Chinese Fast Food
A broad sweeping statement would be that everyone loves fast food. Whilst we know that this isn’t true for vegetarians, fitness enthusiasts and some people who just don’t like it, we can all agree that many do. I for one
spent wasted far too much money on fast food during my university years. It’s accessible, it’s cheap, it varies from okay to delicious. Usually. But what about Chinese fast food?
I ate fast food in three different cities in China. So whilst I really only refer to Shenyang, you can expect to see the same countrywide. All comparisons will be made against English fast food.
I’ll kick this off with one of my favourite fast food places. You know it, you love it, you’ve been there a hundred times, it’s McDonald’s.
One of my very first experiences when living in China was arriving in Xiamen airport, awaiting my transfer to Shenyang. To my delight, I found a McDonald’s there. Due to the time zone’s, it was the breakfast menu at a time when I was ready for dinner. But not wanting to complain, I dived straight in, trying a Sausage and Egg McMuffin with some orange juice. Half the price of its English counterpart, I couldn’t believe it. Was China a fast food haven? Not quite. ‘Half the price, half the taste’. This has been my rule of thumb when it comes to Chinese McDonald’s. Not that it’s bad, you literally get what you pay for.
A few menu items are missing, certain burgers for example. A few Chinese additions are there, some sort of rice dish. I never tried it. But mostly it’s the same menu you might be used to.
Perhaps Chinese’s McDonald’s biggest draw is the McCafe. Reasonably cheap compared to Starbucks and equally delicious. Combined with the “buy 5 coffee’s get one free” card they offer. It’s a must visit for people who like me, love their coffee.
Finally, the service of McDonald’s seems to be of a pretty high standard. Out of the several locations I have visited, I was greeted with smiles.
Happy meal indeed.
KFC… buckets of mouth-watering delicious chicken. Tubs of gravy so perfect you drag yourself there after a long night of clubbing just to taste it.
However this is not the case in Shenyang. The KFC here carries a menu with an odd assortment of burgers and some few snack options. I have seen some buckets of chicken but they don’t look the same. They definitely don’t have gravy on the menu.
The reason for this I believe is KFC, being quite frequently placed around Shenyang, has been adjusted to suit Chinese tastes. Many of the dishes resemble those in usual Chinese fast food spots.
The coffee is pretty good, the burgers are okay. It’s nothing to write a blog about.
I think my biggest complaint is the poor service I have received from the KFC by my school. I waited 10 minutes to get service with no queue. Four staff members had a conversation with a customer about a troll doll toy, two cooks stood by and did nothing. Finally they began to serve people and the staff member serves someone who just walked in.
I give KFC, 0/1 tubs of gravy.
What I remember of Pizza Hut in England consists of huge pizzas covered in whatever toppings I desired, delivered directly to my door.
Chinese Pizza Hut seems to be more like a ‘fancy’ restaurant than Chinese fast food. The pizza’s are significantly smaller and the dishes are often Chinese styled.
The breakfast menu is incredible however, offering various styles of breakfast. American, Sandwiches, Chinese. With your choice of a drink included, all for the small sum of 25 yuan.
Chinese Pizza Hut could stand alone as its own restaurant. Not really resembling the one I remember back home. Yet still worth a visit if you pass one whilst hungry.
Subway is exactly the same as the English one. Same subs, basically the same price and the same layout.
There you go.
Oh Burger King. I remember being young as several Burger King locations were removed around my town. Whenever I would go, on a rare occasion, I was disappointed in the meal.
Finally I tried Burger King in China and my god. It’s excellent. Huge beefy burgers, cooked in a way that whilst still resembling fast food, it could almost taste fresh. Admittedly, I hadn’t been to Burger King in England so long that it may be exactly the same. But nevertheless it’s worth a visit if you want a burger with a bit more meat than McDonald’s.
The menu usually switches its promotional burgers to give you some options. I distinctly remember a Halloween special. As I am writing this, they have portabella mushroom burgers on offer.
I would go as far as saying Burger King is my favourite Chinese fast food. As opposed to McDonald’s taking the spot in England. Of course, everyone has their own tastes and opinions tend to differ. But I hope you got a clear understanding of what these 5 places have to offer. Should you visit China.
Starbucks and Costa Coffee
I wanted to end this post with an honourable mention to Starbucks and Costa.
In China they very much resemble their English counterparts. The menu varies slightly, more tea and not really any frappuccinos. Whilst being the same price.
Considering the lower cost and salaries in China, Starbucks stands out as a luxurious spot to drink coffee. Understandably, in England you can easily buy cheap coffee that’s great from a cafe. Starbucks is an option. Here in Shenyang however, there really aren’t as many cafes. On the go coffee usually comes from one of the locations I mentioned. Starbucks holding the title of being the most expensive. With Subway, being the least.
It’s worth a visit if you love Starbucks, but I would recommend McCafe or KFC coffee as a more regular alternative for Chinese fast food.
As always, see you next time.