I suppose you could be forgiven for thinking that you know all there is to know about fast food. But you'd better read this section if there is a chance that you will grab a bite at a fastfood joint in Cebu, such as KFC, McDonald's, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Sbarro, Dunkin Donuts, Mr Donut, or the local competitors, Jollibee, Chowking, Orange Brutus, MyJoy, and Jonie's Flavored Chicken.

First of all, DO NOT clear away your tray with all the junk. Cebuanos wouldn't dream of going to a restaurant and clearing away their own garbage. When you have finished eating, leave your tray behind on the table, gooey burger wrappers and drink containers and all, and just WALK AWAY. It's a bit hard to do at first, after years of conditioning to the reverse, but don't worry: a swarm of employees will take away your tray. The only people who clear up after themselves here are the occasional clueless foreign tourists, who provide entertainment for the rest of us. It's painful to watch.

Second, almost nobody orders burgers at McDonald's or Jollibee, although they are on the menu. Even at McDonald's, all Cebuanos ever order are either a fried chicken meal with rice, or spaghetti. At least, they call it that. In any case, few people other than foreigners order burgers, and you will often be facing a long wait if you order a Big Mac.

You may be forgiven for thinking that you won't be experiencing any culture shocks at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Well, Cebuanos do order the Colonel's fried chicken. But they want it with rice, and the management has adapted by practically making it impossible to order chicken without a serving of rice. I have personally witnessed, on three separate occasions, increasingly frustrated visitors from overseas desperately trying to communicate to the sales clerk - whose English ability is usually limited to a perky greeting - that they do not want rice with their chicken. "Just three pieces of chicken!" they'll insist, and end up with three chicken meals, each with its own plate and pack of paper-wrapped rice. Just give up, man! You're in Cebu. Take the rice home, feed it to a stray dog if you don't like it, but don't give the poor kid a hard time. Leave your principles behind; you ain't gettin' none of that chicken without at least three little packs of rice.

It gets stranger still. Cebuanos insist on dunking their fried chicken - the KFC original flavor fried chicken with 11 herbs and spices - in a thick gravy used in the Western world for, say, meatloaf. For some reason, this has become customary. You automatically get gravy with your chicken. Maybe the original franchise instructions for preparing mashed potato got screwed in translation. I can't really explain it. Then again, this is Asia, and one can't expect this place to be devoid of a few mysteries.


Authentic Italian pizzas are covered under Italian Restaurants. Here's a quick word about American-style delivered pizzas.

Domino's have yet to arrive in Cebu; of the US chains, only Sbarro, Shakey's and Pizza Hut have made it to this island's shores, and only the latter two deliver. Both of these have outlets at Fuente and in Banilad. In Banilad, Shakey's are diagonally across the Gaisano Country Mall and Pizza Hut are inside it.

Interestingly, they quickly spawned local competitors, who serve what might, at first glance, pass as a pizza, but reveals itself to be something rather different when you take a bite, namely fecha. That's the Bisdak pronunciation of the word "pizza," often employed by the staff and customers at Greenwich and JCA Pizza. It must be said that these establishments price their products considerably lower than the American chains.

Chez Andres, a tiny pizza store run by a Frenchman shows that, while Frenchmen may be hopeless at creating authentic American or Italian pizzas, they can serve up a hearty, tasty meal which resembles pizza in size and form. Chez Andres are a bit out of the way, in Cabancalan, but deliver widely.

Another nice place is tiny Roma Pizza, who were originally located only in a quiet side street in Ayala; now they are inside the mall.

The new entrant in the pizza scene in 2004 was Da Vinci's pizza on President Osmena Blvd aka Jones, near Fuente. I hear their pizzas aren't bad.

SHAKEY'S 253-8080 [FUENTE] 343-8080 [BANILAD]
PIZZA HUT 253-2000
JCA PIZZA 231-4000
GREENWICH 234-1000
CHEZ ANDRE 343-8413


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