Kuwait on VICE: Fast Food of Arabia

Post by Mark

As Americans become increasingly health-conscious and junk food sales plateau in the States, fast food companies are spreading to new global markets, expanding their revenue — and the waistlines of their customers.

VICE correspondent Gianna Toboni travels to Kuwait, now one of the most obese countries on the planet, to witness the health effects on a country deep in the throes of an unlikely obsession with U.S. fast food. “Fast Food of Arabia” airs on HBO Friday, April 21 at 11pm.

I just watched this episode a few moments ago and although it doesn’t bring to light anything we (as in people living in Kuwait) didn’t already know, it did make me realize two things:

1) Some of the most prime seaside real estate is occupied by fast food chains
2) There needs to more education by the government on healthier living

I don’t have any numbers to back this up but I personally don’t think Kuwait is as obese as it used to be 10 years ago when I first brought to light the obesity issue. Back then we didn’t have close to as many gyms as we have today, people were a lot less active (even I used to be an overweight couch potato) and we definitely didn’t have as many healthy food options as we do today. But there still are a vast majority of people who don’t know how to eat healthy. We tend to assume everyone knows what is good or bad for them but thats not the case which is why I think there needs to be more education on this subject. Maybe nutrition classes should be mandatory in schools or something along those lines.

Here are also some interesting dates I got from this episode of VICE:

First KFC in Kuwait – 1973
First Hardees in Kuwait – 1980
First Pizza Hut in Kuwait – 1982
First Mcdonalds in Kuwait – 1994
First Burger King in Kuwait – 1997

I also found out that the Hardees in Kuwait was their first Hardees outside of the U.. So now I’m interested to know the story on how that came to be.

This episode of VICE is 30 minutes long but only the first half focuses on Kuwait so it won’t take too much of your time. Based on Gianna Toboni’s instagram account, she filmed this in Kuwait last August. If you have HBO NOW, you can watch this episode [Here]

Update: If anyone wants the lyrics to the Domino’s Pizza cult song, here they are:

Who are we?
Domino’s Pizza!
What are we?
Number 1!
What’s our job?
Make more pizza! Have more fun!
Make more pizza! Have more fun!
Make more pizza! Have more fun!

Domino’s asking all the right life related questions…

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23 comments, add your own...

  1. Ahmed says:

    VICE S05E08 in torrents as well.

  2. Buzz says:

    The first Wimpy in Kuwait, 1970.

  3. Dun says:

    As always Vice is very topical. What about the underlying reasons for this? What makes Kuwait different from Dubai? What makes Kuwait similar to Saudi? What makes restaurants socially and religiously acceptable and sanctioned, while other venues of entertainment are not? Vice trying too hard to be cool and edgy, but never scratch the surface (although they like to give the impression that they dig deep).


  4. jm says:

    is it true the mcdonalds on gulf road had a que of 12km on their opening ?
    wtf its in the guiness records. its hard to believe

  5. Chuck says:

    All I know is that I love the fact that there is Five Guys Burgers here. All we need now is In N Out…..

  6. Salah says:

    Wait, is she really pointing out that Domino’s have high demand in Kuwait by emphasizing that they got a call center?! As in the US they don’t?!

  7. NG says:

    “Some of the most prime seaside real estate is occupied by fast food chains”

    If you’ve read the story of Ray Kroc (the founder of McDonald’s) there’s a famous 1974 incident where he asked MBA class at University of Texas at Austin – “What business am I in?”.

    Of course everyone replied hamburgers, and that’s when he quipped “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not in the hamburger business. My business is real estate”.

    I’m pretty sure other chains followed suit and realized that more money is to be made in real estate than selling junk food.

    If I recall correct, I read somewhere that McDonald’s today is the largest single owner of real estate in the world, owning even more than Catholic Church.

    • k says:

      correct, the primary source of income is from leasing the land that the mcdonald’s is built on.

      just watched “the founder” last week, really good movie.

  8. Yousef says:

    You’re right about the serious lack of nutritional education here. I’ll never forget this gem one of my friends dropped on me sometime back: “Hey, Yousef, can you order a Caesar salad for me? I need some fiber in my system.”

    …… what?

    • dun says:

      Romaine lettuce (the one used in caesar salad) is a great way to pump your fiber intake. 1 cup of shredded romaine lettuce provides 2 grams of fiber, equaling to 8% of the daily value.

  9. zaydoun says:

    The bit about fast food outlets occupying prime beach-front property really hit a nerve with me… It’s really sad

  10. Fatma says:

    They just aired another more interesting episode they filmed in Kuwait about diabetes in Kuwait; screening and treatment protocols

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