Did you know that Taco Bell is in 26 different countries all around the world?
It’s true and each country has a specific menu that is tailored to their cuisine. I’ve been to Taco Bell in India, Iceland and Puerto Rico (I know this isn’t a country, but their menu is different from stateside TBs). Taco Bell is on another level in international locations. It is seen as upscale dining because it is an American franchise, plus the vibe is much hipper so more people tend to sit and eat rather than order food for carry-out. I’ll do a quick breakdown of the international locations I have been to.
Taco Bell India
By far my favorite location outside of the US. The menu caters to the Indian palate. Dishes include Chicken Tikka Burritos, paneer tacos, fajita veggie tacos and plus the classic Chik Star (crunchwrap with crispy chicken) and the naked chicken chalupa. The menu successfully infuses Indian spices into Mexican Inspired meals. For example, the tikka sauce has prominent notes of cumin, coriander and chili powder, as does the fajita vegetables. The paneer is cubed, seasoned and seared and pairs beautifully with tomato salsas and tomato based sauced they serve. Plus, all the dishes are way spicier than their US counterparts. The heat is appreciated but not overwhelming, and it will make you grab a nice ice-cold beer, which they serve at all locations and not at special cantinas. The go-to beer Kingfisher, a crisp lager that tends to cool down your taste buds after the explosion of flavor each bite has.
Taco Bell Iceland
The menu here is similar to what we have in the US. The biggest difference here is that Iceland has the Volcano Sauce. This creamy, spicy, tangy sauce once graced the stateside menu, but sadly was removed years ago, never to return. I made sure to get a bean burrito with Volcano sauce because I wanted that sauce to shine. It was everything I remembered it to be and I wish I could have brought back a gallon of it back home. My only guess as to why Volcano Sauce exists in Iceland is that the Iceland is known for the lava fields. Plus this location is a party. Music is blasting, it is 2 floors and there is a never-ending stream of customers coming through the door. At one point, the line extended outside. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a bouncer at the door.
Taco Bell Puerto Rico
This menu has all of the island vibes. $2 beers (Medalla), $3 margaritas (Corona and Jose Cuervo) plus fried fish and avocado gorditas! This isn’t even a cantina, it’s a regular TB. The usual gang of hot sauces are available, however, the sauces here pack a spicier punch. Maybe it is less vinegary and more peppery, but I know for sure it tastes better here than at home. Another difference between the PR menu and stateside menu is the inclusion of way better desserts. This one has churro with a chocolate dipping sauce, a Twix/Kit Kat quesadilla and ice cream, which are far tastier than the Cinnatwists and Cinnabon delights.
Now if only Taco Bell would bring these international delights to the US so you can all try them. Here’s to hoping!