McDonald’s opens its first restaurant in Hanoi

Hanoi: Three years after McDonald’s opened its first branch in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City followed by 15 more in the southern commercial hub, the global food chain inaugurated its first outlet in capital Hanoi on Saturday. The shop overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake drew hundreds of middle class customers who lined up for Big Macs, cheeseburgers, chicken McNuggets and French fries. As Vietnam’s economy grows and more doors are flung open to global food chains like KFC, Starbucks and Burger King, middle class local youths obsessed with US and money to spend make visits to these outlets their lifestyle choice. Their parents may still love traditional food like pho noodle soup, Bún thang or Xôi xéo. The fast food industry in Vietnam has seen double-digit growth annually for the past five years. This year, Vietnam topped Asia-Pacific countries in the growth of fast food chains, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. The industry can grow further as incomes are rising. The annual per capita  income in Vietnam has risen to $2,100 from $1,000 in 2008.