Chain Restaurants Are Sapping the Mystery Out of the Middle East

chain restaurants middle eastThe next time you're in Kuwait City and you're worried about the local cuisine, well, stop worrying. Apparently you can find a T.G.I.Friday's by throwing a cat. Friday's and other restaurants including Olive Garden, Applebee's, and many, many more American chains are heading to the Middle East to expand their calorie-laden reach. Not surprisingly, there's an appetite for eating good in the new neighborhood.

Even with menu tweaks such as the removal of pork, and re-breading their country-fried steak (what country? exactly!), stores are popping up all over the Middle East including new plans for those Arab Spring locales like Egypt.

While I would never begrudge anyone the enjoyment of baby back ribs, I will say that for those of us who love to travel to exotic locales: Red Lobster, you're ruining it for everyone.


It's like when I first went to Paris as a young girl and was devastated to see a McDonald's around the corner from my hotel room. You travel so you can see things that are unique. You don't want to look at your window and have the same view as your drive by the local strip mall. Sure the Friday's in Dubai has VIP service and steps up their service game for those people who usually have maids, but it's still the same old fatty, salty fare.

Can't Americans leave this well enough alone? Why bring Smashburger to the United Arab Emirates? And by the way, won't the drastic change in diet be incredibly unhealthy to the local population? Chickpeas don't cause the same amount of heart disease as French fries. Sad, but true.

Regardless, if I manage to make it to the Pyramids of Giza, I really hope a two-for-one coupon for mozzarella sticks isn't included in the tour.

What do you think about chain restaurants infiltrating the Middle East?


Image via Mr/Smith/Flickr

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