10 countries where you won't find a McDonald's

Love it or loathe it, the big golden arches provide an instantly recognisable landmark on the most unfamiliar of skylines around the world. For many travellers McDonald's represents a safe and often cheap meal, even if a highly unimaginative one. For others it may be considered a useful stop as the cleanest free public toilets in town. Either way when passing through many parts of the world it's easy to believe that the red and yellow American fast-food giant has conquered the world.


It might be reassuring therefore to know that there are still a healthy number of countries that have yet to experience the cultural delights of the Big Mac or the Filet-o-Fish.  Whether they have just said no,non, nyet, nej, etc or whether they have flirted with McDonald's before giving them the elbow, there's many a place where the fast food giant has failed to make its mark. 

Here is just a selection of 10 of these countries where you'll have to make do with the local variety of fast food:

1. North Korea (ok, not so surprising here)

2. Seychelles (proof that a tropical paradise does not need to serve Big Macs to be complete)

3. Syria (as a member of George Bush's Axis of Evil it is not considered worthy enough to have a McDonald's)

4. Vatican City (the smallest country, yet it is packed with tourists who would no doubt welcome a happy meal)

5. Cambodia (it's on the cards apparently, but for now the millions of visitors to Angkor Wat have to do without the reassuring taste of home)

6. Zimbabwe (an argument for regime change surely, if one were needed)

7. Vietnam (old wounds run deep?)

8. Nepal (shame, as they could easily claim to be the highest McD's in the world - would a Quarter Pounder taste any better at 4000m?)

9. Kazakhstan (the largest country in the world to be McDonald's free)

10. Barbados (one outlet opened in 1996 and closed six months later due to poor sales)


McDonald's, Bangkok

And conversely, here are 10 surprising places where McDonald's has successfully arrived:

Iraq (ok, the McDonald's is hidden away in the Green Zone)



American Samoa


French Polynesia

Qatar (maybe swung the World Cup vote?)


Saudi Arabia

Japan (not surprising that they are in Japan, but more so that they have 3,500 outlets there; more than anywhere in the world outside the US)

So next time you have a hankering for meat in a bun in a box and feel guilty for supporting an all-conquering global imperialist capitalist machine, take some reassurance from the fact that there are some corners of the world that, for whatever reason, will never be lovin' it.

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