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Feb 10, 2014 08:19 PM

3-5 (Worldwide) Chains You'd Like on Your Turf

This thread is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, for it's not as if I'd like to witness even more chains flood the market. However, if they aren't here yet, I don't reckon that they will soon transform into the hares that Starbucks and Subway have become.

In any event, there are a few chains from around the world that I'd actually eat at if they existed in New York City (in no real order):

1) 老鄉村 (老乡村) Lǎo​ Xiāng Cūn- China, specializing in Hunanese food. Watch out for the dizzyingly large number of garlic cloves that make themselves home in many of the mains.

1) Matsuya - Japan, budget Japanese comfort food, often 24 hours.

1) MOS Burger - Japan, hamburgers...and "naan." But hamburgers are the clear favorite.

1) Nando's - South Africa, known for flame-grilled chicken with peri-peri sauce. Their minty peas were swell too.

1) School Food - the RoK, but this is one I haven't yet tried. I stumbled upon one in Jakarta (in case you're heading to or in the city, it's by Mega Kuningan), but beef bacon just wouldn't cut it. Anyway, Korean food is usually good, so maybe one day.

1) I can't remember the name, but it was a fast food (hamburgers) place painted blue and white in Bloomington, MN. That wasn't the only one, but they had a particularly worthy burger for this list.

What are your choices?


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  1. I'm guessing the Bloomington MN place was a Culver's. Very tasty Wisconsin based chain.

    1 Reply
    1. re: autumm

      I miss Culvers, the fish sandwich is great as is their custard.

    2. I'm with you on Nando's. That place would do great business in the US. Crispy chicken covered in sweet/spicy sauce? That's practically a food group in America. Some others:

      Din Tai Fung (Taiwan) - savory soup dumplings with incredibly delicate skins, and the best hot and sour soup I've ever had

      My Home Steak (Taiwan) - thin steaks served on a sizzling platter with black bean sauce. OK, objectively not that good but it reminds me of childhood.

      Pizza Hut (India) - The toppings are better than what we get. They have this fiery sliced green chile and butter tomato sauce that goes great with that greasy Pizza Hut crust.

      Su Shi Beef Noodle (Beijing) - hand-stretched noodles blanched in a clear beef broth, then topped with sliced meat, cilantro, scallions and chili oil. A very simple dish that stands or falls on the skill of the noodle maker.

      In N Out - bring this place to Chicago! I'll trade you West Coasters all of our Culvers and most of our Steak N Shakes for just one In N Out near my house.

      4 Replies
      1. re: RealMenJulienne

        Have you heard of the chain "Pepper Lunch?"

          1. re: Tripeler

   reply was for RealMenJulienne, since he mentioned a Taiwanese steak place. Pepper Lunch is in a bunch of East Asian countries, but I haven't seen them in the states yet. Maybe Hawai'i?

            1. re: BuildingMyBento

              No, this is the first I've heard of Pepper Lunch. I haven't seen them in China or in Taiwan.

      2. We have Nando's Peri-Peri in the DC metro area. There is one a couple of miles from my house!

        3 Replies
        1. re: ambergersa

          Nando's just opened in Baltimore, I'm excited to try it. I buy the hot sauce at the grocery store and love it.

          1. re: ambergersa

            I've been to three - one in Johannesburg, two in DC - and the taste seems consistently decent. Know if they are opening others in the Beltway area?

            1. re: BuildingMyBento

              There's on in Silver Springs MD - we go out of our way to eat there when we travel down that way. Wish I could get one in DE.

          2. The Cheesecake Factory people also own a restaurant in Century City CA called Rock Sugar. I love everything about this restaurant (and I'm not a CF fan at all). I wish there was one (or two) location on the east coast.


            1. Burgerville, from the Portland, OR region. But if they moved south, then they wouldn't fresh and local.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pamf

                Love these guys. Glad they are close. Have 2 less than 2 miles away!