Many of the biggest fast food chains started life in the US and now sell their burgers, fries and fried chicken all over the world.
But though their food may look the same in the UK as it does across the pond, the taste can actually be very different, according to a new TV investigation.
American students studying in Britain try UK versions of their favourite fast food treats for the first time on tonight’s episode of Channel 4’s Tricks of the Restaurant Trade.
Big Macs are much smaller in the UK than in the US, they find, while McDonald’s fries have far fewer ingredients in the UK but don’t have the same crunch, they claim.
American student trying British versions of their favourite fast food for the first time said the UK Big Mac (left) is smaller but tastes the same as the US version (right)
What’s the real difference between UK and US fast food?
UK: Sells Rice Boxes and fries. Fried chicken tastes the same.
US: Sells biscuits and mashed potato with gravy.
UK: Big Mac is smaller but tastes the same. ‘Floppy’ fries but contain just a few ingredients.
US: Fries contain many more ingredients including beef flavouring and preservatives.
UK: No GM ingredients. Tastes the same as the US.
US: GM ingredients ‘likely to be present’.
The students first try British KFC, and explain how the famous fried chicken chain doesn’t sell fries in the US.
The US branches also don’t sell Riceboxes, which were introduced in the UK to offer a healthier alternative to fried chicken and fries. They usually contain Original Recipe chicken, rice, salad, a salsa and dressing.
The students aren’t convinced by the taste of the Riceboxes, however – but say that the UK fried chicken tastes the same as it does in the US.
In the US, fried chicken comes with mashed potato and gravy, as well as ‘biscuits’ – similar to an unsweetened scone – which aren’t on sale in the UK.
McDonald’s had the biggest difference in taste between US and UK versions of the same fast food, according to the students.
The group say the UK Big Mac is ‘smaller’ but has the ‘McDonald’s Big Mac taste’.
But they are distinctly unimpressed by the British version of the chain’s signature French Fries.
KFC sells Riceboxes (left) in the UK but not the US. But the students said that the fried chicken (right) tastes the same in both countries
Domino’s pizzas in the US (left) often contain GM ingredients, while in the UK, Domino’s does not use any GM ingredients on its pizzas (right)
One says the UK fries were ‘like flimsy potatoes,’ adding that the US fries ‘don’t bend like this’. They were given a rating of just 0.5 out of 5.
However their opinion changes when presenter Sophie Morgan reveals that the UK fries contain just potato, salt, and two types of oil, while the US version contains more than a dozen ingredients, including several types of oil, preservatives, and beef flavouring.
The students have no idea the US fries contained so many ingredients, calling the revelation ‘disgusting’ and crowning British fast food the winner.
The show also reveals that Domino’s in the UK doesn’t use any GM ingredients in its pizzas, while in the US, the chain says they are ‘likely to be present’.
However the students can’t taste a difference between the two when tucking into one of the UK pizzas.
One comments: ‘Pizza’s pizza. It’s one of the staples of society.’
Tricks of the Restaurant Trade airs on Channel 4 tonight at 8.30pm.