Samui Wining & Dining
Rapid Repast
Too much fast food will surely slow you down in the long run.


Rapid RepastWe scoff and we’re off. Everyone likes the occasional burger, fried noodles or pepperoni pizza, but most of us don’t know how thriving the fast food culture around the world is and how long it’s been around. Here are some fast food facts to enjoy with your fries.


1) About 50 per cent of worldwide food revenue is on fast food.

2) Ninety per cent of American children visit McDonald’s every month.

3) Anti-German sentiment in World War I led to hamburgers, derived from Hamburg steak sandwiches, to be relabelled ‘Salisbury steak’. French fries were renamed ‘freedom fries’ by some Americans when France vetoed the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

4) As well as hamburgers, German fast food features plenty of sausages, including curry flavoured, served with chips, mayonnaise and ketchup.

5) In 2005, Advertising Age called Ronald McDonald the second most influential advertising icon of the twentieth century. (The first was the Marlboro Man.)

6) The average American child sees more than 10,000 fast food TV ads every year.

7) Hamburger and fries are the standard fast food meal in most Western countries.

Flatbread and falafel are the most common fast foods in the Middle East.

8) The most popular Indian fast food dishes are vada pav, panipuri and dahi vada.

9) In West Africa, roadside stands sell their own brand of fast food – char-grilled meat sticks known as brochettes.

10) The French have their fast food served on bread and in baguettes and crepes, often with a tomato ketchup and mayonnaise sauce.

11) It’s probably no surprise that the biggest fast food seller in Thailand is sticky rice. In second place it’s the famous spicy shrimp soup, Tom Yam Kung, with green chicken curry coming third.

12) McDonald’s is the biggest employer in Brazil.

13) The first fast food was served way back in Ancient Greece and Rome, when vendors sold bread and wine from stalls on the street. Bread soaked in wine was eaten in the morning as a quick snack.

14) In the Middle Ages, most towns had vendors selling pies, pasties and cooked meats, as people in single households usually couldn’t afford housing with a kitchen.

15) Fast food in London throughout the centuries has included fish, oysters, shellfish and eels, leading to the great British favourite – fish and chips.

16) Another very British fast food is the sandwich, invented by the Earl of Sandwich around 1762 when he didn’t want to take a food break whilst in the middle of a card game – and asked his servant for some dried meat wrapped in bread.

17) Chicken tikka massala has now overtaken fish and chips as the most popular fast food dish in England.

18) The UK has the highest number of fast food restaurants per person in the world, with Australia second and the USA third.

19) In some countries, fast food street vendors call out prices, sing, play music, or engage in other types of street theatrics to lure passing customers.

20) Americans eat approximately 18 acres of pizza a day.

21) The world’s largest KFC is in Beijing.

22) You can order a Whopper at Burger King in over a thousand different ways.

23) When McDonald’s opened an outlet in Kuwait, the queue was seven miles long.

24) Drive-through fast food became more popular in the 1990s, leading car manufacturers to install cup holders in the dashboards. As fast food drinks became bigger, so did the cup holders.

25) In 1998, more fast food employees were murdered on the job in the USA than police officers.

26) McDonald’s calls people who eat a lot of their food ‘heavy users’.

27) Subway is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world, with over 30,000 restaurants in 90 countries.

28) Subway’s first non-US branch opened in 1984, in Bahrain.

29) The Italian fast food market includes vending machines which sell pasta.

30) A man of average weight would have to walk for nine miles to burn off a Burger King Double Whopper.

31) When it was revealed that McDonald’s used beef tallow to flavour its fries, Hindu customers in Mumbai smeared cow dung on a statue of Ronald McDonald.

32) A Stanford University study showed that when children aged between three and five were offered two identical meals, one wrapped in plain paper and one in McDonald’s packaging, they picked the latter, saying it ‘tasted better’.

33) Between 40,000 and 50,000 meatpackers for fast food chains are injured every year, making meatpacking one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States.

34) By the year 2000, one out of eight people in the USA had been employed by McDonald’s at some time in their lives.

35) Most nutritionists recommend not eating fast food more than once a month.

36) Forty five per cent of British people and 44 per cent of Americans surveyed said in 2008 they would never be able to give up fast food.

37) In the United States alone, consumers spent about $110 billion on fast food in 2000, an increase from $6 billion in 1970.

38) In 2006, the global fast food market reached a value of $104 billion.

39) In India, the fast food industry is growing by 41 per cent a year.

40) To combat the steady rise of fast food, a ‘slow food’ movement was founded in Italy in 1988, which has now 100,000 members in 80 countries.

41) In the 2004 documentary ‘Supersize Me’, American Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but fast food for a month. He gained 24 pounds, nine of them in the first five days.

42) KFC is known as PFK – Poulet Frit Kentucky – in the Quebec region of Canada.

43) A 2007 study on male and female differences in eating fast food found that men are eight times more likely to go to a fast food restaurant alone as opposed to with friends.

44) McDonald’s is the largest owner of private playgrounds in North America.

45) A typical fast food strawberry milkshake contains about 50 artificial ingredients to create the ‘natural’ strawberry taste.

46) When Coke, that ubiquitous companion of fast food, was first produced it was a green colour – and included cocaine.

47) Indian restaurants in the UK employ more people than the steelmaking, mining and shipbuilding industries put together.

48) Chop suey was invented in New York, not China.

49) 7-Up got its name from the inventor who had already rejected six other names for the drink.

50) The average British person eats Britons eats 2.2 curries per week, with Britain spending £2.8 billion on curry every year.


So, there you have it. And some of those facts will surely be enough to put you off fast food for life. Unless, of course, you’re in a tearing hurry to be unhealthy.


Lisa Cunningham


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