked expression on my face and soon mirrored the same expression when I showed the article.
Take a deep breath and hold onto your stomach, here’s a list of the ‘meals’:
Foie Gras Poutine
If it wasn’t already Canada’s favorite junk food, poutine (an artery-clogging combo of french fries, gravy, and cheese) just got worse... with the addition of a rich thick slab of foie gras.
Hot Dog Wrapped in French Fries
In Seoul, South Korea, this junk food hardly seems fitting for the foodstalls that make up the city’s Myeongdong region. It’s basically a hot dog covered in batter and a layer of french fries. Don’t worry... it gets much worse! This crazy combination is then deep-fried and served on a stick to the poor person who actually paid money for it.
Pai Gu Nian Gao
Another Asian city, this time Shanghai. Pai Gu Nian Gao, which is a deep-fried pork chop served with a greasy rice cake and drowned in gravy (yes, it wasn’t a typo...gravy!), is one of the city’s most popular foods. In fact, it’s been around for more than 50 years now.
True Love Roast
Anyone heard of the turducken? It’s one bird stuffed with other birds smaller in size. At England’s Heal Farm, the turducken is called a True Love Roast (the name still baffles me) starts with a turkey on the outside. It’s then stuffed with a goose, then a chicken, then a pheasant, then an Aylesbury duck, then a Barbary duck, then a Poussin and guinea fowl.
Oh yeah, it doesn’t stop there! The poultry list continues with a partridge and a pigeon squab, then a Mallard duck and finally a boned quail. I forgot to mention that each bird comes with its own flavored stuffing. Tipping the scales at an eye-watering 50,000 calories, the True Love Roast should be renamed to something more appropriate
Scotland is the land of deep-fried food... whether its chocolate or ice-cream, they love it. It should then come as no surprise that the Scots have perfected the junk food meal... a deep fried pizza! You can either have it drenched in batter first or go for the ‘healthier’ option and just deep-fry the pizza on its own. To top it off, you get fries with that... loads of them. In fact, if you don’t want them on the side, you could always ask to have them shoved into the deep fried pizza. Yes I’m serious, people actually do this!
How’s the stomach feeling? How are you holding up? Take a few more breaths, sip some water and let’s carry on...
Foie Gras Burger
Who thought Japan was the land of just sushi and sashimi? Nope, there’s loads of different restaurants and menus throughout the country. The standard of food in Japan is some of the best in the world, with Tokyo getting bragging-rights for having the most Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the world.
Unfortunately, even a country like Japan has a few bad apples when it comes to the food industry. Introducing Wendy’s foie gras burger... a regular beef burger with small pieces of foie gras on top. This isn’t necessarily the worst meal on the list, especially when you consider the price of a burger ($16)... it’s safe to assume that the masses won’t be wolfing it down anytime soon.
Deep-Fried Ham Rolls in Condensed Milk
In Kunming, China, the salty-sweet combination has joined the dark side with a dessert made up of sliced ham and sweet dough, all rolled up and plunged into condensed milk (one of my absolute worst things in the world). Okay, that’s not too bad you may think. Well, think again. The whole thing gets deep-fried (as its name suggests) before being served.
Crema de Vie
Off we go to Cuba where the Crema de Vie is a popular holiday drink. By the term ‘holiday’, I hope its only a few-times-a-year beverage because drinking this stuff on a daily basis cannot be good for you. Don’t let the name tempt you either. Cuba’s ‘cream of life’ is similar to an eggnog. It’s a thick, super-sweet drink made from condensed milk (not condensed milk again!), sugar, rum, egg yolks, lemon rinds, and vanilla. If there’s any saving grace, it’s a slight positive that this drink is served in shot glasses.
From the above list, it’s safe to assume that anything containing french fries isn’t exactly the healthiest dish around. Well, in Chile the Chorrillana doesn’t disappoint in this regard. How do you make it? Easy, take a giant pile of fries, slap in a fried egg or two, loads of caramelized onions and a thick sirloin steak.
Greece’s version of the donut may be small but it’s a potent sweet that punches above its weight in the trans fats division. Loukoumades is made of puffed up deep-fried pastry balls soaked in sweet syrup, honey, and cinnamon, and often served with a coating of powdered sugar.
Having been born and raised in South Africa, I must admit I was surprised to see this included on the list. Melkkos is a far cry from some other traditional South African meals which in my opinion are worse in terms of trans fats. Melkkos is basically milk that is thickened and cooked with flour and butter flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and other spices. One of the fattiest South African meals I’ve had owes its name to its reputation. Vetkoek literally translates as ‘fat cake’ and is a traditional Afrikaner pastry. It is dough deep-fried and often filled with mince or with syrup or jam. Magwenya is another version of the vetkoek and originates from the townships throughout Gauteng in South Africa.
After reading this list, it’s clear to see that we have a worldwide problem when it comes to junk food. The real problem however comes down to the choices people make. No one forces them to eat these meals, just like no one forces them to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. Tempting advertising and other marketing ploys can influence some people but at the end of the day, the decision is up to the individual.