Burger King failed me

Burger King has come to Shanghai! Today was its first day open. Having no better lunch plans, I decided to make the 10 minute walk down there on my lunch break for a Whopper. It was pretty packed. I couldn’t tell how crowded it was at first, because they made the odd decision of putting the ordering counters on the second floor.

After waiting in line for about 10 minutes and getting no closer to the cashier (numerous pseudo-lines were forming around me, merging into my line), I decided to leave rather than getting angry. The line had grown quite a bit in the ten minutes I had been standing in line, so I had quite a few people to push my way through. The new arrivals were all murmuring, “it’s the same price as McDonalds.” Yup. Big surprise. About 18 rmb for a combo meal.

I’ll have my Shanghai Whopper one of these days. In the meantime I guess I’ll have to keep eating delicious nutritious Chinese food. Dammit.

Related: Shanghaiist on Burger King


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, … am I missing any? What’s next in the fast food kingdom of Shanghai? It’d be a trip to see something like In ‘n Out Burger make its way to Shanghai but it’s a down-since-day-one California sensation. Since it also prides itself in its high pay ($9.25 an hour for its N.Cal employees, $9.00 for its S.Cal employees, where the typical rate is $6.XX), it’d be interesting to see it boasting its higher than the others pay in Shanghai … “We’re Hiring! 4 RMB an hour!”

    Hey, do that have the 6 dollar burger (Paris Hilton Ad) in the Shanghai location?

  2. Does that mean Suzhou is next – Whoopee. Did any big celebs open it? I was on my seats edge waiting for that to happen for a while actually – Chris in Suzhou

  3. do they deliver? everywhere can do right?

  4. Ah, for those who want a visual taste of California’s In ‘n Out Burger, check out:


    It’s one of the images I took last weekend on my business trip to LA. I made a stop off of hwy 5 to this freeway-side (they typically are located directly off the freeway exit and I probably saw a half dozen on the 5 hour route from SF to LA) In ‘n Out Burger and chow’d down on this fat meal. Image consists of:

    (2) Cheeseburger (Animal Style)
    (2) French Fries (Animal Style)

    Animal style, which consists of adding grilled onions and thousand island dressing, is not on their simple menu – it’s a cult favorite. The In ‘n Out menu is a joy – you choose burger, cheeseburger or double-double (which is a cheeseburger with double patties and double cheese). You can get french fries with that and add a milkshake or cola to it. That’s the whole menu and the meal for two as shown was 8 bucks. If you’re one of those types that walks into a fast food joint and spend 15 minutes trying to decide, then this experience will be a walk in the park.

    Sorry about bringing this California joint up in a Burger King Shanghai post but it’s after 3am and I’m staring at this photo and it’s all I’m thinking about as the MIDNIGHT MUNCHIES man!!!

  5. I was just wondering what the Chinese name for Burger King is, since I have seen a few local companies in Heilongjiang suffix their name with ‘汉堡王’ (Hamburg/Burger King), and this would, I imagine, be the name Burger King would take.

    Also, these local companies borrow heavily from their American counterparts: one is called 麦德士 (Maideshi or “MacTuch’s”) and another is called 肯德利 (Kendeli (no English name)), both using characters from McDonalds’s and KFC’s names.

  6. Couldn’t you get something at the Take Out window? Or do they frown on ‘walk ups’ there like they do in the US? Or, for that matter, do they even have a take out window for drivers?

    Think Checkers will make it there?

  7. Ke Meng Says: June 29, 2005 at 4:19 am

    Jealous of you. It is exceptional hard for us to find great Chinese food in the States and delicious Chinese snacks. Summer is the best fruit and vegetable season in China, 杨梅、水蜜桃、枇杷、荔枝、菠萝、香瓜、西瓜、李子… Killing me.

  8. Tim P,

    Pretty much no drive-thru in China. I think I heard that one chain (McDonalds, maybe?) was going to try it at one location. In any event, Burger King certainly didn’t have it.

    Much more common than drive-thru is home delivery. Tips are not even required.

  9. “China’s first drive-in opens, and more”:


    I could have sworn that I read an article with a picture of the drive through at the time.

