I don’t know if you could call the McDonald’s (McDonald’ses?) in China joyful or blissful, exactly, but they are cleaner than the ones back home, and they deliver, too.
The burger battle is just the latest skirmish over intellectual property in China, where pirated movies and merchandise are giving way to knockoff services and retail businesses. Photos of a fake Apple store in southern Yunnan province went viral on the Internet last year.
Global restaurant chains have become popular targets as well. Big Chinese cities are filled with knockoffs such as Dairy Fairy, Pizza Huh and Jambo Juice.Then there’s OFC, or Obama Fried Chicken, a restaurant in Beijing that was threatened with legal action by KFC, which has zeroed in on China as a major market for growth.
I particularly love Pizza Huh[?] and OFC. I wonder if they realized the latter is implicitly racist. My guess is no, that it was strictly to capitalize — literally — on Obama’s name, which apparently moves product here. (There’s a high-class gentleman’s club in Shanghai that opened in 2010 called the Obama Club.)
As for CaliBurger, I was kind of intrigued, despite being appalled, you know, morally. But an inside source, a restaurant critic for a local website, tells me it “wallows in lameness. Carl’s Jr. is better and half the price.” The customer reviews on Smart Shanghai corroborate his take. 48 RMB (~$8) for a fast-food burger? Come on.
Still, ya gotta respect the website, which actually linked to the above story on its Reviews page for some reason. I especially love the CaliBurger Girls. I voted for Melanie because one of her hobbies is speaking Tagalog, which is, like, totally my favorite hobby, too.
Caption from a picture in this amazing photoset, which I linked to earlier today.
When I was a kid, my dad was one of those fathers who really did tell me to finish my dinner, because “there are people starving in China, you know.” (And yes, I’m aware how much that ages me.) As The Atlantic points out, it’s difficult to imagine fathers using that same line today and getting away with it. (“There are people starving in Bangladesh, you know” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…)
So far, my China experience has rarely extended beyond the borders of Shanghai proper, but if this city is any indication of the country’s eating habits — and it sounds like it is — the figures above don’t surprise me at all. Fast food chains abound, convenience stores are ubiquitous (as are the snacks therein, which many people seem to consider meals), and, while I haven’t seen any morbidly obese locals, I’ve been shocked by the prevalence of chubby toddlers and roundish adults. Flat-out fatness can’t be that far down the line.