Every country I’ve travelled to apart from one, I’ve eaten at a McDonalds. SHOCK. The reason for only one I haven’t is that I live in Nepal and there are no McDonalds here. Now I’m guessing that first line; you’re probably thinking either two things. One being “oh my God, what an idiot that’s a cardinal sin.” Second “Yeah, I love to try new McDonalds out too, depending on where I visit.”
First, let me explain myself to you sceptics who probably think I don’t fully let my hair down and explore the true essence of each country. Well, for starters that is absurd, there’s nothing more than I like while travelling than diving right into a culture and having street food. I love to experience food so different from my own and awaken parts of my palette that were dormant for a long time.
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However, after some time travelling the miss of routine, normalcy and comfort foods can start to sink in. Ironically, for the case of us Europeans and Americans, a lot of familiarity are those ‘golden arches’ which light up and make us feel at home, anywhere in the world. Well, certainly for me throughout my childhood, it’s been the case. While there may be no Sunday lunch or dumplings, there are plenty of McDonald’s outlets nearby. In fact, there are over 36,000 franchises scattered across 120 different countries, according to World Atlas.
Am I still struggling to convince you? Let me break down the points of why it’s acceptable to eat at McDonalds while travelling.
1. If you’re unwell
When I was in Vietnam, I’d been travelling around from the North to the South. I’d been eating all kinds of street food and had become a tad queazy. Little did I know back then, I had a parasite in me, but that’s another story for a later date. Anyways, when I go to HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City), I decided on the last night I wanted to eat at a McDonalds. As I knew, that I would find comfort in the food, I’d eaten before and could be excited to enjoy. When I dined there, my appetite definitely increased, and I felt wholesome.
2.To try the different menus
McDonald’s is so unique the menus vary all over the world. I recall having chocolate fries in Tokyo, I mean hello? I’ve never tried them before. I’ve had paneer burgers in India (as they don’t eat beef). Likewise beer in France, McPizza in India, McSpaghetti in the Philippines, McLobster in Canada and many more. Just to try and be impressed by the sheer creativity of fast food.
3.If you’re on a budget
Street food is excellent and totally acceptable for those all on backpacking budgets. However, what about the areas where there is no street food available? Maybe there’s only upmarket restaurants or cafes nearby which may set your spends back even more for a few days. Whereas there is a McDonalds close to you and it will fit your allowance for that day. McDonalds often have saver menus where they have burgers or side dishes for $1 or less.
4.If you’re pushed for time
If you’re travelling at an airport, train or bus station I feel it’s also acceptable to eat McDonalds while travelling. Sometimes you just don’t have the time on your hands to have a full sit down meal. Mcdonald’s items are quickly prepared, served and ate. It’s just overall an excellent food to eat on the go.
5. Free Wifi
Are you stuck on where to go next? Want to plan your route, but the city is too busy to navigate? McDonalds is an ideal place to seek refuge and use their wifi. This happened to me in Tokyo; I was meant to get from one district of the city to another. However, in the rush hour, there are so many people I didn’t have time or space to read my mobile. So I ordered a McDonalds and used their wifi.
There you have it, why I find it acceptable to eat at McDonalds while travelling. Obviously, don’t seek a McDonalds out the first moment you visit a new country/destination. I certainly recommend diving into the local cuisine and undergoing new experiences. However, if other factors to arrive know it’s acceptable to eat a McDonalds while travelling.