Have It Our Way: US Fast Food in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Regardless of whether or not you’re in/have been to the US, how often do you crave its fast food?

I’m busy collecting data for my survey on the Gross National Waistline – a gloomy double entendre if I’ve ever read one – and would like to know.  Even when you’re surrounded by local offerings, do you still turn on the radar for the predictable chains?  Then again, maybe it’s because of the regional delicacies that you’ll cave in and snack on a familiar hamburger or transparent pouch of french fries.

I visited Addis Ababa Ethiopia (Visit with CheapOair!) here a few months ago, specifically to dine.  It wasn’t a huge success.  For one, there was a clear lack of street food.  Some folks were munching on chickpea pods and wooden toothbrushes without bristles, but the most common ware I saw sold on the street was shoe polish.  That might give Johannesburg, South Africa a run for its money.  So, the search continued…

Addis Ababa - US Fast Foodh (1)
West Coasters might be thrilled to see this place show up.  However, you’d have a better chance finding In – N – Out in the Little Ethiopia neighborhood of Los Angeles.  Which…goes without saying.

Addis Ababa - US Fast Foodh (2)
The only thing they lack is a kitchen.  That, and self-assurance.  Other than that, it’s about as welcoming as many other restaurants in Addis Ababa.  You might walk into a place thinking it’s only a bar, but do ask about food.  They’re likely all out of it.

Addis Ababa - US Fast Foodh (3)
This was either on Churchill Ave. or Mahatma Gandhi St. not far from Tomoca Coffee Shop.  In any event, it was quite busy throughout the day, particularly at 7am when jet lag kept me delirious.  Other than that, it’s still mystifying.

In other words, genuine US fast food isn’t quite present in Addis Ababa.  Starbucks might have the toughest time, since the arguable origin of coffee is Ethiopia, and coffee ceremonies are a daily occurrence in the country.

What’s your take on the (not quite) global presence of US fast food?

This entry was posted in Food & Drink, North America (non-NYC), pop culture, Sub-Saharan Africa and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Have It Our Way: US Fast Food in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  1. expatlingo says:

    I crave taco trucks. Fast food, but not really a chain. But if there was a global chain of awesome taco trucks, I’d be there once a week.

  2. Pingback: Kolo, the Quintessential Ethiopian Snack | buildingmybento


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