Ever wonder what Taco Bell is like in another country? I recently got to visit Taco Bell Shanghai while I was on a business trip, so I figured I would share my experience. When you first walk into Taco Bell Shanghai, you immediately notice this isn’t your typical fast food experience. In China, fast food is completely dominated by street vendors selling a whole meal for roughly $0.50 USD. So how does a quick service restaurants (QSR) like Taco Bell differentiate itself in China? Easy, it elevated its own atmosphere and menu into a trendy dining experience that could demand a higher price.
When you first walk in you will notice a modern design throughout the restaurant. From floor to ceiling you will notice a California inspired design complete with glass kitchen and digital menu boards. They even have digital kiosks where you can order and pay with your mobile phone. Unlike Taco Bell in the states, you immediately notice that people come here to eat and experience the Taco Bell vibe. No one is picking up their food to go.
Taco Bell Shanghai Food
Shrimp and Avocado Burrito
What really makes Taco Bell Shanghai stand out is their menu because they kept is very simple. Similar to In-N-Out, their menu is small but all of it is delicious. Above is a picture of their Shrimp and Avocado Burrito which has a hint of wasabi. Definitely not your typical Taco Bell burrito but it was really good regardless.
Volcano Chicken Burrito
My favorite item there was their Taco Bell Volcano Chicken Burrito. Imagine a burrito made with marinated dark meat chicken, served with rice, cheese and a nice spicy sauce. Now imagine your first bite which becomes an explosion of flavor unlike any burrito you’ve ever had in the states.
Fried Chicken and Fries
A unique dish that I didn’t expect to see was their fried chicken and fries. Instead of your typical chicken wings they actually fry up chicken collar and serve it with seasoned chips and fries. Surprisingly this was ridiculously good, I just wish they served this back in the states.
Belgian Waffles is another dish that you wouldn’t expect to find at Taco Bell. However, the Chinese knocked this one out of the park because I thought this beat all of the US fast food desserts I’ve had (even the classic McDonald’s apple pie). It was nice and crispy on the outside while still chewy on the inside and it is served with melted chocolate and syrup… Yum! (pun intended)
Imported Soft Serve Ice Cream with Cone
Taco Bell Shanghai didn’t stop at just Belgian Waffles. They also decided to import a soft serve ice cream and cone from Japane. This was a legit soft serve ice cream that you would expect to enjoy at some destination specialty ice cream shop. I would have never guest in a million years I would be eating this at Taco Bell.
Most people enjoy Taco Bell after they’ve had a few drinks. In Taco Bell Shanghai you can get your drink on while you eat your tacos. They have a delicious Pinky Gin and a Green Margarita freeze that you would expect to drink in Las Vegas.
This last picture is just to show the local influence on Taco Bell’s salsa flavors. Yes, they have a Sriracha Salsa!