Cambodia Travel Guide

Oct 22, 2008

Fast food in Cambodia

For years Cambodia has had it's own version of Western fast food chains: Lucky Burger (part of the Lucky supermarket group) and BB World. Late last year America's KFC has entered the market, with two outlets in Phnom Penh and planning to open another two.

Some people (especially expats and tourists) regret this development as they don't want Phnom Penh to 'loosing its charm and become just another Asian capital'. While indeed there is a danger Phnom Penh will loose much of its appeal in the next ten years, I don't think the threat comes from international fast food chains, but rather unregulated development of the city.

And, wait a minute, the Khmers love KFC! They go there in droves. Why? Because it is something they never had here before. It's American, so it must be good (I disagree with that, but that's what most Cambodians think). It tastes different from Khmer food, but still with chicken in it (or beef in hamburgers) Cambodians like it, especially the younger generation.

So, is it a bad thing international chains enter the Cambodian market? No, I don't think so. Overall Cambodians still prefer the Khmer cuisine with every once in a while a burger or a drumstick.

The only question now is: when will McDonald's open up here and what will be the effect of that on the Cambodian burger chains?

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