Land of the Free, Home of the best fast food in the world. I LOVE living in Dublin, but oh how I miss the greasy French fries and overly-generous portions of American fast food. There’s really nothing quite like it.
And though Ireland does have a few US chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC, they’re just not the same. The portion sizes are smaller, and they just taste different. (That’s probably because they’re lacking the artificial ingredients found in the States that are illegal in most other places because they aren’t meant for human consumption, BUT STILL.)
I’ve gotten used to, and mostly forgotten about, fast food places they have in the States that they don’t have here in Dublin. But then, every once in a while, I’m reminded. Someone utters the word “Popeyes” and I start foaming at the mouth. I wasn’t even a huge fast food eater back at home, but as soon as I hear magical words like “Taco Bell” uttered, I’m a goner. What’s that phrase again, “Distance Makes the Heart Go Fonder?” Well, that’s exactly what I’m suffering from.
Now, keep in mind that I’m from South Louisiana, and I realize that some of these chains aren’t everywhere in the US. But for me, these are THE best and the American chains Dublin needs, like, STAT.
Chick-Fil-A is BAE. I just love this place so much. If I had a big night out in college and was feeling a bit rough the next day, I would go to Chick-Fil-A. If I had just taken a big exam and wanted to treat myself, I would go to Chick-Fil-A. It’s the only fast food place I ate at semi-regularly, and I MISS IT. I miss those delicious waffle fries and fried chicken sandwiches. THE CHICK-FIL-A SAUCE!! I miss it all, damnit! And Dublin, well Dublin was such a tease recently when it had a Chick-Fil-A pop up at a city centre restaurant. I was SO PUMPED when I found out. But, as it turns out, the pop up was one day only and only from 12-2pm, when I was at work not anywhere near. So, that was a big ol’ bummer. Out of all American chains Dublin needs, it needs this one the most (for my own personal sanity). But every time I visit home, I make sure to go there at least 336234 times.
Without this Southern staple in my life, I feel as though a piece of me is missing. Sure, Ireland has KFC. But KFC is nothing, I mean NOTHING compared to Popeyes. I mean, have you tried their biscuits???????? They are unlike anything else my mouth has ever beheld. Apparently Popeye’s does have locations outside of the US and Canada, but mainly in Korea and Turkey (????) So maybe there is hope to get one in Dublin? Only time will tell…..
Unlimited chips and salsa is something that Dublin hasn’t really caught onto yet, and that is (to me) what Chili’s does best. Their chips and salsa, and their queso, are to die for. What is there NOT to like about dipping salty tortilla chips into a melted cheese and ground beef beef, and getting your bowl of chips and salsa replenished when you’re running low FOR FREE? Nothing, that’s what. Combine that with the delish Tex-Mex fare in ridiculous portions, and the very reasonable price, and I think Dubliners would be ALL over that. After all, there’s a TGIFridays here, and Chili’s is so much better than that place. Photo via.
4. Waffle House
Waffle House is one of those places that’s kind of disgusting, but then delicious at the same time. It’s the epitome of a greasy diner. You leave with a happy tummy, but you smell like fried food for the rest of the day. But it’s so worth it for those pecan waffles. Also, what’s not to love about a place that has like 10 different options you can choose from for how you want your hashbrowns cooked? Smoothered, Diced, Peppered, Covered…there’s really no way you can go wrong with Waffle House. It’s probably one of the quintessential childhood memories of anyone who grew up in the South to see so many Waffle Houses when driving along the highway on family road trips, and stopping to eat was such a treat every time. Photo via.
5. Taco Bell
Another one of those places that is gross but delicious. Well, delicious in the wee hours of the morning, that is. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Taco Bell soberly…#RealTalk. But, one of my past-midnight, fourth-meal staples is a CrunchWrap Supreme. Not sure exactly how much of it is real, natural ingredients, but “ignorance is bliss”, right? I’m telling you, once the Irish know that it exists, there’s no way they wouldn’t love it. It’s affordable, it’s open late, it’s Tex-Mex fast food at it’s most glorious. The Tex-Mex market hasn’t really been tapped here in Ireland, so there’s huge opportunity here. So get on it, Taco Bell. Photo via.
Sonic is on this list not for their food, but for their wide variety of drinks. To me, the beverages are where Sonic truly shines. Slushes, shakes, sundaes…and so much more! Sure, they’re one of the only fast food places where you can substitute tater tots for fries (and why wouldn’t you????), but my favorite thing about Sonic is their amazing drink and dessert beverage menu. Followed closely by the fact that the workers come to deliver you food on roller skates, of course. Considering how popular “American-style diners” are here, I think that the Irish would really love it’s old diner vibe mixed with quick, fast food service and prices.
7. Checkers (Also known as Rally’s in some places)
Whether you call it Checkers or Rally’s, it’s included on this list for one reason and one reason only – their fries. You guys, you have not lived until you’ve tried Checker’s fries. It would be the Irish chippers – those unflavored, mushy, horrid things that Irish people seem to love so much – to shame. Photo via.
OK, so I’m really hungry now. Can’t wait to dine in a few of this wonderful establishments when I’m home in December! But for now, here’s the dreaming that these these places pop up around here soon. C’mon, get some American chains Dublin!
To any expats out there…what food places do you miss most from home?