The world’s first hamburger doesn’t come from where you think it comes from. It wasn’t invented in the United States, and it didn’t originate in Germany. No, the world’s first hamburger comes from China.
If you’re scratching your head right now, you’re not alone. But Chinese hamburgers are very real and they definitely predate the hamburgers we call our own in the U.S. Known as rou jia mo, which translates to “meat burger” or “meat sandwich,” they consist of chopped meat inside a pita-like bun, and they’ve been around since the Qin dynasty, from about 221 BC to 207 BC. Despite the differences between this Chinese street food and our American-style burgers, the rou jia mo “has been called the world’s first hamburger.”