Fast Food Wars

Fast food is one industry in the United States that has spread throughout the world. Western fast food restaurants and franchises such as McDonalds and KFC have had great success in China. Before the introduction of American fast food franchises in China there were canteens, these still exist today as cafeterias for employees of work units. Yan discusses three main fast food groups in China: Western fast food chains, fried chicken restaurants, and authentic Chinese fast food restaurants.

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In 1992, the Jingshi Fast Food Company attempted to China-ize fast food. The Jingshi Fast Food Company served food items that were based on Chinese cuisine. The national government supported the national cuisine by adapting to the changing culture that called for the social space of fast food restaurants. One distinctly Chinese fast food restaurant, Red Sorghum planned to fight American fast food imperialism by competing directly with McDonalds. Culture and food are linked as food communicates aspects of culture. The American fast food is a symbol of modernity but also a symbol of America. How do these restaurants and the main fast food groups (Western fast food chains, fried chicken restaurants, and authentic Chinese fast food restaurants) construct Chinese national identity? What does this identity look like today?

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Yan, Yunxiang. “Of Hamburger and Social Space: Consuming Mcdonald’s in Beijing.”Cultural Politics of Food and Eating : a Reader. (2005). Print.