One of the advantages to the globalization of chain restaurants is the specific dishes that appear on the menus in certain countries.
Example: When I went to Amsterdam in 2009 #keptitclassy, the girls I traveled with and I were encouraged to try a McKroket, which is deep fried roll filled with beef ragout , topped with a mayonnaise-y sauce. Of course, we did. And it was horrible. BUT it says something that McDonald’s has adjusted their menu to incorporate the traditional foods of the countries it’s invaded (the traditional Dutch kroket is a classic).
The same is true in China.
Not only have I had the opportunity to check out the menu of McDonald’s, I’ve also frequented Pizza Hut, and made occasional appearances at KFC. KFC isn’t my fast food venue of choice because the dishes there are nothing like KFC in America. Well, that, and I don’t particularly like fried chicken #sorryAmerica. Anywho, the Big 3 have menus I’ve found delightful in their catering to Chinese taste buds:
At KFC, the most popular item is the ‘zinger burger.’ (Side note: a ‘burger’ in China equals chicken on a bun.) The zinger can be ordered in ‘zingy’ or ‘not zingy’ #sospicyornotspicy. I had one #notzingy, and I was expecting a chicken breast, the usual meat on a chicken sandwich.
Not the case. The meat was a ‘collection’ that was mashed together and fried. Some was dark, some was white. In China, what does it matter? It’s all chicken #istheirmindset. I couldn’t wrap my head around the zinger.
The other item I tried was the popcorn chicken. It was surprisingly zingy #spicy, but not my fave only because I didn’t get full. A good snack food, not a good meal food.
The fries at KFC=winners. Salty and greasy, just like America. It also has ice cream and Pepsi #rare. And egg tarts #random?
The ketchup at KFC, I must note, tastes different #I’maconnoisseur. It’s spicier.
I’m more familiar with the menu at MickeyD’s because I have a weekly brunch with the Canadians every Saturday morning #theygetbreakfastIgetlunch.
At both McDonald’s and KFC, they have the menu printed #likeaplacematandlaminated in English so us foreigners can just point and say ‘one of these please.’ Quite handy.
On the menu is the traditional hamburger #myfavorite, a Big Mac, and a double cheeseburger. Other than that, the burgers are also chicken on a bun #morepopular.
Corn is offered as a side.
A tarot pie is a popular dessert- tarot is a veggie like a sweet potato, but purple. They’re pretty tasty.
Of course, McDonald’s has fries. They’re the same, as is the ketchup.
The ice cream at McDonald’s is so popular there is a special window at the front specifically for it #onthego.
There is no drive through and no sweet tea. And no supersizes. There is a playplace, though #childhoodmemories.
Wednesday #tomorrow is Pizza Hut day with the Canadians. It’s also the highlight of my week.
Pizza Hut in China is a swanky place. It has greeters at the door. It’s fairly expensive #forChina– the prices are about the same as in America.
The menu has an appetizers section: escargot, chicken kiev, waffle fries, onion rings, mashed potatoes
A drinks section: any kind of juice or smoothie imaginable #notmadewithmilk, beer, wine, coke, tea, coffee
A main dishes section: steak #seriously, any kind of pasta, lasagna
A desserts section: chocolate cake, ice cream, an assortment of fruit
A salad section: salad with fish, salad with fruit, salad with dressing (no ranch)
A rice section: fried rice, rice with a topping, steamed rice, etc. There are a lot of options here.
And, of course, a pizza section. The ‘cheese lovers‘ pizza is the most expensive, 12 RMB more than a usual #4kindsofcheese. Topping options in the pizza section include #notlimitedto: veggie lovers, complete with corn, New Orleans, with bacon, pepperoni, onions, shrooms, and cheese, Atlantic seafood, with salmon, Seafood Medley, with shrimp and a kind of fish #Iskipthatone, Supreme #typical, and Hawaiian, with pineapple and Canadian bacon.
There’s no straight pepperoni, and no ranch to dip. There is, however, the option to add a cheesy crust to a pizza #suchawin.
The most difficult part of Pizza Hut is getting the attention of the waitress. We’ve all learned the word for waitress, and are super good at gesturing what we want to order.
The best part of the Hut is the leftovers. We each order our own large #America’smedium pizza and take the leftovers home– delicious breks the next morning.
All in all, the fast food restaurants have done well in China– every time I go, they’re packed (and I feel like a walking stereotype for going to eat there). The addition of the cultural dishes has made my trips much more amusing, and hopefully makes the food more enjoyable for the eaters.