  10. I’ve never had anything from Burger King before.There is none in my country. Might just go buy something there before I go back to Mauritius for hols. Enough of KFC. =_=

  11. Tried the BK last night. Asked for no mayo, no ketchup. Got ketchup and returned it. The server was not pleased. Still has to work on that friendly customer service. As to American chains, it is interesting to see the difference between Beijing and Shanghai.
    Beijing has A&W, Baskin Robbins, Dominoes, Dairy Queen, Hard Rock, Sizzler, Schlotsky’s and Outback Steakhouse while Shanghai doesn’t (except that DQ is newly arrived, I hear.
    Shanghai has Tony Roma’s, Hooters, and BK. Anyone know of any others?

  12. Pat, there used to be a Hard Rock Cafe in Shanghai, but it was being relocated — not sure if it ever re-opened. Schlotsky’s opened and closed a while back as well. A few more chains with locations in Shanghai: Subway, TGIFridays, Mister Donut, and Taco Bell.

  13. Hi Brad,

    Yeah, I remember the old Hard Rock and Schlotsky’s. There are rumors that HR will reopen on Tongren across from Malones. I only listed restaurants for the two cities that are exclusive. And that isn’t a REAL Taco Bell. Run by Yum!, but certainly not a midnight munchie run place. And I think Mister Donut is a Japanese chain.

  14. Yeah, Mister Donut is a Japanese chain, but it was founded in the US in the ’50s.

  15. Da Xiangchang Says: July 3, 2005 at 11:43 am

    I LOVE American multinationals and globalization, but man, the Chinese got to stop being infatuated with American fast food. I swear, there are enough cows in the average American office building to start a cattle run. The Chinese should stick to Chinese food–the REAL Chinese food, not the oily crap served stateside–and stay slim and hot.

  16. When is BK comming to Beijing????

  17. John,

    BK has failed me too. I went to BK for the first time in my life yesterday and was hoping that it would restore my faith in hamburgers after many years of torment and abuse at the (grubby) hands of Maidanglao. But alas, the fries were cold, hard and awful, the burger a humid mush of unfresh gunk. I just cannot believe that this is the same food they serve in the States. From a language point of view, it was interesting. I don’t know who was responsible for the localization, but they are at least creative with their Chinese slogans and stuff – 我选我味 and 态度多得很 . None of it sounds very Chinese, but perhaps that is the appeal. Who knows, it may catch on. I will have to remember to use this in my next job interview: 问:你有什么专长? 答: 主要是态度多得很。 (???)


    Bring Hardees to the mainland!

  18. Da Xiangchang, I had a great laugh when I read your comment about American food being oily, because when I first visited Beijing in 1997, I found the cuisine to be pretty much drowning in oil, even worse than the oily crap of a fake CHinese food we get in most of the States. Perhaps the oiliness could in part be blamed on my selections of yuxiangqiezi and jiachangdoufu and the like, and if I had chosen something more qingdan diar like minan cai, it would have been better. At 140 pounds, I was the fattest I have ever been in my life that year in Beijing.

  19. Da Xiangchang Says: November 23, 2005 at 11:00 am


    Well, I said American “fast” food. Chinese fast food is pretty bad too. Maybe I’m really thinking of an archetypical Chinese cuisine–rice, noodles, lots of veggies, few meats–that don’t exist in reality anymore. You go to a Chinese restaurant, it’s like 75% meat dishes and 25% veggies, and that’s really bad. But, overall, I still think it healthier than an average American steakhouse or burger joint.

  20. Where is it, can someone tell me the adress of this new desireable FAT FAST FOOD place in shanghai? BURGER KING

  21. Frank Yates Says: November 20, 2006 at 7:03 am

    It is behind the Jing’an temple. I ate there twice in August 2005 not realising it was newly opened and the first in China. It was different in that it sold Diet Coke, at that time not readily available (and still not away from the cities). There is a bus from Pu Dong airport which terminates at the Jing’an temple and the Metro has a station there.

    I understand the Google Earth reference for the Metro station is

  22. Well, Carrefour in Kunming failed me yesterday. Yes, it was a Sunday, when there were a lot of people there, but to wait in a queue of 50 people, all with trolleys, even to access the escalator that would take me to the food hall was just too much. I just knew that the food hall would be no fun with that number of customers. So, no, I did not get any French bread yesterday.

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