Sunday, August 8, 2010


Did Korea ruin McDonalds or did McDonalds ruin Korea?

We made our weekend trip to our McDonalds yesterday only to be sadly disappointed.  To get to our McDonalds we have to take a bus for about 15 minutes and then its just a short walk from the bus stop that is conveniently located right in front of the McDonalds.  Our McDonalds runs a lunch special where you can get a Big Mac meal with the fries, and coke for 3,000 Won so about or a little less than $2.50.

We have always enjoyed our McDonalds days as we go wonder around the small Anseong market and spend the day looking at random things followed up by a grocery trip to Lotta Mart. McDonalds here is nicer than the ones at home, always clean, always polite, and most are bigger with leather seats and over all nicer eating areas.  The food has also always been good, taste just like at home however looks a little better when they give it to you, nicer presentation of how they give it to you, the bungs all line up, the cheese is nice and in the center, they don’t just cram it in a box but instead use little cardboard circle things they wrap around it and then wrap it in paper, you even get your drink in real a glass.  

Anyways yesterday was different.  We went in for our normal lunch special, ordered, and then they flipped over one of those little timers filled with sand and explained that if our food was not ready in 60 seconds or less we would get a free order of fries.  Ok so our first thought was you can’t cook a burger in 60 seconds let alone put it together and on the counter so what gives.  Well now they precook and make everything, meaning our burgers were cold with warm buns from the heat lamps, our fries were under cooked and they forgot the ketchup, oddly I felt as if was right back to being at the McDonalds at home.  I feel I must explain that ketchup here is not a big thing, its not in the little pumps on the counters, there are not packs of it setting around, if they don’t give it to you then you have to try to ask.  That is not the easiest thing to do epically now that they are more concerned about getting food out in less than 60 seconds. 

To me Korea has always seemed like a proud country, where people take pride in what they do.  So this new experience shocked Ryan and I and we spent our time at lunch trying to figure out if this was a new McDonalds thing or if it was Korea just trying to put a spin on things.  Here McDonalds is not really “fast food” as you would call it at home, here just about anything not made in the home or known as “slow food” is “fast food”. So I find this race against the clock odd.  

People at home blame being fat on McDonalds when nobody forces you to eat there, nor is it McDonalds job to provide healthy food, because yet again if you want something healthy you can find something healthy some place other than McDonalds.  Well here in Korea McDonalds, as with anything American or Western, is really popular.  Now I am sure some would also say that McDonalds and western influence is why the younger generations of Koreans have become fatter/bigger.  However just as with at home you cannot blame McDonalds for your own weight gain neither can Koreas.  Korean kids here go to school for most of the day and then most take part in sport but also a large group of them when asked what they like to do in their free time answer play computer games, watch TV, and so on.  So just as at home it is a mix of many things and lifestyles that lead to their weight gain.

So in some ways it is easy to see that the influence of  Western things here have not helped this culture out and in others it has, however sadly I feel it has done more harm than good.  Anyways back to the the point we still are not sure if this focus on time is more of an American (McDonalds) influence or not; however it is one we are not fond of and wish they would go back to having pride in their Big Mac’s! 


Chastity said...

I love this blog! I can agree with you on most of it with our experience with McDonalds in Germany. The food here is not on discount like yours it. However, the atmosphere of the restaurant is different from the McDonalds in the states. The one's here are like yours - they look nicer, they also have leather seats. It looks decorated from IKEA. Its clean, the people are polite when they know what we are saying. I don't think the food here is pre made because it seems to take a long time when they cook our food and at times you are right - it doesn't seem like fast food. The menu has a items on it that seem healthier. Larger salads and wraps and a new veggie burger. I still am not a big fan of the beef here. It always seems too grizzly for me. I always go with a chicken choice. I was not a fan of McDonalds in the states but here the McDonalds seems to taste better. I hope that your McDonalds doesn't become corrupt and you have to stop going their. That's cheap for a whole meal!!

Megan said...

We learned in our international class that they use the same meat and ingredents everywhere to have the over all same taste, the "American" taste so I don't know why the meat seems funny/different. Here I know it just taste better because it is something we can't just have everyday and it is something from home, everything from home is better some place else when you are missing home!

Megan said...

p.s. yes the Won makes prices seem crazy sometimes but if we change it to USD it seems really cheap, however that is only with some things the price of the meal jumps after 2:00.