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Fast food's new offerings: the waffle taco, the fry burger and more

Never mind the cronut burger - restaurant operators such as Taco Bell and Burger King are using strange concoctions to get customers' attention

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Toronto’s EPIC Burgers and Waffles made headlines worldwide with its “cronut burger” – a concoction offered at the Canadian National Exhibition that topped a cronut with a beef patty. Then, disaster: more than 200 people reported food-borne illness that was traced back to the cronut burger’s maple bacon jam. The dish is now off the menu. But other unlikely fast-food combinations are everywhere.

LE DOLCI

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The "ramen burger" - a hamburger combined with fried discs of ramen noodles and a secret sauce - got its creator, Japanese chef Keizo Shimamoto, an appearance on Good Morning America even before he started selling them Aug. 3 at a Brooklyn food market.

Keizo Shimamoto

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Big fast-food chains are well aware of the novelty value of wild combinations. This year, Taco Bell introduced a "waffle taco," filled with sausage, scrambled eggs and syrup, to help it expand its breakfast sales - a growth target for its parent company Yum Brands Inc. The item has reportedly sold well. This month, the chain introduced it to about 100 restaurants in three U.S. states.

Taco Bell

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Burger King will start offering a “French Fry Burger” as of Sept. 1. The dish places four fries on top of a standard beef burger. The price: $1, designed to match bargain items from competitors such as McDonald's.

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KFC first introduced its Double Down - a sandwich that replaces the bun with two deep-fried chicken pieces - back in 2010, and it's come back for periodic turns in the spotlight. (With 30 grams of fat and 1,740 milligrams of sodium, it might do serious health damage to customers if it was a regular menu item.)

Dan Kremer/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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The American chain Dennys now offers a fried cheese melt, which features fried mozzarella cheese sticks and melted processed cheese. It is served with fries.

Denny’s

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Earlier this month, Dutch and British scientists tested a hamburger made with in-vitro meat - beef cultured from cattle stem cells. “Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. We haven’t altered them in any way,” scientist Mark Post said in a statement. “For it to succeed it has to look, feel and hopefully taste like the real thing.” Some diners will be uneasy with the idea of cultured meat, but it may seem less scary than some fast-food alternatives.

David Parry/REUTERS

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