Buenas Dias from Thailand
IT WAS JUST THE OTHER DAY as I was driving down the avenue when I noticed that the neighborhood Taco Bell was undergoing some remodeling. I don’t know if they were merely repainting or going full tilt and adding a branch of the Poison Control Center.
While I am not a fan of Taco Bell (I prefer Mexican Food) they are very popular worldwide. The latest figure I could find said that there are 6, 849 Taco Bell restaurants strewn about the globe.
Doing a little (very little) follow-up research I have learned that the number of Taco Bells has grown by one. Last week the first of a planned 40 Thai restaurants opened in Bangkok. And it was a rip roaring success.
At opening time there was a line of over 500 people anxiously awaiting the chance to sample an Asian version of an American version of Mexican cuisine. In an effort to be palatable to the Thai taste buds and cultural likes and dislikes a few modifications have been made.
Example #1: No beef will be served. Chicken and Pork are used instead.
Example #2: No beans will be used. I have no idea what will be.
Try to picture anything at Taco Bell without beef or beans. I’m beginning to think this place might be a Chick-fil-A in disguise.
But they do serve beer. Seems like a fair trade.
I am aware that a number of American Fast-Food restaurants have expanded around the world. McDonald’s is open in more than 50 countries and some modifications have been made to the menu. In India, where cows are revered, getting a Quarter Pounder, with or without cheese, just ain’t gonna happen. However, a tasty Lamb-Burger might fill that void.
There was a bit of a local angle in all of the press coverage. Like many new businesses that have would-be customers lining up waiting for the doors to open, there were prizes to reward those folks. The first person in line, who had been sitting there in a lawn chair since the day before was a young American man from Indiana. I’m sure his parents are proud. He won a Year’s Supply of Tacos.
Customers #2 and #3 were two more Yanks from Minnesota.
That is a long way to go for lunch.
I do admit that I have been first in line at a new St. Arbucks on Opening Day, but that was all about coffee – one of the basic building blocks of life. I would not spend the night in a lawn chair outside of a Taco Bell in Thailand or anyplace on this planet. I have standards. I also have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract.
Well…I’m happy for the people of Bangkok. Things there have been rough for the last few years. There was a revolution and the country is now ruled by a military junta. Crime has exploded and the streets can be quite dangerous – more so if you are a foreigner. Now they will have something else to think about. The “Land of Smiles” may now become the “Land of Stomach Cramps.”