Beyond McDonald's: 5 Awesome International Burger Chains

Many international burger chains offer specialty burgers inspired by the food culture of the region.Many international burger chains offer specialty burgers inspired by the food culture of the region.During your travels around the world - whether you're visiting Beijing or spending a night in Stockholm - it is quite possible (if not certain) that you will run into the familiar golden arches of a McDonald's. With more than 33,000 McDonald's in 119 countries all over the world, filling your craving for a Big Mac is definitely not a hard task, even when far away from American soil. But if you're feeling the need for a new burger to satisfy your hunger in a hurry when you're abroad, a local international burger chain might be worth a visit.

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In fact, there are several countries where other chains braved the risk of competing with the "burger giant" McDonald's, opening up burger locations to provide an alternative place for visitors to get their burger fix. Some international burger chains, like Belgian Quick, have branched out across borders, while others, like Indian Burgs, are located inside one nation only. In Finland, there are almost three times more local Hesburger restaurants than there are McDonald's.

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While the basic burger in its different sizes and with various toppings is still a staple on the menu at most of these international burger chains, regional specialties revealing the local culture are what you would you should try if you're visiting one.

Hesburger, Finland

In Finland, the local burger chain Hesburger is even more popular than McDonald's, with 227 locations around the country, and branches in Russia, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The menu features a list of classic burgers, fries, and soft-serve ice cream. To add a Finnish twist, customers can choose a burger with organic rye bread as a bun substitution.

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Quick, Belgium

Started in Belgium, and now with additional locations in France and Luxembourg, Quick is one of the biggest fast-food burger chains in Europe, ranked just after McDonald's and Burger King. In the summer of 2013, the chain launched a Homer Simpson-themed donut burger menu, with a donut-shaped bun for their burger, and sides like "cheesy donut rings."

Max Burgers, Sweden

Sweden's biggest burger chain, Max Burger, was established in 1968, and with recent expansions to Norway and Denmark, 96 restaurants are now open. The restaurant offers a "Deli Fresh" line of items with low glycemic index, such as a burger without a bun and a bean salad. Max also highlights the use of only Swedish beef in their patties.

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Gourmet Burger, United Kingdom

Burger chain Gourmet Burger was started in London in 2001 by three friends from New Zealand, and has since then become a popular burger destination around the U.K. The specialty Kiwiburger is an interesting combination of beetroot, egg, pineapple, aged Cheddar, salad, mayo, and relish, and the buyer is suggested to donate an additional 25 cents to a charity for the kiwi bird. The menu also offers side snacks such as haloumi cheese bites and mixed olives.

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Steers, South Africa

Steers is South Africa's leading burger brand, which, according to its website, has won the Leisure Options Award for the Best Burger for the past 17 years. The burgers, grouped into categories like "the royals" and "the kings," are 100 percent beef and flame-grilled, and served with a side of handmade "chips," or french fries. The biggest burger on the menu, the Mighty King Steer, consists of three 100-gram patties and three slices of cheese.

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-Elsa Säätelä, The Daily Meal