Thursday, February 21, 2019

McDonalds in Hong Kong: Falling in Love With The Dollar Menu

burgers and fries in Porto
An excellent burger and fries I ate at the Steak n' Shake
 in Porto, Portugal.  Totally hit the spot.  

I've never eaten so many burgers since traveling abroad.

Never.  I can recall eating a burger at McDonalds twice in the past six years.  I've been there otherwise to get fries or coffee.  And I'd go because it was someone else's idea: a friend, my mom, the kid I was babysitting.  Never on my own volition. 

The McDonalds by my homes in Seattle and Portland had a seedy air about them.  One was three blocks from a methadone clinic, and the ex-heroine addicts who patronized it were prone to skirmishes and what not.  The McDonalds had even hired a policeman to patrol the premises.  And the other, though not near a methadone clinic, attracted some of the same people.  The bathroom was a place where homeless would go to clean up every week or so. 

Not entirely pleasant atmospheres.

Portland has Burgerville, sort of a high-end McDonalds, which I like.  Although I did feel like I was overpaying for a burger and fries.

Burgers Abroad

Anyway, here I am, having lived in Hong Kong, Barcelona, and now Portugal, for just under a year, eating a burger and fries at least twice a month. 

In Hong Kong, truth be told, it was more often than that.

Dining in Porto
This is the McDonald's in Porto--notice the BEER on the menu!
Don't think you'd see that in the US!  

It's comfort thing, maybe. A pining for the familiar. 

But, more so, a predictability thing.  In Hong Kong, when so much of the food was foreign, and I couldn't read the menu, I found myself opting for McDonalds as I'd know more or less what I was going to get. 

American dining in Sham Shui Po
A delicious meal of cheeseburger, waffle fries & Coke at Burgerman
in the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood of Hong Kong.
I've eaten funky burgers; one in a small town in Spain was decent tasting but the bun was more like a pita bread.  And the Shake Shack at Hong Kong was pretty underwhelming.  The bun was flimsy and tasted like Wonder Bread.  Interesting how a bun can totally ruin a good burger. 

But for the most part they've been great, or in the good-enough range anyway. 

I'd duck into a McDonalds at least once a week in Hong Kong.  The city had SO MANY it was hard not to; there was a McDonalds or 7-11 on every block. 

And although McDonalds is always pretty fast, the system abroad is more efficient than I'd experienced in the US.  They have the kiosks where you place and pay for your order, and then a counter where you pick it up. 

After School snacking
Kids lining up after school at the order-kiosk at a McDonalds near Fo Tan, Hong Kong
 And the atmosphere felt more like everybody's place; kids buying after school snacks, elderly people meeting for coffee, teenagers out on a Friday night; all sorts of people lined up at these McDonalds. 

A McDonalds Regular?

Probably the most hilarous take-away from living in Hong Kong is that it's turned me back onto McDonald's.  I can totally see myself hitting them up for a burger when I'm back in the US. 

Do you eat fast food?  Where do you like to go? 

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