Thursday, March 20, 2008

Junk food

JenniferSome weeks are long and stressful, and you're tired, and hungry, and in need of something quick, tasty, and greasy. Some nights, you just need fast food.

This week was such a week, and tonight was such a night. There is in fact a McDonalds just down the block from our current apartment—you can see it in this picture taken from our front window. It seems to be a fairy popular destination for local teenagers, but we haven't tried it, preferring instead to walk the extra block to a place called Max, in a nice old building next to the old City Hall in Stora Torget. Max is a Swedish-owned fast food joint that got its start in northern Sweden, and outcompeted the local McDonalds up there so completely that the McDonalds closed, and Max has since expanded southwards. Max proudly advertises the fact that all their beef and chicken products are grown in Sweden, and are therefore carefully regulated. (The Wikipedia entry for Max, as of today, reads more than a bit like someone in their own marketing division may have written it.)

The Max menu is a lot like McDonalds. Burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, fish sandwiches, etc. Max also sells some things that McDonalds doesn't, like bean salads and lite beer. Other differences include the fact that the chicken nuggets taste like chicken, and they have really really good onion rings. (Whatever other culinary oddities they may practice, there is no doubt that the Swedish people have mastered the art of deep fat frying.) As a customer you also get your own copy of the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter to peruse as you eat from the comfort of bright green plastic chairs.

Another big difference is the price. Fast food does not mean cheap food. The delicious and nutritious meal pictured here (Joe's chipotle burger meal (a brand new menu item, and rather tasty), including fries and drink, and my onions rings and 9-piece nuggets, including two sauces (note that they say "Homemade" on them—it is unclear what that means in this context)) set us back 131 SEK. Still well less than half of what you would pay for dinner out anywhere else that we have seen. And, on those rare nights when you just need fast food, it's worth it.

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