Although I do not plan to eat at any fast food places while I’m here, I do think it’s interesting to look at what chains are here, and how they are different than what we have in the USA. For what it’s worth, I did not see ANY major chains while I was in the south, so obviously this doesn’t apply to that area.
First, convenience stores. The most common store is a local chain called Musmanni. They are like a convenience store, but with the bread of a panadería. I like the combo! I feel like you can find one of these on every other block. The second most common convenience store is probably AM/PM. Those are all over the place, too. But I haven’t see any 7-11s.
As far as fast tood goes, I feel like there are all the major chains from the US, plus extra chicken stores that are either local or from somewhere else. At least judging by the restaurants and food places I see around, they really love to eat chicken here.
McDonalds is all over the place, and they all have a “postres” kiosk in the front of the store that sells ice cream cones and other desserts. These are always really busy. I would almost say that they sell more ice cream here than burgers and fries.
Burger King has a “Whopper Tico.” Basically, they took a whopper and added some local things to it: salsa Lizano, natilla (something in between mayo and sour cream), beans, and crispy tortilla strips.
Wendy’s has the “Fut Box.” This appears to be a regular fast food meal, plus a cup of rice and chili, served in a box with world cup flags (for a limited time, but I’m still seeing it around).
Many fast food places advertise that they serve gallo pinto for breakfast, or a “casado” for lunch- basically taking whatever they serve, such as chicken, and adding it to a plate of rice and beans to call it a casado.
And, of course, there are the pizza chains. Papa John’s and Pizza Hut are the two most common ones, I think.
Finally, there are the little storefronts downtown that have a variety of greasy fried stuff for sale over the counter.
Definitely plenty of options to get your fried food fix at any time of day!