Coming Soon

Long-time New Mandala readers will know that I have always paid a bit of attention to Southeast Asian fast food economies. Some of my writings on the topic from over the years are available here and here. And perhaps my fullest treatment of some related issues comes in this 2008 post.

In Myanmar today there is a sense that everything is changing, and that naturally includes the fast food options. Gastro-pubs with posh pizzas, erratic purveyors of new-fangled fried chicken varieties and, of course, foreign burger joints: they are all on the march.

But it’s not McDonalds or any of the other major American chains that seems to be making the first big move. It’s the Japanese.

Years ago, when travelling for a conference, I once had a lonely Lotteria burger in a mid-sized South Korean town. I recall it was pretty good, as far as such burgers go. I’m sure the chain’s imminent arrival at Junction Square in Yangon (where I snapped this picture) suggests that other major burger players will not be too far behind.

Word on the street is that KFC may be (almost…) there already. The Wall Street Journal, for those who are curious, has a good description of the relevant local business dynamics.

This is part of a series of micro-posts based on time in Myanmar, January-February 2013