Breakfast in Bangkok (and a novel about McDonald’s)

8 Sep

For our first morning in Bangkok, we were looking for a nice place to eat breakfast. We headed to Khao San Road, but I think the street is way more alive during the evening than in the morning. Everything was closed except for a few street food shops and fast food chains.

It looked really sad, like having a walk in Paris in autumn (the streets were wet) on a Sunday morning at 8am.

While we were looking at the McDonald’s (first ever seen in 5 months for me) and I saw on their menu that they had the most delicious thing on earth (another of my food obsessions): the Bacon & Egg McMuffin (called Egg McMuffin in the USA and Bacon McMuffin with Egg in Thailand)! They apparently have the same range of English muffins that in the USA or in the UK, with my favourite one but also those with sausage.

So I had to have breakfast there, just for the sake of my stomach you see? Fun fact, Ronald McDonald’s still exists in Thailand, and his statue is even doing the namaste at the entrance of each McDonald’s!

I just had a look at the breakfast menus in the UK, USA, Thailand and France and McDonald’s France definitely has to put more delicious salty offers. Because we usually have a sweet breakfast in France, and because McDonald’s tried to implement a local strategy there instead of exporting the American way, most of the breakfast is sweet, except for the Bacon & Egg McMuffin. They even have breakfast formulas where they call the food you can have “Douceurs” (sweets) even if the Bacon & Egg McMuffin is not sweet, obviously.

So, in France, you have the choice between this muffin, pancakes (American ones), pastries or a chocolate muffin. Still a bit American, but with a French touch. The hot chocolate they offer is from an old French brand (Banania) and they try to offer good coffee made in the European way and not long like in the USA.

You may think that my post about having breakfast in Bangkok is getting weird by analysing McDonald’s menus, but I think it is pretty interesting (marketing student speaking).

I saw a few years ago a documentary on Arte (French TV) which was called; “McDo, une passion française” (McDonald’s, a French passion) which was about explaining how the gastronomy’s country became the second biggest global market (the first one is the USA) of the famous fast food chain. Some famous chefs were even giving their opinions about McDonald’s and some of them liked it!

So, what I explained about the French touch breakfast makes sense, it is part of the company’s strategy.

If you’re located in France (or know how to change your IP address), you can see the documentary here: http://videos.arte.tv/fr/videos/mcdo_une_passion_francaise-6692438.html

Anyway, in Thailand you can feel the British influence. Lots of shops you can find wherever you go in Great Britain (furthermore near the shopping centers…) are there: Boots, Tesco (called Tesco lotus), Burger King and so on… So I was not surprised (well, a bit at first) to see that they have a menu looking like the British one.

Most of the successful strategies of fast food chains throughout the world have been focused on adapting to the local market rather than making the consumers adopt the foreign menu (this is the case for France, but it’s also working for KFC in Vietnam who offers mostly spicy fried chicken and Vietnamese dishes). However, McDonald’s China, after failing to implement with a menu full of chicken (even if KFC had no trouble with it), tried to develop the beef (which is less Asian, more American) but is still trying to fit to the local taste (bubble tea, taro pies, limited editions burgers…).

The only inconvenient with the Bacon & Egg McMuffin in Thailand is that it uses some fake bacon, which is weirdly the same as the one French butchers give you when you want bacon. This bacon is also the one inside the American Bacon & Egg McMuffin and it looks like thick smoked ham. The muffin was not as crunchy as in France.

In France and in the UK, they give you what I call the “true bacon” which is like a long rectangle with a lot of fat. Most of the time in French supermarkets, you can find both types of bacon, both called bacon by the way.

I also recently saw this advertisement campaign made by McDonald’s Canada called “Our food. Your questions.” where customers ask directly the communication team what they want to know about the food at McDonald’s. It is really interesting and they don’t seem to sort to much the questions (although I’m pretty sure they don’t reply when it has already been asked many times or when it is rude), they even answer the questions about some myths like “Is your beef made of 100% beef?”.

They posted the video showing how they make their burgers look so good on their ads, and there is also one about the Bacon & Egg McMuffin!

http://yourquestions.mcdonalds.ca/

Anyway, let’s go back to Bangkok. After having eaten three of this wonderful McMuffin (all by myself!), we went outside to have a fresh fruit juice. I took a passion fruit juice (the girl on Khao San Road also blended the seeds inside, and it was actually pretty good like that) and my friend a pineapple one. Both cost 40 baht (?) which is about 1€.

The Bacon & Egg McMuffin cost 69 baht, so more or less the same price as in France (1,76€).

So it was a nice breakfast! Only one recommendation dear McDonald’s French team, please put the hashbrowns on the breakfast menu for when I’ll be back in Paris (meaning in September)! Hashbrowns are so good but so difficult to find nowadays (I used to have it at my primary school’s canteen), even at Tesco in England I couldn’t find some! Oh and if you could offer the Bacon & Egg McMuffin all day also, it would be great!

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