When we first went on an international trip to Italy in 2009, we were both surprised by some of the differences in American and European eating habits. We then found that those differing habits were similar to our experiences in both Asia and Africa. We thought we'll highlight a few.
#1) Portion sizes- Americans have large food and drink portion sizes. Don't be surprised to ask for a regular or large beverage in a European country, and it's the size of small cup in America.
#2) Costs of food- The costs of vegetables and fruits in America are high, and processed food and fast food costs are low. In other countries such as Italy and S. Africa, it's the opposite with fast food chain prices almost double the costs in America, and most of the countries in Europe banning processed foods.
#3 Anti-Social- Americans are known to eat their meals in a hurry and leave very little time for socialization. In France, it's common to have a 3 hour lunch break with several people.
#4 Alcohol- The legal age to drink alcohol in most of the countries we've visited is 18, with it common to drink wine at home starting at a much younger age (wine goes with everything, including breakfast).
#5 Quick & fast delivery foods- Fast food and restaurant chains can be found most anywhere in America. And in many cases, they offer a delivery option. However, in many of the international places we've visited, there were very few local fast food restaurants or places that offered delivery options.
In our travels, we've learned to go to the local grocery store, purchase fresh foods, and cook, if applicable. If we do go out to eat, we've learned to be prepared to sit for awhile as most foods outside of an American chain fast food or restaurant, were prepared fresh. So it's a great time to sip a glass of wine, and enjoy each other's company in real-time conversation.
Have you noticed any differences in eating habits between America and another country you've visited?