Blogs » Ni Howdy - Chinese for Texans » American Fast Food is a Hit


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The Chinese love the Colonel!

KFC is known as "Ken De Ji" in Chinese, which funny enough, sounds a little like "Ken Dodgy." KFC is seriously popular here. The first restaurant opened in Beijing in 1987 and since then has spread out across the country. We have three restaurants in Linyi and they are always packed. The menu features fried chicken, as you would expect, and this is part of its success - Chinese love fried chicken! Dark meat is particularly popular, so a KFC chicken sandwich will feature dark instead of our beloved white meat. While you can find our favorite sides, like coleslaw and mashed potatoes, soup and corn are much more popular. Fried Chicken is so popular here that there is a similar fast food restaurant next to every KFC. This one also suffers from a slightly unfortunate name: Dico's.


Dico's features fried chicken



The Chinese love Uncle Ronald!

While KFC might be king, McDonald's is fast on its heels. Hamburgers are a little more foreign to the Chinese palate, but they've wasted no time in assimilating. Chinese children beg their parents for Happy Meals and thanks to the "One Child Policy," the one child gets pretty much whatever they want. We have one McDonald's outlet and it, too, is always packed. I hang out there for a few hours on weekend mornings, drinking coffee and observing the customers. It is one of the best people watching spots in all of Linyi.

Kid in McDonalds

Here's one little emperor enjoying his meal.

Average McDonald's prices: Big Mac/Quarter Pounder meal=20RMB ($2.93); Happy Meal=14.50-17RMB ($2.12-2.49); Fried Chicken Meal (Yes, even in McDonald's fried chicken rules)=22.80RMB ($3.34); McNugget Meal=18RMB ($2.63). A burger costs 5.50RMB ($0.80), cheeseburger 6RMB ($0.88), McChicken 7RMB ($1.02). Coffee costs 5-7RMB ($0.73-1.02). (KFC is similarly priced.)

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut

The Chinese love pizza!

Pizza Hut in America is just one of a handful of pizza restaurants. Pizza Hut in China is a high-class eating establishment, with a hefty price tag to match. When this restaurant opened in Linyi last year, there was a line out the door. Those that can afford the 100RMB pizzas wanted a taste of the high life. My husband and I eat pizza a few times per month. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Pizza Hut back in the US. Here, I view it as a treat. Pizza Hut is one of the few places in Linyi where we can also get desserts in the Western style. One evening, completely on a crazy whim, a group of expats and I ordered every dessert on the menu:

Pizza Hut Dessert

Dessert Overload

You might be interested to know that of all the desserts, banana split, cheesecake, waffles, etc, our Chinese friend liked pecan pie the best. Maybe she's got a little southerner in her!

Back in Texas, a pizza is typically topped with pepperoni, sausage or hamburger. In China, you can order a supreme or American, (pepperoni & cheese), but you can also order a teriyaki pizza topped with dried squid, sausage and teriyaki sauce. Another popular pizza is chicken with Chinese spices. Pasta and Chinese fried rice are also on the menu. The average small pizza (6 inches) costs 70RMB ($10) and the average large pizza (12 inches) costs 100RMB ($15). That's costly even by US standards!

Pizza Hut Takeout

Takeout Box

Pizza Hut Reheat

Reheat Instructions

Here's an interesting difference: Pizza Hut recommends you reheat your pizza in a frying pan. The reason? Ovens are rare in China!

Chinese love their American fast food and no doubt Mao would be rolling over in his grave, had he actually been buried. Tomorrow I will tell you about Chinese food, I hope you come back!

Got a question about life in China? Please leave a comment!