31 March 2013

Soldiers at McDonalds: Exporting Democracy

Two years ago I reminisced about Army chow. Let me take this opportunity to reminisce anew. I have often said that Army food is pretty darned good. That statement disregards MREs, of course. It now disregards most of what comes out of the chow hall at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, Korea.

Luckily, we had alternatives in abundance.

It was wonderful to see the Golden Arches all over Seoul. So far as I can tell, there are 25 McDonalds in the greater Seoul area. We visited one, and I saw two others in my very short travels.

This blog reports that the chain hopes to have 500 restaurants in the ROK by 2015.

I am a loyal McDonalds diner here at home, and in my visit to Korean Mickey Dees, three things made me particularly happy.

1. As trite as it sounds, the taste of McDonalds is consistent and welcoming. Coming off a string of less-than-desirable meals featuring kimchi, cups of noodles, and a tubed meat paste that we were never able to identify, a good old Big Mac soothed the palate and the soul.

2. Seeing lots of Koreans stand in lines for burgers, fries and coke justified, to me at least, our 60-year alliance. If we can't get a McDonalds where we send our Soldiers, then what good is war? I joke, but only a little. McDonalds works pretty well. They are able to deliver a product to a lot of people who want it. Everyone involved in the arrangement seemed pretty happy about it. (I didn't asked the cattle).

While I'm not going to go so far as to say that McDonalds causes prosperity  I will say that I believe McDonalds-type chains to be an indicator of economic and social stability. Put it this way, they don't have any Mickey Dee's in North Korea.

3. Korean McDonalds are much more upscale than their American progenitors. I've seen the same thing in Germany and heard the same said about McDonalds the world over. It's not five-star, but respectable, and not patronized solely for convenience (the restaurant we went to in Seoul didn't even have a parking lot). Oh, and Korean McDonalds delivers!

To recap: Army chow good. Korean Army chow bad. McDonalds as good as ever. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey can you tell me what Bulgogi is? I'm dying to know...