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Vietnam's first McDonald's opens in Ho Chi Minh City

By CNN Travel staff
February 10, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
Four decades after the Vietnam war ended, U.S. fast food giant McDonald's has opened its first restaurant in the communist country.
Four decades after the Vietnam war ended, U.S. fast food giant McDonald's has opened its first restaurant in the communist country.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Vietnam's first McDonald's restaurant opened in Ho Chi Minh City on February 8
  • Restaurant opened by business man Nguyen Bao Hoang, who once worked in a U.S. McDonald's
  • Vietnam already home to American fast food chains like Subway, Burger King, KFC

(CNN) -- The wait is over for Ho Chi Minh City residents and travelers in need of a Chicken McNugget fix.

Vietnam's first McDonald's restaurant officially opened for business this weekend.

Located in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam's commercial center, the McDonald's branch has a 24-hour drive-through service and will feature the usual menu classics, plus some items to cater to local tastes (McPork, anyone?), according to Vietnamese media.

The chain joins other Western fast food chains already present in the country such as Subway, Burger King and KFC, catering to an increasingly brand conscious local middle class.

Menu items at the McDonald's are priced at an average VND40,000-VND60,000 ($1.90-2.84).

MORE: Golden chains: 20 best franchises for travelers

With the addition of Vietnam, McDonald's now operates in 119 countries.

Last year, McDonald's announced that Nguyen Bao Hoang -- or Henry Nguyen as he's known in the West -- would be the developmental licensee for Vietnam to build the brand.

A businessman and son-in-law of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dun, Nguyen has experience in the trenches of the famed fast food chain.

Hundreds came out on February 8 to be among the first to try Vietnam\'s first McDonald\'s restaurant.
Hundreds came out on February 8 to be among the first to try Vietnam's first McDonald's restaurant.

"I have been a big fan of McDonald's my whole life and have had so many wonderful experiences there, including one of my first jobs when I was a teenager," Nguyen said in a statement released by McDonald's announcing the deal.

"I have dreamed of one day opening a McDonald's restaurant in my native country ever since my return to Vietnam more than a decade ago."

MORE: Burgers challenge baguettes in French fast food stakes

Second branch to come

Although Nguyen has not unveiled detailed expansion plans, a second branch is soon to follow in HCMC (referred to as "Saigon" until 1975), reports Voice of Vietnam.

Global reaction to the opening is predictable, with media skeptical over whether Vietnamese will be keen to replace culinary classics like pho and banh mi with Big Macs and Fillet-O-Fish.

Though many on social media have lamented the introduction to Vietnam of a brand that many in the West equate with unhealthy lifestyles, the country already has its fair share of fast food chains.

These include Burger King, Subway, Domino's Pizza, Starbucks, Dairy Queen and KFC.

MORE: Starbucks boldly debuts in coffee-mad Vietnam

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