An Overall Guideline on Fast Food in Vietnam
Fast food is something hot, quickly served in special restaurants, and often taken away to be eaten in the street. However, is it true in Vietnam? Is there something even being served quicker than fast food? Read this article, and you will have the answer.
Story of Vietnam Fast Food
The fast food industry is one of the most profitable businesses worldwide, it is estimated to be worth more than half a trillion dollars, and there is a tendency to increase.
Burger King has over 19,000 locations in over 100 countries, while McDonald’s has 40,000. However, the story of fast food in Vietnam is different. In 2014, McDonald opened its first store in Vietnam, currently having 25 stores in this 90-million-people country. In 2011, Burger King followed and now has only 17 stores. These numbers are far from what businesses expect to expand. So what are the reasons?
Reason 1: Fast food service is not as fast as the Vietnam food service.
If we call KFC, Pizza Hut, or McDonald as fast food, then Vietnam street food like Banh Mi, Pho, and Sticky Rice is “flash food” since they can be prepared in seconds.
For example, to make a bowl of Pho, you need to put solid ingredients, pour in hot water such as broth, and add other ingredients. Or Banh Mi, a type of sandwich on a baguette, doesn’t take long for sellers to be served. Therefore, fast food with its selling point of fast service does not really work because the locals could get faster service from traditional Vietnamese food outlets.
Vietnam Food Has Fast Preparation
Reason 2: Local food is more competitive than fast food.
Vietnamese food is available everywhere in the country, from the mainland to the river. You can see vendors run their businesses on a boat. Moreover, local restaurants add fast food to their menu, which is already full of choices for food. Fast food is said to be dry in comparison with other Vietnamese dishes. Moreover, middle-aged and old Vietnamese prefer eating at home, not in restaurants, making fast food hard to develop.
Vietnamese Food Is Available Everywhere
Reason 3: Fast food company has a higher price in comparison with local food.
Vietnamese people spend about US $2 or less for a meal, while fast food costs around US $5. Besides, drinks in fast food stores like Coke do not appeal to Vietnam customers. Local people can have both foods, which are double size, and their favorite drinks at half price.
Reason 4: Vietnamese prefer healthy food to fast food.
Nowadays, more Vietnamese care more about their health than any other, like richness or success. They tend to choose healthy food with a lower level of fats and cholesterol. They prefer organic food and vegetables.
Vietnamese Prefer Healthy Food
Reason 5: Vietnamese come to restaurants to eat and talk
Vietnamese come to restaurants not only to eat but also to meet people. Eating in a local restaurant allows them to interact with sellers or other customers. When they eat, they can talk, laugh, share food, or watch people pass by on the street. Fast food restaurant is different; the atmosphere is more personal.
This does not mean fast food can not live long in Vietnam. There are a lot of opportunities for fast food to develop in Vietnam. Young people are changing their habits, and they eat out in fast food restaurants which are situated in attractive places with modern, unique designs for dating, gatherings, and even birthday parties and anniversaries.
What is the specialty of fast food in Vietnam?
When fast food comes to Vietnam, there are some changes to suit the local taste and interests.
1. Fast food chains in Vietnam do not open 24 hours a day because Vietnamese do not use fast food for breakfast or late-night meals.
2. Customers come to fast food restaurants primarily by motorbike, so there is no drive-through.
3. Vietnamese choose fast food not because of its convenience and time-saving. They come to fast food when they have plenty of time on special occasions like a birthday party or anniversary. They look for somewhere cool to take photos.
4. Elder people rarely come to a fast food restaurant because they have more food choices at home or other local restaurants.
5. There are some dishes added to the fast food menu in Vietnam which you can not find elsewhere. Those dishes include rice with chicken, grilled pork, fish nuggets, and fried fish burger.
6. Fast food restaurants use plastic bags instead of paper boxes for takeaway food.
7. The ketchup tastes a bit overly sweet. In some restaurants, there is no diet coke is available.
Where to find fast food in Vietnam
Most fast food restaurants like main streets, supermarkets, tourist attractions or train stations, and airports are located in the city center. You can easily recognize them with a huge signboard with the logo. You can find the exact address by going to its official website.
World-known Vietnam fast food chains
McDonald’s is the world's largest fast food franchise in the junk food industry, present in more than 118 countries, with more than 38,000 local restaurants serving nearly 70 million people daily. There are 23 McDonald’s restaurants present in the 2 biggest cities in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Its popular dishes are French Fries, Big Mac, and Chicken McNuggets. McDonald's Vietnam is committed to following the standard of McDonald's global: High-quality food, Superior service, a Clean and welcoming environment, and Great value for money.
McDonald’s typical meal
Lotteria is one of the famous fast food chains in Vietnam, which belong to Lotte Group - one of the five largest corporations in Korea. It has been launched in the Vietnam market since 2004. Currently, Lotteria is leading the domestic food industry with more than 210 restaurants in over 30 provinces & cities across the country. When entering Vietnam, Lotteria adapted its menu, as in other countries, to suit the local palate, such as by adding rice dishes. The menu in Vietnam can now pretty much be split into three parts: burgers, chicken, and rice dishes. The burgers were decent, the chicken was very Asian style, and the rice was with beef.
Lotteria set menu in Vietnam
KFC is the abbreviation of Kentucky Fired Chicken, present in 109 nations and territories all over the world. It has more than 20.000 restaurants and serves 12 million guests every day. In Vietnam, KFC has 140 stores in 21 cities and provinces. KFC is famous for its excellent traditional fried chicken with authentic American-style recipes. The secret of the legendary chicken lies in the formula of 11 herbs and spices used by KFC in preparation for their chicken. Not only does it attracts guests with delicious fried chicken, but the brand also regularly changes the taste of hamburgers to avoid making guests bored.
