New KFC opening divides Latvians

New Brunswick, N.J. — On Audēju street in Riga, a red signboard with the letters KFC left passersby surprised. Both locals and tourists were not expecting to find a world-famous fast food restaurant specialized in fried chicken in Riga’s Old Town, the city's historic heart.

Some expressed their appreciation of the new place but many others were against the grand opening of yet another fast food restaurant.

PHOTO CREDIT: KSENIJA TIHOMIROVA

PHOTO CREDIT: KSENIJA TIHOMIROVA

For locals who are trying to preserve the country’s culinary identity, having already McDonalds, Subway, Hesburger, Costa Coffee and other restaurant chains in the north European capital seemed quite enough. “Such restaurants are both unnecessary and excessive,” one pedestrian said.

However, other residents were excited for the opening and welcomed the fast food chain in their neighborhood. “This good news concerning KFC makes me want to go back to Latvia very much,” one visiting expatriate said.

Another visitor was heard saying: “Finally, I can’t wait for this to happen, it’s about time because Latvians deserve to have some well-fried Kentucky chicken in town.”

People might have opposing opinions about the new opening but almost all natives agree that the city has drastically changed over time, attributing the modern transformation to the westernization of their country.

PHOTO CREDIT: KSENIJA TIHOMIROVA

PHOTO CREDIT: KSENIJA TIHOMIROVA

On the opening day of the KFC restaurant, more than 500 people were seen standing in line to get inside, proving that a majority of natives was favoring foreign foods and trends at the expense of the traditional diet.

Most attendees were teenagers who, waiting impatiently to try the new menu, were inadvertently showing complete inappreciation of their own culture and values.

 

cartoon credit: losangelesorienteering.org

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Ksenija Tihomirova

Political Science and Criminal Justice major at Rutgers State University, New Brunswick (NJ) Current Intern in Latvian State Police, current Player in NCAA Division I Collegiate Tennis, 2014 Athlete of the Year, 2014 Rookie of the Year Award, 2014 Most Valuable Player Award. "To quote my all-time favorite writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, “How could you live and have no story to tell?” In my mind, this sentence captures the essence of writing, for if one truly lived and experienced life, he or she would have a story or two to tell. And that's what we, GYV, are here for!"