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Are you making a specialty food?

Overseas fast food starting to come to America

MarkG Aug 23, 2009 12:50 AM

are you familiar with or are you a fan of-- Polio Campero from Guatamala

Jolibee from the Philippines

Nando's from South Africa

Wagamama from England

  1. fmed Aug 26, 2009 04:35 PM

    There is the oddly named Strawberry Cones (a Japanese pizza chain) right next to a Beard Papa's (Japanese creampuffs) in Richmond BC's Aberdeen Centre. I'm waiting for a MOS Burger (also Japanese) to complete the set.

    1. m
      mlgb Aug 25, 2009 05:07 PM

      I have two Pollo Camperos near me and they are both good. Haven't had any problems with skimpy or dry chicken. They compete favorably with the Pollo Loco in terms of chicken and are better on the sides (beans especially).

      1. h
        huaqiao Aug 25, 2009 05:02 PM

        There are a few Santouka outlets in So Cal and I believe they have branches in other areas like Chicago and NJ.

        1. K K Aug 25, 2009 10:49 AM

          Not so much fast food but dessert chains...

          Beard Papa Cream Puffs (Japan)

          Red Mango (Korea) for "froyo"

          1. i
            insomnia Aug 25, 2009 12:31 AM

            Ramen from England? Is this a joke.

            5 Replies
            1. re: insomnia
              fmcoxe6188 Aug 25, 2009 09:49 AM

              I believe, and feel free to correct me, that Wagamama's is actually an Australian based chain- not British. Not sure if that makes it any better or worse in your estimation :-)

              1. re: fmcoxe6188
                insomnia Aug 25, 2009 12:49 PM

                Worse. lol

                1. re: insomnia
                  fmcoxe6188 Aug 25, 2009 01:02 PM

                  haha-I figured.

                2. re: fmcoxe6188
                  CreativeFoodie42 Aug 25, 2009 01:06 PM

                  Wagamama's started out in London and is a UK chain.

                  1. re: CreativeFoodie42
                    luckyfatima Aug 26, 2009 01:15 AM

                    We do have Wagamama's in Dubai. It is a trendy hipster place with heavy wooden bench seating. I have only been there once. Neither my husband or I liked it. Loads of people love it, though.

                    I don't think being a Japanese chain from London matters. It is only about whether it is good or bad that counts. P.F. Changs, the ultimate US Chinese-American franchise has some pretty good dishes on the menu, ultimately owned by corporate white men though it may be.

              2. p
                pushslice Aug 24, 2009 11:42 PM

                I would put the following Filipino chains before Jolibee, in terms of personal preference:

                -Max's (ok technically not fast food, but inexpensive and the fried chicken is delicious)

                In some places like Vallejo, you have all 3 virtually side-by-side to choose from ;-)

                1. Justpaula Aug 24, 2009 07:58 PM

                  The first Jollibee in NYC, opened here in Queens in late Spring. I live a few blocks away but keep forgetting to give it a go. When it first opened up the lines were around the block. Thanks for reminding me to check it out!

                  1. LA Buckeye Fan Aug 24, 2009 03:38 PM

                    I had Wagamamas several times when I was in Dublin. I really liked it's freshness. But in the interest of full disclosure, I am a ramen neophyte.

                    1. BobB Aug 24, 2009 01:25 PM

                      There was an extensive thread on this topic earlier this year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600803

                      1. g
                        Gigi007 Aug 24, 2009 10:13 AM

                        I'm familiar with Nando's. IMHO, it is just OK. Rather bland chicken. I much prefer Peruvian-style chicken.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Gigi007
                          Passadumkeg Aug 25, 2009 03:11 AM

                          Peruvian Pio Pio chicken (pollo a la broasted) now has several locations in NYC.

                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                            Gigi007 Aug 25, 2009 09:46 AM

                            Yes, I've been to several Pio Pio locations in NYC. The chicken is delicious, and the green sauce is a-mazing.

                        2. PeterL Aug 24, 2009 10:07 AM

                          Jolibee is pretty popular, but still only for people who knows them from the Filipines.

                          Yoshinoya has been in the US for many many years.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: PeterL
                            MrsT Aug 25, 2009 05:04 PM

                            I used to love Yoshinoya in Times Square. i haven't been there in years!

                          2. luckyfatima Aug 24, 2009 12:34 AM

                            We have some Mexican chains of roasted chicken places in Texas. Hmmm, actually I couldn't say for sure if they are legit chains or just using the names illegally for brand recognition. Also some Indian chains have branches in major cities, like idli/dosa place Saravana Bhavan of Chennai fame has a branch in Ontario and in Atlanta, but I don't think that is wide spread enough to count, really.

