Shenzhen  Stuff

Que lastima! We are sad to report that Taco Bell Grande's two Shenzhen locations have closed for good. That leaves Amigos (Shekou and Renmin Nan Lu) as the only fully "Mexican" restaurants in Shenzhen.

The TBG in the Mixc closed on Feb. 20th, with Central Walk not far behind on March 5th.

Not surprisingly, these closures actually followed the demise of the only other TBG in China; the Shanghai location, where the brand was tested in 2003, closed at the end of Jan, 2008. The president of YUM Brands (which owns KFC and Pizza Hut) said back in the test phase, "We use much better materials — very little rice, no beans. We also obviously adjusted the sauce while remaining true to the Mexican heritage." Hmmm... "Mexican food" with no beans and toned-down salsa; could that explain the closure?

The Shanghai outlet was replaced by "East Dawning" (东方既白, Dong Fang Ji Bai) a new brand of Chinese fast food also belonging to YUM.

Frankly, I'm stunned. YUM is the largest fast-food company in China (over 2000 KFCs, over 2800 restaurants with other brands included); they should have done better marketing Mexican food.

I grieve. Yo SIEMPRE quiero Taco Bell--even the watered-down Chinese version.

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Comment by James Baquet on March 19, 2008 at 3:55am
Senor Chippy:

I grew up in L.A., and traveled all over the Southwest, as well as Baja California.

I mean: Mexican food is home cooking to me.

I found 25 Mexican restaurants in Tokyo. Taco Bell was bleh, but it was SOMEthing. Yo no quiero Amigos, either. Ay Caramba, Coyote, Agave in HK -- now THAT'S something.

So I will do ANYTHING to help you. (I live at Gangxia!)

You can do refritos at home -- if you can find the beans.

You can do guacamole at home -- if you can find the avocados.

Cheese is expensive but essential.

Tortillas...I used to have a press, but I never could get the frying right.

I know a couple of things about avocados: They're only available seasonally here (that means winter); otherwise it's HK.

You need a mule for the aguacates.

Chippy, if you build it, I will make SURE they come!

PS: I'm a veg: beans and tortillas with no lard are a real plus for me.

Let's talk...
Comment by James Baquet on March 19, 2008 at 1:31am

My Weixin is on my page
Comment by Jesse *djQuest* on March 19, 2008 at 1:19am
to be honest im also not sad to see it go. i never had a satisfying meal there, and agree with apocryphal about the nachos. now if they replaced it with a REAL taco bell, complete with 99 cent 1/2lb cheesy bean and rice burritos, bean chalupas, burritos, and were talking! lets hope something decent takes its place.
Comment by apocryphal on March 17, 2008 at 10:23pm
Not so troubled by its demise. Tried the Nachos Supreme, I think they called it, in the one by Di Wang Da Sha and was sorely disappointed.
They made an authentic version in a bar in the port of Leith, Edinburgh, of all places! A change from the haggis, neeps and tatties, anyway :~)
However, as you say, it's a wonder a company with their vast experience couldn't do a decent marketing job. I'm sure assistant heads must have rolled.


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