|Tales of Fried Chicken in the Middle East|
|By BEN GITTLESON (@bgittleson)||Oct 31, 2013, 5:07 PM|
ABC News visited a Kentucky Fried Chicken knock-off in Iran this week, but it's not the only fried-chicken eatery in the region with an interesting story.
We take a look at more KFCs, and KFC wannabes, in the neighborhood.
A KFC franchise sits on Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, the site of nearly three years of demonstrations that have helped unseat two Egyptian presidents. But in a country rife with conspiracy theories, the Colonel hasn't been able to keep away from controversy during the constant protests.
In early 2011, as demonstrators called for then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, rumors trying to paint them as Western puppets said they were being compensated for their fervor with KFC meals. The Los Angeles Times has the lowdown.
Photo: Protestors gesture as they stand next to Tahrir Square's KFC on January 31, 2011. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A bonafide KFC eatery became the first American restaurant in Syria when it opened in 2006, Adam Heffez writes for The Atlantic.
But after two and a half years of war, it closed its doors, The Atlantic reports. Food insecurity, rising transportation costs and widespread violence forced its owners to reconsider their presence in Damascus, the Syrian capital. The franchise's fate reveals the extent of the country's food crisis.
Photo: Syrian women walk past the KFC restaurant when it opened in Damascus on January 23, 2006. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
ABC News correspondent Muhammad Lila this week stopped by Super Star Fried Chicken (SFC) in Tehran, the Iranian capital. The KFC knock-off serves up American fast-food staples like burgers and fried chicken.
In case you're wondering, Lila reports "the fries tasted just like back home."
Photo: Super Star Fried Chicken pulls out all the stops, including an indoor children's play area. (Muhammad Lila/ABC)
Smuggling tunnels have allowed people in the Gaza Strip to obtain hard-to-get items ever since Israel blockaded the territory in 2007. And, reportedly this year, Gazans could add one more product to that list: the Colonel's fried chicken.
For $35 for just 20 pieces of chicken, an Egyptian delivery service sent buckets of KFC food through the tunnels and into the Palestinian territory, the AFP reported. With a dearth of international food chains in the Strip, some Gazans were willing to shell out the cash.
Photo: A smuggler carries food from KFC to be delivered through an underground tunnel linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt, on May 13, 2013 in Rafah, Gaza. (AFP/Getty Images)
Israelis had been munching on KFC for years before the chain's local arm got approval from the company to use a different recipe so that its restaurants could go kosher, according to ynetnews.com. Jewish law prohibits mixing dairy and meat products, so the chain's chicken meals--which use a milk-powder coating--posed a problem, ynetnew.com reported.
In 2009, KFC decided to let the Israeli restaurants use a soy-powder coating instead, according to ynetnews.com, thereby ensuring Jews in Israel wouldn't break dietary laws when enjoying the Colonel's "secret recipe."
Photo: An employee serves a portion of chicken and french fries at a KFC franchise in Tel Aviv, Israel. (David Silverman/Getty Images)
KFC knock-offs proliferate the world over. In a recent trip to Libya, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain recently sampled some fare from "Uncle Kentucky."
In Iraq, Colonel Sanders graces this KFC poser, "King of Kentucky Chicken Restaurant."
Photo: A man stands in front of the chicken restaurant, "King of Kentucky Chicken Restaurant," in Fallujah, Iraq, on March 23, 2009. (Khalid Mohammed/AP Photo)
Amid furor over an anti-Muslim film last year, protesters in Lebanon reportedly took out their anger on restaurants associated with the United States.
Lebanese men in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, reportedly torched a KFC in September 2012, along with Hardee's and Krispy Kreme outlets.
Photo: Lebanese men ransack branches of Hardee's and KFC in Tripoli on September 14, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)