Sunday, February 7, 2010

Universal Language of the Golden Arches

One thing I've found in my travels over the years, is that most big cities you visit will have some golden arches to make you feel at home - yes, McDonald's.  Maybe not the thing we as Americans want to be known for, but it's there.  While I usually try to avoid American fast-food in order to experience more local options;  it's funny how each Mickey D's has some special touches for the locals (i.e. pineapple in Hawaii). 

*Not Singapore; from earlier trip to Budapest.  Piece of trivia: First McDonald's opened in Eastern Europe.

Living in Singapore for 3 years, I've decided I'm going to McDonald's - this is no longer a vacation and when I crave it, I'm going for it.  I've visited McDonald's a few times and noted some of the unique Singaporean qualities to share with you. Would you like any of these to be implemented in your local fast food restaurant?
  • No detailed menus - only the pictures.  It confuses me because I think there are other options to oder.  Refer to the next point. *Oh - and NO dollar menus!! (in fact you can eat local food cheaper than fast food)
  • Burgers/Sandwiches are double on the picture menu.  No single, regular cheeseburger - only the double (but I'm told you can still order a single).  Of course, I don't special order and get the double - ugh.
  • There are also chicken wings on the menu - in addition to the chicken nuggets.  Haven't tried them yet.  Have also seen fried shrimp (prawn) on several fast food menus.
  • If you thought the fries were salty in the U.S., they seem to be extra salty x 2 here.
  • The large drinks are probably still smaller than our small drinks.  While sandwich proportions are whacked out, drink proportions are much better.
  • To the condiments! Instead of two ketchups and a BBQ pump, it's two chili sauce pumps and only one ketchup.
  • There aren't mini-cups for ketchup, instead there are these almost tray-like discs.  (see pic)
  • Can't find an open table? Just sit where there are open seats.  Yes, you do not have the luxury of finding your own table. Everywhere in Singapore, people share tables and eat with random strangers.  No socializing is required - it's just known that there is not enough space to not share.
  • Finished....leave your garbage and take off.  It's common practice to leave your dishes, leftovers and garbage on your table and someone will clear it for you.  At my American restaurants though, I still have tendency to throw-away my own stuff.  Just feels weird to leave it there on the table. 
  • Need some quick food? Sorry, no drive-thrus.  I think I've seen 2 maybe in Singapore while there are McDonald's everywhere.  Just no room.
  • an get a McDelivery! I have yet to do this (although I frequent the KFS delivery website).  We'll see how long I hold out.
Here are the salty fries (you can see the salt!) and ketchup discs.  This McDonald's is actually asking diners to clean up after themselves.  I'm curious to see how this campaign goes.  Have not seen it before.


  1. Most of the macs in Singapore are located inside or as part shopping complexes or buildings, so they're too far from the road for drive-thrus. There are 100+ outlets, and I think maybe 10+ drive-thrus in total? The drive-thrus tend to be outlets in their own dedicated buildings (eg. at Kallang Stadium)

    As for the fries, I find that the level of saltiness actually varies from outlet to outlet. There are some outlets that I continually find too salty, and some that are always too bland. You can ask for reduced or extra salt if you know that the outlet add too much or too little. (I frequent macs quite a lot... =p)

    The clean up campaign was recently implemented some time this year in most of the outlets. Not sure how well it's actually going though.

  2. I have a difficult time just leaving my stuff on the table, too. That's how it's supposed to be anywhere you eat on campus, but I still have a tendency to clean up after myself.

    I also had trouble with the idea of sharing tables at first...but I'm over that. :)