What are the top 5 fast food restaurants in China? Ah to live in China, something I am now approaching my 14th year doing. When I tell people that I live there, they almost immediately say how lucky I must be. And how much I must enjoy the food. But let’s deal with the elephant in the room right away. Chinese day to day food is a bit shit. That’s right! It can quite shit, bugs, chickens feet. And goat gonads are not what you need when you have hangover.
Fast Food in China
If you believe all the hype then China invented everything from football to fire (I have honestly heard this). When it comes to street food, and indeed “fast food” China does though have a legitimate shout. In fact when it comes to fast food in China, street food tends to be the quicker and certainly cheaper option. Fast Food as we know it is more of a new thing.
Fast Food in China Today
Luckily, China is not complete heathens because Chinese have let in our favorite Clowns and Colonels. And they’ve also developed their own alternatives for late night drunk, or afternoon hangover food.
It has also gained immense popularity due in part to cleanliness, but more so because it is cool and verymiddle class.
Here’s my guide to the top 5 fast food restaurants in China that should find yourself hungry in the middle-kingdom. Warning not all of them will provide you with a burger!
Top 5 Fast Food Restaurants in China in order of popularity!
No. 5 McDonalds
Number of outlets in 2012: 1,689
Number of outlets in 2013: 1,964
After watching “the founder”, you might assume that McDonalds are the biggest fast food firm everywhere.
But in the top 5 fast food restaurants in China, they only make it paltry 5th. Chinese MaccieD’s is not all that bad because a big mac is still a big mac. But they lose multiple points for lack of milkshake and culinary breakfast abortions that include soya milk. You can though still get stuff like a sausageg McMuffin. This makes McDoanlds one of the best breakfasts in China.
To read about which countries have a McDonalds click here.
No. 4 Shanghai Shihao Catering Co Ltd – The Bruce Lee Restaurants
Number of outlets in 2012: 1,550
Number of outlets in 2013: 2,000
If you’re strolling around China and you see a fast-food restaurant with Bruce Lee on the sign, that is these guys , and they are pretty much everywhere. Cuisine is very much Chinese fast food, rice plates, noodles, vegetables, and almost zero flavor. One wonders if Bruce Lee gave his permission for this!
Genrally speaking you can get better Chinese fast food than this on the street, but at least Bruce Lee does make a very clean bathroom.
No. 3 Ting Hsin International Group (Dicos)
Number of outlets in 2012: 1,517
Number of outlets in 2013: 2,160
The original Chinese rip-off., Dicos copied KFC, got some stuff right and a hell of a lot wrong. The fried chicken is God-awful, but the chicken burgers do a job, and they even have a burger made with a rice bun. Hangover heaven. You will see Dicos in almost every airport, or train station.
No longer just a KFC clone, these guys are now very much their own part of the Chinese fast food scene.
To read about the history of Dicos click here.
No. 2 Hua Lai Shi
Number of outlets in 2012: 3,000
Number of outlets in 2013: 4,000
Dicos is the KFC rip-off, and Hua Lai Shi are the overall rip-offs of rip-offs with menus that include pretty much everything. Burgers, fried chicken, pizzas, noodles, you name they do it, and they do it very badly! But it is western food, so it’s better than a chicken foot.
They exist under a number of different names, such as the legendary Wallace Fried Chicken, but the roots are from the same company, and all equally as bad as each other.
No. 1 Yum! Brands Inc (KFC)
Number of outlets in 2012: 5,275
Number of outlets in 2013: 5,854
When it comes to fast food in China there can only be one winner! I’m so old I remember when KFC was called Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC were the first and most popular in China because Chinese already did friend chicken, but KFC offered not just chicken, but clean toilets to poop in. I have written extensively about the Colonel in China, which you can read here, but to summarize! KFC in China is God-awful. They almost always run out of original recipe, there are no milkshakes, and, and, and! NO GRAVY. I won’t even discuss their breakfast culinary war crimes, but it’s still KFC and thus greasy western food.
Amazingly China is KFC’s biggest market IN THE WORLD, so as well as being number 1 of the top 5 fast food restaurants in China, they are also KFC’s biggest draw.
To read about which countries do and don’t have KFC click here
And those are the top 5 fast food restaurants in China, making up the rather eclectic China Fast Food Scene.