I was browsing the net when I was reminded of this – that when you live abroad, a trip to a fast food joint may not be so fast after all, solely because you spend so much time staring at the unfamiliar items on the menu and wondering what you should have.
Back home, things are easy. When I pop into McDonald’s, I know the menu by heart and my stomach tells me exactly what I should get. When I stepped into my first McDonald’s in Belfast, the menu threw me off.
The layout was different. The items were different. Apart from the usual hamburgers, cheeseburgers and BigMacs, nearly everything else was different. No chicken wings there, nor McSpicy burgers (which I usually go for). There weren’t any filet-o-fish burgers either, which are popular among many Singaporeans. In fact, none of the fast food chains here offer fish burgers, which many from home will find odd.
Burger King here has far more delicious varieties of big, juicy beef and bacon burgers, so I’m always spoilt for choice when I enter one. I stare greedily at all the burgers on display, wanting them all and unable to settle for just one.
At KFC, I was aghast to discover that it doesn’t sell mashed potatoes – ask any Singaporean and they’ll tell you that KFC without its creamy mashed potatoes topped with delicious gravy is simply not KFC. I literally stood there, stunned, for a good few seconds while my brain tried to take in this shocking realisation. The meals offered at KFC are so different too – all kinds of strange combinations, none of them really what I wanted and most offering too much food for one.
I was surprised as well that the cashiers give out salt sachets – as if fast food isn’t already overladen with salt – but not ketchup. Or perhaps because people here consume so much ketchup, staff would rather they help themselves to however much they need.
How about you? What are some of your surprise discoveries at fast food joints overseas? Share with me some of your finds, as well as items you wished you could get anywhere in the world – mine would be the Ebi (prawn) burger that’s only found in Japan’s McDonald’s.