Should Eating at McDonald’s Be Part of Your International Travel Experience?

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Eating Like a Local at a McDonald's in Marseille, France

Eating Like a Local at a McDonald’s in Marseille, France

Should eating at McDonald’s be part of your international travel experience? I’ve struggled with this question during my travels both abroad and domestically but why?

Guilt.

Let me explain…and it has nothing to do with calories!

There’s a school of thought (or perhaps myth) defining an authentic travel experience as engaging in activities organically related to a destination. These can include engaging in activities demonstrating a sense of place (visiting a soap making factory or farm), sleeping in independently-owned hotels and quirky inns, and dining in non-franchise restaurants.

I know some travelers who will never rest their head in a flagged hotel, dine in a chain restaurant or engage in a typical tourist activity when traveling because it’s not authentic and doesn’t have that cool, pioneering vibe serving up bragging rights. Sometimes that traveler is me.

The concept of an authentic travel experience is kind of silly because someone in France may have grown up dining at McDonald’s on a regular basis or someone in Dublin may always stay at Hilton-branded hotels. To them, those experiences are authentic.

McDonald’s, along with other franchise and chain restaurants, do offer an authentic experience whether in your backyard or across the globe. I recall visiting Maine and eating a lobster roll in a McDonald’s many moons ago. Orlando is home to the World’s Largest Entertainment McDonald’s & PlayPlace, which has an extensive menu. Last time I ate there I enjoyed Eggs Benedict for breakfast – yum! In Asheville, enjoy your Premium McWrap while listening to the a pianist tickle the keys of a baby grand piano at the Biltmore Village McDonald’s.

Honestly, grabbing a bite at a restaurant I could find at home is somewhat comforting while traveling abroad and such was the case during my trip to Marseille, France, earlier this month. It was a random happenstance a couple of my fellow travel bloggers and I enjoyed dinner at the Marseille McDonald’s when plans that night didn’t work out the way they intended. I was still able to enjoy an authentic French fast-food meal of a Le Petit McBaguette, a burger with French-made Emmental cheese and mustard topped on a baguette along with pommes-frites (okay, they’re French fries but I suppose that would be weird being in France and calling them such) accompanied with pommes-frites sauce, which is like a creamier mayonnaise.

Should You or Shouldn’t You Eat at McDonald’s When Traveling?
So yeah, eating at a McDonald’s should be part of your international travel experience because the Golden Arches may be the same but the dining experience will offer an inside perspective of the 21st century culture in that community. Just don’t make it the source of all your nourishment during your travels. There’s a big world out there begging to be tasted!

Mr. Norddine Bakhouilli Makes a Delicious Nutella Crepe at Le Mediterranee has a Sandwich & Crepe Shop on Cours Jean Ballard in Marseille, France.

Mr. Norddine Bakhouilli Makes a Delicious Nutella Crepe at Le Mediterranee has a Sandwich & Crepe Shop on Cours Jean Ballard in Marseille, France.

When in France…
Of course, a visit to France isn’t complete without a fresh Nutella crepe which is what we enjoyed following my McDonald’s adventure. Pictured above is Mr. Norddine Bakhouilli at Le Mediterranee, located at the corner of Course Jean Ballard and Quai des Belges in Marseille, making a made-to-order crepe right off the griddle.

Made-to-Order Nutella Crepe in Marseille, France

Made-to-Order Nutella Crepe in Marseille, France

How did it taste? Just as you’d think a warm and gooey chocolate-hazelnut spread hugged in a thin, soft pancake would taste. Magnificent!

Do you agree with dining at McDonald’s when traveling?

 

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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3 Comments

  1. After reading the line “fresh boiled dog meat” on a menue my first night in China, I decided to have dinner at KFC this time. Other than that, I always try to get to know the typical cuisine of the country I’m in.

  2. Mr. Norddine Bakhouilli at Le Mediterranee, located at the corner of Course Jean Ballard and Quai des Belges in Marseille, making a made-to-order crepe right off the griddle.

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