                            I have seen the Nando's spices in the US but as of yet haven't noticed any presence of fast food chains.

                            We have all of those places in Dubai, Nando's is really good actually, so it would be great if they came to the US.

                            1. Sam Fujisaka Aug 23, 2009 05:55 PM

                              I like Pollo Campero once in a while in Guatemala because you can't get a green salad in many areas of the country. I get tortillas from one of the ladies out in front; and get a chicken salad with all the lettuce.

                              I never liked Jolibee in the Philippines because their claim to ang lasang pinoy (filipino taste) was based on putting sugar in the burger patties.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                johnb Aug 23, 2009 07:24 PM

                                Pollo Campero's bean side dish, eaten straight, amounts to IMO one of the best bean soups you will ever find.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                  JungMann Aug 26, 2009 10:40 AM

                                  I went to the Jollibee in NYC and couldn't believe how packed this place was. It was the Filipino hot spot of the moment, even on a Sunday afternoon. Chicken was okay, gravy nothing to write home about and the spaghetti definitely had ang lasang pinoy, thanks to hot dogs and a touch of sugar. The older locals ahead of me in line seemed to really love their halo-halo, pronouncing it with a severe Queens diphthong.

                                2. fmcoxe6188 Aug 23, 2009 05:47 PM

                                  When I lived in London I often went to Wagamama's and was thrilled when it opened in Boston. Though it can be a little oily at times I still love it for their use of interesting combinations of flavors and textures in their noodle dishes. As its been mentioned already I found it expensive in London, but here in the US, I've found it pretty reasonable for the amount of food given and the variations.

                                  1. m
                                    mordacity Aug 23, 2009 05:21 PM

                                    I enjoyed the Nando's in DC, the one time I went. I'll get the super-spicy chicken next time though, as the one I got was a bit bland.

                                    1. s
                                      smartie Aug 23, 2009 01:55 PM

                                      Nando's has been in London for about 10 years and isn't bad but depends on the franchise.
                                      I don't get Waggamama but then I am not a fan of Asian food (sorry Sam!), unless it's Indian.

                                      1. c
                                        comestibles Aug 23, 2009 06:44 AM

                                        I've been to Pollo Campero and Nando's - not impressed with either of them. Campero chicken is overpriced and the pieces are always scrawny - but the chicken is tasty. I've only been to Nando's in DC once; dry meat and uninteresting sauce - their mashed potatoes saved the meal.

                                        1. q
                                          queencru Aug 23, 2009 05:50 AM

                                          I've had the last two and have to say I don't care for them. Perhaps the South African Nando's is good, but the few times I went in London, it was the blandest chicken I've ever had. Wagamama's noodles are a strange texture that I can't quite get over and I thought 8-10 pounds for a bowl of ramen was a bit expensive.

                                          1. Naco Aug 23, 2009 05:42 AM

                                            I keep hoping we'll get a Campero near me in NC. I got hooked on the stuff in South America.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Naco
                                              Sam Fujisaka Aug 23, 2009 05:50 PM

                                              Pollo Camperos id Guatemalan, not South American.

                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                Naco Aug 24, 2009 05:36 AM

                                                Yes, but it's all over Latin America. I said that I got *hooked on it* in South America, not that it was South American.

                                                1. re: Naco
                                                  johnb Aug 24, 2009 08:22 AM

                                                  Their true South American locations are limited (Ecador mostly), but FWIW they do now have a location in China.

                                                  1. re: johnb
                                                    Naco Aug 24, 2009 08:47 AM

                                                    Ecuador is where I was at(Quito, specifically) and there were several of them. I could have sworn I saw Campero in Chile and southern Colombia too, though.

                                            2. SnackHappy Aug 23, 2009 03:17 AM

                                              They have Nando's in Ontario and apparently it's a only pale imitation of the South African original. Too bad.

                                              I hope none of us ever get Quick because it's some of the crappiest chain fast food I've ever had, and I've been to both Roy Rogers and Bob's Big Boy.


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: SnackHappy
                                                John Manzo Aug 24, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                We have Nando's in Calgary as well. BC does too.

                                                And dear God, the Quick I went to in Luxembourg provided, without question, the most disgusting meal that I had in three weeks in Europe and possibly the single worst fast food experience of my life. I chucked the entire thing in the garbage.

                                              2. a
                                                ArkhamEscapee Aug 23, 2009 01:01 AM

                                                I've seen Nando's sauce and spice grinders in a few grocery stores occasionally. You can buy their spices shipped to the US (http://www.nandosusa.com/, recipes too!) and apparently there's one in DC?
                                                Nando's = YUM

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