“In Paris, you can buy a beer at McDonald’s. You know what they call a…a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?”
“They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?”
“They got the metric system, they wouldn’t know what the **** a Quarter Pounder is.”
“What’d they call it?”
“They call it a Royale with Cheese.”
“[repeating] Royale with Cheese. What’d they call a Big Mac?”
“Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it “Le Big Mac”.”
“Le Big Mac. What do they call a Whopper?”
“I dunno, I didn’t go into a Burger King. But you know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?”
These delicious words from our friends Vincent Vegas and Jules Winnfield enhance the main differences between France and the US regarding Fast-food.
Well, it would be lying to myself saying I didn’t want to try any famous Fast-food brands during my stay in New York, even though I come from “le pays de la gastronomie” if you please, excuse my French!
Thus, when thinking about fast-food, we, French, all have in mind the big, dominant hanging “M” in every highway resting areas, or even this tall yellow-red clown trying to make us order a “Le Big Mac”. For the youngest of us, we also think about more recent brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (The last one oddly isn’t implanted in France, whereas these three store names belong to the same company, Yum! Brands, originally created by Pepsi Company).
But here in the US, we have a larger range of fast-food names, hence a larger choice when it comes to eating in a fast-food (probably too many??).
I apologize beforehand if I forget some of them in this article, as I just want to underline the vastness of choices we can have. Hence you can find below a non-exhaustive list of fast-foods you can try during your stay:
Burger King – I know there are a lot of Burger King fans among the French students this semester (They even call it BK, it seems trendy!!). Why is that by the way? Maybe because everybody once tasted the Whopper in England, or somewhere else, and can’t get one in France. But any way, this is THE place to go for a first burger in NYC: it’s generous, fat, good, cheap, and so on! In one word, delicious !
Five guys – Probably the best burger I‘ve ever experienced here in NYC! It’s a little expensive, but definitely worth a try! The principle is simple and easy: you go there, choose what burger you like, and add as many toppings as you want (among a range of about 12 kinds, without counting the dressing). If you order fries, you won’t be able to finish them! At last, there is one shop near Pace University, so between 6 hours of class, you can go for a snack!
KFC – I must tell you guys, I haven’t tried a KFC yet during my stay, and I’m kind of scared and reluctant to do so! Let me explain you: if I have to choose one single fast-food in France, I will without any doubt go for KFC. I love it, I love chicken, and I can’t help myself! But from what I heard about KFC in the US, it’s not that good. I should try to have my own opinion about it (and I will!), but I’m definitely not ready to graze my perception of them. Don’t worry Colonel Sanders, you will always be my hero!
Mc Donald’s – Do I really need to introduce Mc Donald’s to you?! If I can just say a few words about it, their market positioning isn’t the same as in Europe, or in France, where they try to implement a “healthy way of eating fast-food”. Moreover, the price range is lower in the US, as Mc Donald’s represents the fast-food for poor people.
Taco Bell – From what I remembered when I was in Chicago almost 4 years ago, this is not really a good fast-food. But I saw on TV a lot of new mouth-watering recipes, and it differs from the usual common burger, as it’s targeting mostly the Hispanic population. It’s in the name, it’s a Tacos fast-food! Chicken is good there, and if you like eating spicy, there are some good plates. But a little tip for you => don’t try anything with beef in it…
Wendy’s – Well, as I said before, I’m definitely enthusiastic about KFC in France, and I must say, Wendy’s is the major competitor of this Fast-food in the US. It’s good, there is chicken in every burger, and I particularly like their logo… It’s hurting my pride to say this, but it’s probably better than KFC (and I guess a better quality as well!)…
Regarding Pizza Hut and Dominos, I can’t really make up my mind to pick up the best out of both. You can make your own pizza at Pizza Hut for the purists, but I think I would prefer to go to Dominos as they have a largest choice of pizzas. Moreover, the Honolulu Hawaiian and the Memphis BBQ chicken are my favorites!
As a conclusion, lots of little fast-food shops are missing in my list, as you can eat a burger almost anywhere in the US. Even Dunkin’ Donuts, well known for their fat but delicious (but too fat!) donuts, are now making burgers!
However, there is an increase in food quality nowadays, and a lot of Americans are shifting their consumption from fast-foods into healthier places.
Finally, I didn’t mind talking about Bagels and Hot dogs, but be aware that you MUST definitely try them or you won’t be a real New Yorker!