Burger King kicked McDonald’s Ass

11 Jun

BK on the Prado. Offers Wi-Fi!

Add this to your list of “Only in Bolivia” (well, what makes Bolivia uniquely Bolivia):  McDonald’s went out of business here.  Yes, even though the Bolivian diet is essentially the McDonald’s diet (meat and potatoes and friedness…and also similar to the chicken mcnugget, you don’t know what’s going into those salchipapas and chorizos), Bolivians don’t give a hoot about McDonald’s.  It’s not even considered a luxury or status item, as in most countries.  It seems that American culture has reached Bolivia:  most of the programming on TV is American, subtitled; there’s a fake Hard Rock and MTV store in La Paz; Playboy jeans and accessories are worn like Chanel.  But when it comes to food taste, Bolivians have told me that they’re very particular about it. Bolivians like to eat Bolivian food and nothing else.  Guacamole and tortillas have yet to make a breakthrough here, despite the fact that every cholita is selling avocados and choclo.

Enter Burger King.  They have succeeded where McDonald’s has failed.  Burger King is perhaps the only popular American franchise here in Bolivia (I have seen a Subway and a fro-yo place, but there’s only one branch), and it’s not even that popular to boot.   A friend of mine from Cochabamba, Bolivia says that Burger King was able to survive here b/c they actually changed their menu to match Bolivian tastes–the burgers even taste Bolivian-style (which is more flavorful and spiced than in the U.S.).  My gringo friends tell me the opposite–the burgers at Burger King don’t taste as good as the U.S.

I went to BK for the first time today.  The burgers were delicious.  I haven’t been to BK since I was 10, when they had the 99 cents Whopper and my family bought 4 and ate those in the parking lot every weekend during the summer.  So my memory may be faulty, but these tasted pretty much like BK burgers, unique cuz they’re flame-broiled.  The lettuce was a little yellow, but it was clearly not a Bolivian-style burger, which would be a slightly flatter patty, more fried/blackened and spiced.  BK was also wonderful, b/c it offered free Wi-Fi and has a large selection of coffee, desserts, fried chicken, etc.  I will be going back.

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