Golden arches call traveler

Hold on

Hold on

There I was the other morning, ordering an Egg McMuffin, hash brown and coffee. Perhaps this would have been a typical morning routine – only I wasn’t in America.

Yep, even in Taiwan the goldenen arches glow brightly.

The United States may be referred to as the “fast food nation,” but Americans aren’t the only ones with a taste for the greasy fare. In the Sinying area, there are two McDonald’s, a Domino’s Pizza, a Pizza Hut and a KFC. In addition, I’ve even seen several KLC restaurants, which I believe are being sued by their Kentucky Fried counterpart.

When I left America in August, I had expected to leave the fast food outings behind. I realized that I’d come across at least a McDonald’s while overseas; I just hadn’t expected to eat at one. I thought, “Why eat fast food in a foreign country?” But, American habits are hard to shed and sometimes it’s good to find a familiar taste.

So far, I’ve sampled the local McDonald’s several times and the nearby Pizza Hut once. The menus aren’t much different from those in America. Taiwan’s McDonald’s offers the standard Big Mac, fries and chicken nuggets (minus the barbeque sauce). In addition, however, the menu also includes fried chicken and a rice-bun burger.

But, unlike in America, typical fast food restaurants are the minority here. The streets are dotted with food stands and restaurants serving local food. In my opinion, the abundant food stands are Taiwan’s own version of fast food. You can hop off your scooter, have your meal bagged and be off again, all within only a few minutes.

The night markets, by far, offer the best entertainment for your stomach. In addition to clothes, traditional Taiwanese jewelry and street-side acupuncture sessions, there are food vendors every few feet. While making rounds through the night market mazes, you’ll find sushi, “stinky tofu,” hot pots, blood curd rice cake (a mix of pig’s blood and rice served on a stick) and an array of meats. Drinks are just as varied, with anything from milk tea to sugar cane juice.

I have yet to taste stinky tofu or blood curd rice cake. Those dishes are definitely not something I’m used to digesting. But, at least they’re not from McDonald’s.

[Editor’s note: Becky Husky is spending this academic year studying in Taiwan. She is a senior mass communication major at Missouri Southern.]