Don't try this at home

At Subway in Beirut in 2005.

I really can’t remember the last time I went to a McDonald’s restaurant in America. It’s just not good food there. If you eat there in the States, it’s usually kind of a necessary evil.

But in foreign countries, American fast food restaurants like McDonald’s are good eatin’. No matter what country you’re in, you can be sure that the menu is about the same. The quality of the food is generally taken up a notch. And the patronage of foreign McDonald’s restaurants is definitely of a hipper class than in America – any McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow was the happening place to be and a desirable place for young people to work. Besides a few local additions to the menu (like a McTurko shwarma), the atmosphere is entirely familiar, which can be a welcome relief when you’re traveling in a foreign country (also a relief: the clean restrooms you can count on finding there).

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I enjoy the occasional trip to McDonald’s while overseas, especially to visiting family members. I remember when Jeremy’s brother and sister came to visit us in Syria and we traveled north to Turkey. When it came time to have dinner in Istanbul, the only place Jeremy and I wanted to go was McDonald’s (Syria doesn’t have McDonald’s). His brother and sister couldn’t understand what our problem was. My 12-year-old brother, on the other hand, was excited to go to the McDonald’s in Irbid. I think he was tired of hummus and baba ghanoush.

So I’ll admit it here, openly: My name is Bridget, and I patronize American fast food restaurants in foreign countries. I’ve been to Sbarro’s in Moscow, McDonald’s in the Czech Republic, Burger King in Germany, Subway in Lebanon, Cinnabon in Egypt, and Pizza Hut in Jordan. But I wouldn’t call that a problem.
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