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Adventures with Alisha

Chinese KFC

CHINA | Wednesday, 13 July 2011 | Views [904]

When I first got here, lots of teachers at my school asked me whether I liked KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) or not.  I was a bit confused because to say the least, KFC is one of the least popular fast foods in America.  However, in China, it is really popular.  Especially with families and little kids.  They love to chow down the chicken for the kiddie toy included in the meal.

So, inevitably, I ended up in a Chinese KFC yesterday afternoon.  I went because I got invited to eat out with one of the teacher's little sisters (one was 19 and the other 13).  Unfortunately, I was late because I had no idea I agreed to the meal.  This is probably one of those incidents where I got bitten in the butt because I thought I knew some Chinese that I probably didn't and just smiled and nodded my head and agreed to come (which is what I do when I really don't understand what someone is saying).  Needless to say, I got a call from Zhang Ying on my phone saying that I needed to come downstairs to meet her.

When I stepped in the air conditioned KFC, I was thankful.  For one, there was air conditioning.  And then I looked at the all Chinese menu.  I saw a picture of chicken nuggets and pointed to that with some orange soda.  Zhang Ying ordered for me.  However, I felt a little bad because the prices were so high.  A little box of chicken nuggets costed 6 yuan.  In China, you could get a pretty decent meal for 6 yuan.  A combo costed 20 yuan.  Basically, KFC sold at the American equivalent price value, which for Chinese people, is very expensive.

Afterwards, we sat and talked about China and America.  Zhang Ying had many questions about America and her English wasn't bad, but her 13-year old sister didn't know very much English and just sat shyly, not even looking at me when she spoke (she said about a total of three sentences).  So what did I do?  Rambled on in broken Chinese like I have been doing my whole stay here.  It wasn't so bad and the kids playing in the background added some comic relief to the entirely tense situation.

From what I remember of KFC in America, the Chinese version looked about the same.  So maybe that's why it's some of the more expensive food in China?  Who knows?  Americanization of any culture has to be expensive, I would think.  I never realized it before, but American companies that open overseas aren't willing to make any less money than they would in America.  And I suppose this is a good business policy because people are paying the extra money just to eat at an American fast food restaurant.  The Americanization phenomenon is really astounding.  In China, Pizza Hut is considered a top sit-down restaurant reserved for only the best of occasions.  When I went shopping, I remember observing Maybelline eye-shadow and foundation was twice as expensive than it sold in America.  Economically, I suppose this makes sense, because exporting goods is more expensive and there is always a huge profit to be made.  But is it necessarily right that people are paying more for American goods?

Tags: americanization, china, economics, kfc

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