I have always had a shameful fascination with American fast food chains abroad. I don’t even remember the last time I ate a Big Mac at home, but put me in a new country, and I’ll be scarfing down a super sized fries the minute I can’t handle another bite of pad thai.
McDonalds is probably the ultimate in globalization and product adaptation case studies, so this is not really a bad habit… just research. So in the name of educating people everywhere, here is the run down on a few Asian countries’ McDonalds:
- McDonalds Indonesia: The standout quirk at this McDonalds was neither the McFlurry nor the Mac, but instead the unusual side order. Not feeling fries? Dive into a white rice patty–not to be confused with a rice paddy–with your burger. I don’t get why anyone would make that substitution, but hey! The Indonesians were lovin’ it.
- McDonalds Thailand: Thailand has managed to Westernize faster than its SE Asian neighbors, so I suppose it was no surprise to me that the McDonalds menu was pretty much the same. Besides the wai-ing Ronald at the door and an entree option of spicy pork and basil, this McDonalds was not so shocking after all!
- McDonalds India: Devoid of clown imagery, the Indian McDonalds was just as different as everything else is in India. From a beef free menu of Maharaja Mac and Spicy Paneer Sandwiches, I selected a simple chicken sandwich. However, as not to be overshadowed by its Indian brothers, this sandwich came with a Puri Puri Spice Mix and a Shake Shake Bag for mixing it all together. The unique culinary experience at this McDonalds might be as distinct as they come.
Have you had any interesting observations at a McDonalds or other fast food joint abroad? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!