Crispy Chicken Fry At KFC
4. Burger King
Burger King is the second-largest fast-food hamburger chain in the world. Every day, more than 11 million guests visit Burger King restaurants worldwide. In 2011, it enteBurger red Vietnam with its first opening restaurant in Tan Son Nhat airport. It is now present in 5 cities and provinces in Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, and Kien Giang. Burger King's signature is the Hamburger Whopper. It is the world-famous hamburger with grilled beef imported from Australia, tomatoes, salad, onions, and soft bread is what makes the reputation of Burger King. Although it looks smaller than hamburgers from other brands, it is delicious and worth the money.
You can read our 12 Restaurants for the Best Burger in Saigon for more information.
Hamburger Whopper at Burger King
5. Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut is the world's largest and most loved pizza restaurant chain. Pizza Hut is proud to be present in 100 countries starting from April 2016. In Vietnam, Pizza Hut Vietnam was established in 2006 and has developed over 50 restaurants in the whole country. There are many Pizza Hut restaurants in Vietnam in different provinces and cities in the country.
6. Domino's Pizza
Domino's Pizza is among the biggest pizza companies worldwide. It has more than 10,000 stores in 74 countries & brings satisfaction to more than 1 million customers daily, with more than 400 million pizzas sold annually. Not only delicious, always hot and crispy, but the pizza from Domino's Pizza is guaranteed to be delivered to your doorstep within 30 minutes. If delivery takes more than 30 minutes, you will get a free Pizza Voucher for your next purchase! In Vietnam, Domino's Pizza is available in 5 cities and provinces: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hai Phong, Binh Duong, and Dong Nai.
Jollibee is a Filipino multinational chain of fast food restaurants owned by Jollibee Foods Corporation, with up to 1,200 Jollibee outlets worldwide. The first Jollibee store was opened in Vietnam in 2005. Jollibee has more than 100 stores in Vietnam, spreading across the country now. Fried chicken, burgers, and chips are among the best dishes. Desserts such as peach mango pie, crepe, and ice cream are also among the top choices of customers. Jollibee not only serves the fastest food with high quality at reasonable prices but also creates a warm and luxurious space for customers.
Jollibee Vietnam is celebrating the opening of its 100th store
Popeyes is an American multinational chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants founded in 1972. When joining the Vietnam market, Popeyes was loved by many Vietnamese customers. Popeyes serves authentic spicy & mild fried chicken, chicken tenders, seafood, and signature sides like red beans and rice. It is now present in 4 cities and provinces in Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Kien Giang, and Hai Phong. When it comes to Vietnam, chicken meat, despite using industrial chicken, is processed to suit Vietnamese cuisine with soft meat, a crunchy outer layer, not too much flour, and an aromatic flavor. Moreover, Popeyes has unique fries called Cajun Fries. They may look like French fries, but the special seasoning makes them 100% Cajun.
Cajun Fries at Popeyes
9. Pizza Company
The Pizza Company is owned by The Minor Food Group, one of the leaders in Asia's premium food and hospitality industry. It was founded in 2001 and now has about 500 restaurants all over the world. In 2013, The Pizza Company launched its very first restaurant in Vietnam and now has more than 50 restaurants nationwide. The Pizza Company is famous for its great delicious Seafood Deluxe Pizza, chunky toppings, the signature fullest filling, the premium selective cheese, and the fabulous taste tailored for Vietnamese customers.
Pizza Company is a popular fast food brand in Vietnam
10. Carl’s Jr. Hamburger
Carl’s Jr. Hamburger was founded in 1942 & known for its iconic charbroiled burgers. Today, it has more than 1,000 locations across the U.S. and serves 28 countries worldwide. Although it was open in Vietnam for 10 years, this brand is not very popular. However, it is still a good choice for those who are looking for is regarded as the place to go for extremely high-quality hamburgers. The hamburger is big, juicy, and delicious, accompanied by vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, and sauces.
In Vietnam, do not miss your chance to taste fast food. It will not be like the ones you had elsewhere. If you are not a big fan of fast food, join our food tours with dedicated guides to enjoy street food in the most famous cities.
Image source: Internet
Questions & Answers (4)
I think most fast food chains in Vietnam focus on rice dishes but not burgers. Is it true? Because the burgers in Loteria are really bland
Hi! Usually, fastfood chains change their recipes to fit with local taste in each country. Loteria is an Asian chain, you should try McDonald's or KFC's burgers instead. If you want a really tasty burgers, you should try some American-style restaurants for the most original taste such as: S&L Dinners or Chops.
Are there flavour differences among these chicken brand in Vietnam such as Lotteria, KFC and Jollibee? Which one has the best flavour for tourist to try?
Hi! They offer different menu. From reviews of many Vietnamese, Lotteria and Jollibee are familiar with Asian taste. On the other hand, some overseas students said that the taste of KFC in Vietnam is better than in some countries, maybe it because of the difference between Asian and Western taste. Usually, tourists prefer KFC.
Is there any another pizza brand in Vietnam with excellent flavour? I've tried Domino and Pizza Hut and not a fan of them.
Hi! You may try The Pizza Company. However, if you want to find authentic taste of Italian Pizza, you should come to some famous Italian Restaurants like Belga or NAMO, for fusion taste you may try 4P's, or American taste with West Lake Station.
Is it simple to find fast food in Vietnam, despite the fact that local food is preferable?
Hi Justin, fast food stores are popular in big cities in Vietnam, you can find them easily in some cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However, it's quite hard to find them in the countryside.