Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pizza Hut in China

I was in Xi'an during the last few days, and for me personally one of the highlights of visiting a big city is the chance to eat real pizza. One would think eating at Pizza Hut would be a pretty cut and dry experience, but it's actually kind of interesting to see how it differs from going to an American Pizza Hut.

For one thing, it's "classy." The servers are well-dressed, the place looks really nice, and there are no groups of screaming children. Western restaurants are more of a fine-dining experience in China, even the ones that would never be considered as such at home. I'm reminded of a short story I once read by a Chinese author. A boy from a poor family was given some holiday money to spend on necessities, but decided to use it impress his girlfriend and take her out to an extravagant meal--at McDonald's. Awkwardness ensues when it turns out his mom is secretly working at the McDonald's to make some extra money for the family.

Pizza Hut also pretty expensive in comparison to Chinese food, so it caters to China's growing middle class, and a lot of the customers seemed to be working couples on a date. Despite the cost, Chinese spending habits were in full force around us. A nearby couple ordered fruit smoothies, salad, an appetizer, a desert, and a pizza, much more than they intended to eat. The other nearby table ordered drinks, chicken wings, meatballs, and three pizzas. With simply a large pizza to split, Nissa and I were the cheapskates of the place.

But my favorite image of pizza places in China, and unfortunately I don't have a picture (but try searching for "China salad bar" on flickr.com), is the salad bar. You are only allowed one trip, so there is usually one crafty young Chinese person making a salad skyscraper on their plate. By this I mean they load an enormous amount of vegetables on their plate in an attractive pattern that is painstakingly constructed over 10 minutes or more. The dedication and attention to detail is truly inspiring.

And finally, I leave you with this:

15 comments:

马克 said...

I wonder where patrons with deformities are "arranged." Is there a deformities section in the back?

Anonymous said...

You might be too young to remember this, but eating at a Pizza Hut wasn't always a hellish pit of misery (doubly so when you're at one in the hellish pit of misery and despair known as Broome County).

While Pizza Huts in Taiwan, China and South Korea blow American Pizza Huts out of the water in regards to the diversity of dishes on offer and the quality of the service; up until the mid-eighties Pizza Hut was a decent dining experience in the U. S.

Not fine dining, but decent. Things changed when the company restructured itself, changing its logo, decor, exterior, etc. and emphasizing home delivery while scaling back the eat-in experience.

The quality of service at China's various Pizza Huts sometimes exceeds the quality of service at upscale, local eateries in Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei.


- A fellow Binghamtonian in the P. R. C.

尼克 said...

Many Pizza Huts in America are no longer using their dine-in areas, which are relatively dead anyway, telling people that they only offer pick-up or delivery orders. IOW they are becoming just like Domino's, Little Caesars, and their ilk, just with worse pizza!

Dan said...

I didn't realize Pizza Hut used to be more upscale in America. I don't go of my own choosing in Binghamton, since one of the few things we do have is good local pizza.

It's interesting that Pizza Hut is so much better in China, since most Western food here is (logically) not as good, just as Chinese people I've met in America are greatly disappointed by American Chinese food.

Matthew said...

I remember going to a Pizza Hut with my parents in Xi'an. At the table behind us: a baby urinates on the floor, mother picks up baby to finish urinating on table, baby craps on table, father picks up crap in napkin and throws it on floor. Sure gave my parents a nice story to tell their friends when they got home.

Dan said...

Wow. I do remember once being in a local bar when a baby wandered behind the counter and left a little surprise. The owner seemed very embarrassed as he asked the mother to clean it up. Actually, I suppose a baby being in a bar in the first place would be pretty strange in the West.

Janus said...

The Pizza Huts in Korea are amazing. Be sure to try the "rich gold II" crust style.

Anonymous said...

FYI: "Rich Gold Crust II" is simply that synthetic cheese in the crust and some sweet potato paste on the top of the crust. Meh.

James Klich said...

Pizza Hut should do very well in China for years to come.

wenwen said...

See this photo, it's very common in Shanghai, pizza hut is very popular in china's young generation.
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/50/119201462_d5719aba91.jpg?v=0

viagra online said...

While Pizza Huts in Taiwan, China and South Korea blow American Pizza Huts out of the water in regards to the diversity of dishes on offer and the quality of the service; up until the mid-eighties Pizza Hut was a decent dining experience in the U. S

Chris Sobieniak said...

I do kinda miss the Pizza Hut of my youth when it seemed like a luxury in my family to eat there back in the early 80's. In those days, they only had dine-in or carry out, no other option, so it was one of those pleasant memories I have of having been there when they had the checkered table cloths and the signature crusts we loved, and my mom kept trying to figure out how they did it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVMqnagink4

Viagra said...

Pizza Hut is considered a treat in countries other than the states; I have noticed.

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