McDonald’s opens first location in Vietnam; Big Macs but no McPho?

A Vietnamese woman eats at the new McDonald's restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.
A Vietnamese woman eats at the new McDonald’s restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.
(Paula Bronstein / Getty Images)

The Big Mac has arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, marking the opening of the first McDonald’s location in Vietnam. The Golden Arches restaurant will also be Vietnam’s first drive-through.

The restaurant offers the traditional McDonald’s menu of burgers and fries, along with a few offerings unique to the country, such as a McPork line of burgers, featuring pork instead of beef patties.

But don’t expect to see pho, the national noodle-soup dish of Vietnam, on the menu any time soon.

McDonald’s Chief Executive Don Thompson, who traveled to the country for the big opening on Feb. 10, recently didn’t seem to know what it is.

“Now, what is it?” Thompson asked, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I think I may have tried it last time I was here. It’s in a pretty large bowl, like noodle soup?”


The two-story, 350-seat stand-alone restaurant has a 24-hour drive-through. where scooters, a popular mode of transportation in Vietnam, will be allowed.

Vietnam is no stranger to fast-food outlets. KFC and Burger King already have restaurants in the country. But McDonald’s will have to find a way to get its customers there to pay the relatively high price of a Big Mac. The sandwich is priced at almost double what it costs for a street-vendor meal of noodles.

However, business seems to be booming. The restaurant reports crowds of up to 20,000 people a day.

Henry Nguyen, the Vietnamese American son-in-law of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will be the primary franchise operator. A second McDonald’s location is slated to open in three months.

“We believe the country is more than ready for McDonald’s, so we don’t look at it as coming late, we look at it as the opportunity to build the business,” Thompson said. “We are pretty excited about being here, excited about the growth potential.”

Want more fast food news? Follow me on Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_


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