Depending on your take on things, McDonald’s is either the epitome of Yankee imperialism/unsustainable capitalism or the best food ever (maybe some variants in between). I personally was previously part of the former, but moving to China mellowed me somewhat, and now I fall into the latter category.
In fact, I’d say that it was Chinese breakfasts that really turned me to the dark side.
Seeing as there are no McDonalds in most of the countries I have been travelling since December, and you know the whole COVID-19 thing, I think I am now at about seven months sans-Big Mac.
Being located in Cambodia, I was surprised to learn that it was one of the few countries not to have a McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC, all good, but a distinct lack of Ronald McDonald and his cohorts in the country.
This got me thinking if there isn’t a McDonalds in Cambodia, which other countries inflict such cruel and unusual torture on their citizens? It was time to investigate.
McDonald’s is present in 110 countries and territories of the world, but this includes non-sovereign places such as Guam. We are not going to get into the whole what counts as a country debate (today) because you can read our very concise take on that here.
Five Countries That Don’t Have McDonald’s
OKl so this one is hardly a Jarvis Cocker, but yes, there are no McDonalds in North Korea. A few years ago, there was talk of perhaps KFC entering the market (they were also the first to enter China), but it came to nothing. You can though eat a hamburger in North Korea though.
Islamic Republic of Iran
There were previously western franchises in Iran, but then they had the whole Islamic Revolution thing and all things western went the way of the dodo. Funnily enough, there are lots of fast-food restaurants in Iran, many repurposed from their former glories.
Nauru is the least visited country in the world and is a tiny rock in the middle of nowhere. Every restaurant bar two on the island is a Chinese restaurant and not the good kind. Despite not having any Big Mac’s they still manage to be theme obsess country on earth. Top marks Nauru!
The Pacific Islands
Continuing on from the Nauru example, every country in the Pacific is Mcdonald’s less, with the exceptions of Fiji and French Polynesia.
Are there any western countries without a Mcdonald’s? Ladies and gentlemen, we present San Marino. In fact, they formerly had a McDonalds, but competition from fabulous Italian restaurants drove them out of business. Kinda funny, really.
Now I know what you are thinking, surely we have left off a number of obvious ones, but in fact, we probably haven’t.
Next up five countries you might be surprised that have a McDonalds.
OK, so this one flies through on a technicality, but there is a McDonalds on the military base in Guantanamo Bay. We realize this kinda doesn’t count as Cuba, but we are throwing it in there anyway. In Cuba proper, they have El Rapido.
Despite Chavez inspired a socialist revolution. Mass unemployment and rampant inflation Venezuela have over 100 franchises in the country. I’m guessing they don’t have toilet paper, though. You heard it here first.
Mcdonald’s only entered the Vietnamese market a few years ago, but seem to be a prime example of if you snooze you lose. Lotteria of Japan/Korea are the main fast food people, and McDonald’s only has 22 locations in the country.
Seeing as beef is not widely consumed in India, the equivalent of a Big Mac here uses lamb in place of beef. Burger King is the same, and I have to say the Lamb Whopper I had there was really quite good!
OK, so this the same gag as the Cuba one as it is on the American military base. We have included this because there is a national rip-off called MaDonal, which is supposedly rather good.
The Soviet Union! Back in 1991 and before the August Coup Muscovites were lining up for hours to try a Big Mac, quite how much this helped with the fall of the Soviet Union, or if it was a CIA trojan horse is anyone’s guess.
And that is the lowdown on all things Global McDonalds.