Thursday, 3 February 2011


After months of speculation the Golden Arches finally came to Balikpapan. The hype was huge, as were the queues of people willing to wait an hour or so to get their greasy beef. The expat community was willing to wait even longer, and put off visiting the second McDonalds in Indonesian Borneo (an area roughly the size of France) for a week or so.

Rae and I were in the same mall last week and we decided to brave it and add another country to my McD count (15 so far). I was saddened to see that the Quarter Pounder wasn't on the menu but wasn't surprised at all to find that half of the food on offer was a combination of chicken and rice, the national favourite.

By and large it was a pleasant experience - I had a Prosperity Burger (marking the Chinese New Year), double cheeseburger, fries (exceptionally good) and a Coke while Rae had a blueberry sundae. What I can not condone is the local's practice of ordering fried chicken and sticky rice, rather than one of the half dozen KFCs or hundreds of cafes in Balikpapan. As usual it's all about status and the Indonesians want to have the prestige of being seen eating at an American (expensive) fast food (doubly expensive) restaurant (treble expensive).

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