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Overseas fast food starting to come to America

  • m

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

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  1. 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

    1. 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

        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. 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

          Pollo Camperos id Guatemalan, not South American.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            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

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

              1. re: johnb

                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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

                      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

                        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. 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. 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

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

                          2. 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

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

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

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

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

                              1. 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. 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. 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. Ramen from England? Is this a joke.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: insomnia

                                        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

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

                                            1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                                              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.

                                        1. Not so much fast food but dessert chains...

                                          Beard Papa Cream Puffs (Japan)

                                          Red Mango (Korea) for "froyo"

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

                                            1. 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. 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.