Best Junk Food In the World!

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America is known for many things, one is its love affair with junk food. Not the usual junk you would associate with the well-known multinational companies but well done junk food that leaves you wanting more. After years of travel to over 50 countries, investigating and researching the best junk food, I bring you my findings, American junk food is the best! I’m not even American, I’m an Aussie, but nothing can compare to the greasy, cheesy, carb-heavy, junk food delights we can find in America.

American Junk food with Turkey legs at Disney
My 9 year old enjoying a large turkey leg at Disney World, Florida. New junk food eating experiences for the whole family.

Best Junk Food in the World

My home country of Australia has plenty of junk food, as do most western countries, but it’s mostly limited to the big chains with a few local specialities. Yes, we do have Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC and Maccas in Australia.

I would routinely go months without so much as touching any junk food back home. In fact, when we planned our US trip we were determined to avoid the junk here, despite being on a tight budget and without cooking facilities.

That all changed when we saw the sheer volume and variety of American junk food on offer. Everything from a Philly cheese steak, chilli cheese dogs, tacos, sloppy Joes, brisket burgers and my new favourite, nachos with the works.

nachos with all the trimmings
This enormous plate of nachos was sold as a starter!!

Is This Now the World Travel Chef American Junk Food Tour?

Watching Man Vs Food had us inspired as we moved across Asia to try a few new foods but became a whole new challenge when we we docked in New York.

I loved the whole deli eating scene in NYC, I found a new deli to try every day. The huge slices of pizza at just $1 where some of the best I’d ever tried. The Philly cheese steak was another favourite as we headed upstate towards Canada via Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA.

American junk food with the philly cheese dog
Disney World does a wicked Philly cheese steak hot dog.
Is squirty cheese available outside of the states?

 American Junk Food IS Cheaper

We have on occasion stopped in the supermarkets to get the healthier options such as fresh fruit, cheese and yogurt, but the cost was usually higher than the neon lit delights along the US highways. But this does allow us to balance out the great with the good.

A limit of one large junk fest a day normally means we can skip a meal. We end up saving both ways.

an american junk food favourite chicken and biscuits
Biscuits have a whole new meaning in the US, as my kids found out when they ordered fried chicken and biscuits in South Carolina

Is My Fitness Suffering?

Most would assume that my fitness would have dropped, but the reality is that I’m still running sub 5 minute km which isn’t too shabby. I must admit that if I had to run more than about 12 km I wouldn’t feel so confident.

The sugars keep the pace but not the distance, is the rule. I guess I won’t be putting nachos into my saddle bag on the next ironman race.

Of course we have put on some winter pounds that have kept us warm in the current polar vortex that is sweeping the US. We were pretty skinny when we left Asia after months of healthy food, so nobody is too worried.

egg cheese burger kfc
This eggy, cheesy burger was a breakfast item from KFC. Looked terrible but tasted pretty good.

What’s Your Favourite American Junk Food?

Ollie loving this American Junk food in Georgia
Ollie looking very pleased with this pizza in Darien, Georgia

We’re really enjoying our American junk food, there is plenty of variety and plenty of new things to try. What’s your favourite, can you recommend anything? Is there one dish that should be nominated as the best junk food in the world?

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Chef is James Long, a professional chef, world traveler and endurance athlete. He has spent almost a decade traveling and working internationaly.

17 thoughts on “Best Junk Food In the World!”

  1. I thought this was going to be pure torture for me, missing the junk food. I managed to get through the post only drooling one bucket. 🙂 I do miss a few of the junk foods from the states, especially Mexican food.

    • Thanks for reading, I know what you mean. Luckily as we explore each country the delights on offer make up for what we miss from the last one.

  2. This is why Americans struggle with obesity. The junk food is inexpensive and is often tasty…in a heavy, greasy way. Oh, it’s totally fine and fun for a road trip like yours, don’t get me wrong, but you can see why healthy eating is a challenge for many Americans.

    • Thanks for reading Renee, yes the long term effect on low income families wouldn’t be good. I’ve started making sure I keep running. A small measure to off set the onslaught 🙂

      • Do they have Oki Dog in Florida?!? I thought it was just an LA institution, but of course we’re talking decades ago now. I don’t think it was the cleanest place either, but after a night of drinks and dancing, NOTHING hit the spot like an oki dog. 🙂

        Are you going to New Orleans? My husband’s from there, and we’ve got lots of food recommendations if you want them! Both high-end and delightfully low-end….

        • No, I’m no sure about the Oki Dog yet. More hopeful that it would be available. We will make plans tomorrow about our last 10 days. Either New Orleans or key West. Not sure as yet. If it is New Orleans I will definitely hit you up about food ideas.

  3. OMG…to be honest these pictures make me feel sick…all that grease.. I love a little bit of junkfood once in a while but looking at this all together.. Great post! 🙂

    • Thanks for reading, I’m hearing you Emiel. We didn’t nor could we try all this in one day. Survived this over a 3 week period 🙂

  4. This is all great news for us Chef, we’ll be able to split a starter between the two of us as a main meal when we hit America eventually! We have seen plenty of junk food here in Asia too, everything in moderation I guess!

    • Thanks for reading Andrew, Yes you will have no worries splitting the starters between the two of you. You can get great food as well but have to really look a lot harder. Tough when you’re driving along the major roads.

    • Thanks for reading Valen, Yes sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and just eat up! Looking forward to all the Cajun food as we cut across the deep south.


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