The burger is a study in contradictions: It’s quintessentially all-American, yet still manages to be a perennial favorite around the world. In fact, the burger’s many virtues—adaptability, portability, a talent for dressing up or down—mean that it’s a beloved handheld meal in Dallas, Dubai, and everywhere in between.

But don’t hop on an international flight and just expect to find a patty topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion. The world has so much more to offer than bland stereotypes, from English puffy white rolls used as baps, to Middle Eastern camel-meat patties. Fast-food chains and savvy chefs alike are well aware of the burger’s intrinsic appeal: It is both a icon of globalization, propagated by franchises from places as distant as India and Japan, and a blank canvas for locals to add their own flair.

We recently showed you the building blocks to create the perfect burger. But let’s step back for a moment to admire the inspired (and decked-out!) re-workings of this American classic across the globe.

Canada: Poutine Burger

Poutine-Burger

If you thought fries were the ideal drunk food, you were wrong. If you thought poutine—the Québécois dish of fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy—was the best drunk food, then you were also wrong. The Most Perfect Drunk Food Award actually goes to Montréal’s hangover burger, a vertically inclined creation of beef patty, fries, cheese curds, gravy, bacon, American cheese, fried egg, caramelized onion, and truffle oil—all sandwiched between a seeded bun. (Photo: Yelp

Where to get it: Burger Bar Crescent, Montréal, Quebec

India: McAloo Tikki

McAloo-Tikki

Vegetarians, avert your eyes, because you’re about to find out how much you’ve been getting shafted. U.S. McDonald’s locations have no meatless burger option (even the fries contain beef flavoring). But in India, customers can select from several veggie options, including the McAloo Tikki, a patty composed of potatoes, peas, and Indian spices, coated with breadcrumbs and fried, then served with tomato, onion, and tomato mayonnaise between buns. (Photo: McDonald’s India)

Where to get it: Various McDonald’s India locations


United Kingdom: Borough Market Burger

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Borough Market, the Central London outdoor food hall said to be older than London itself, is a fine place to buy bread, produce, meats, and sweets. But it’s also a good spot to try an Anglicized take on the hamburger. Swing by stall 50, Northfield Farms, to pick up a burger in a bap (England’s puffy white bread roll), made with a patty of grass-fed Leicestershire beef and served with mature English cheddar and griddled onions. (Photo: theblogaboutnothinginlondon.blogspot)

Where to get it: Northfield Farm, Borough Market, London

Japan: MOS Rice Burger

mosriceburger

Long before the dawn of the Ramen Burger™, there was the MOS rice burger—a sandwich of sorts made not with traditional bread buns, but pressed cakes of cooked white rice instead. At MOS, Japan’s second largest fast-food franchise, the legendary rice burgers have a range of filling options, including hayashi, a thick beef stew, or a mixture of burdock root, lotus root, carrots, and dried seaweed for vegetarians. (Photo: chopsticksny.com)

Where to get it: Various MOS Burger locations in Japan and other parts of Asia


Singapore: Shiok Shiok Chicken Satay Burger

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Last summer, McDonald’s Singapore started carrying two new burgers: the Shiok Shiok Beef Satay, and the Shiok Shiok Chicken Satay, made with grilled skinless chicken thigh, peanut satay sauce, cucumber slices, and onion. Wash it down with a Strawberry McFizz (another delight that doesn’t exist anywhere but Singapore), and you’ve got quite the shiok (Singaporean slang for satisfying) experience. (Photo: chueonit.wordpress.com)

Where to find it: Various McDonald’s Singapore locations

South Korea: Kimchi Burger

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Korea’s most popular condiment is so revered that it plays the starring role in a gourmet burger. At Mira Diner, the Daehanmin burger is topped with a generous amount of garlicky fermented cabbage kimchi, along with lettuce, tomato, melted cheese, and a spicy sauce. (Photo: ozuke.com)

Where to get it: Mira Diner, Seoul, South Korea  


Morocco: Lamb Beldi Burger

Lamb-Beldi-Burger

In Fez, you can enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes—eating burgers—from a North African point of view, thanks to the version at Café Clock. British-born chef and owner Mike Richardson gives the cheeseburger a beldi (Moroccan Arabic for locally-produced) sensibility by composing a lamb patty topped with cucumber yogurt salsa and fresh mint on a square-shaped golden bun. (Photo: tracywongphoto.com)

Where to find it: Café Clock, Fez, Morocco

France: Super Duck Burger

Super-Duck-Burger

Only Parisians would think to elevate an everyday hamburger patty by grinding duck breast into a patty, then grilling it and serving it with sautéed mushrooms, sliced fresh goat cheese, caramelized onions, sprouts, and a brioche burger bun. (Photo: myparisianlife.com)

Where to find it: H.A.N.D., Paris, France


Spain: McIberica Burger

McIberica-Burger

Spain’s signature ingredients—like cured Ibérico ham, manchego cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil—are all delicious on their own. Put them together with a beef patty and two fluffy, bakery-style buns, and you have the McIberica, Spain’s incredible rendition of a cheeseburger.  (Photo: thechemistandthemechanic.blogspot.com)

 

Where to find it: Various McDonald’s Spain locations

United Arab Emirates: Camel Burger

Camel-Burger

It makes sense that a burger served in the middle of the desert would be made with camel meat. And in typical Dubai style, said camel burger is also dressed up to the nines, with frizzled onions, truffle-infused mayonnaise, and a black sesame and gold-dusted bun, just to gild the lily. (Photo: blog.conciergedubai.com)

Where to find it: Emirates Palace, Dubai, United Arab Emirates