I just got back to Kuwait from a trip to Turkey and the contrast in fast food restaurants between the two countries, as well as the United States, is startling. I always thought that the United States was the fast food capital of the world and have always been ashamed that one of the main things people from other countries see and think about the US is fast food. Every country has fast food, also called street food. In the United States, we have perfected fast food that is tasteless, of extremely low quality, expensive for what one gets and is terrible for you.
One simply cannot compare a Big Mac to a Turkish pide or a Kuwaiti schwarma. Yes, we see fast food everywhere in the US, not to mention the ever present and mediocre
franchise restaurants like Applebees and Olive Garden. In Turkey, I saw a few McDonalds and Burger Kings in and outside of Istanbul. In the Ataturk International Airport, they had a Popeyes and a couple other US franchises. There were a few Starbucks in Turkey. I am sure there are more franchises in Turkey, but the norm is local food stands and restaurants. No cookie cutter Subways, Hardees and you name it at every Interstate exit. Almost all the Toll highway places have local restaurants, although I did see Mickie Ds at a couple. And all those local places rocked (I declined to try the McDonalds). I will write other posts about Turkish food and restaurants, but the worst food we had there was Three Maudies.
Kuwait is another story. This is a restaurant city (basically almost all the population lives in Kuwait City). Not only a restaurant city, but a restaurant delivery city, even many upscale restaurants deliver. There are fast food franchises everywhere in a concentration I have never seen before. Every franchise I have ever seen must be here and some in large numbers. There are 75 Starbucks (I looked it up)! I counted at least six in one mall (Avenues). And there are at least six or seven other coffee cafe franchises here, as well. And almost all the franchises deliver. You can also literally get curb service. Pull up in your car in front of a place and someone will be waiting to take your order, bring you the food and take your money. All while you are tying up traffic in many cases.
It simply boggles the mind. All this crap in a city with some really excellent and inexpensive small restaurants and excellent and not so good mid and upper scale choices. And they also have all the mid-range franchise restaurants like TGIF, Applebees, Chilis, et al, that set the standard for mediocre food the American public thinks is good food.