A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cultural Notes: Getting KFC Delivered Through the Gaza Tunnels

Since tomorrow happens to be Nakba day (fuller post coming), some Palestinian readers might feel I'm being overly flippant by posting this piece tonight.  Please accept my assurances that I intend it as the sort of quirky cultural story I frequently post, and the date is purely coincidental, at least on my part.

We have heard much about the Gaza tunnels, usually in connection with arms smuggling, infiltration, and the like, with both Israel and Egypt portraying the tunnels in a sinister manner, and I don't doubt some highly dubious material and personalities do pass through them. But, if this Xinhua Chinese news agency report is accurate, you can also use them for KFC delivery. Yes, since Colonel Sanders isn't available in Gaza, you can order from al-Arish in Egypt. The English, presumably translated from the Chinese by the same people who translate computer manuals and Chinese menus, is a little rocky, but the meaning is fairly clear:
At Al-Yamama delivery company in the Gaza City, the floor is filled with boxes of fast food with the famous face of Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC.
However, there are no KFC restaurant in this Palestinian coastal sliver of land as the regular absence of raw materials and Israeli restrictions on Gaza crossings make it difficult to open an international fast food branch here.

But ordering fast food from one of the world's most popular restaurants has become possible in Gaza after Al-Yamama started to bring the food from the Egyptian North Sinai, which borders Gaza.
The fried chicken make their [sic] way from one of the many underground smuggling tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border.
As cheap fast food goes, it's neither cheap nor fast:
Since late last month, they have made four deliveries of KFC food to Palestinians in Gaza, with every delivery including about two dozens of combos.
The clients include both those who have traveled outside Gaza and the people who never stepped a foot out of Gaza.
"It's delicious even as it's not hot," said Aboud Fares, a 22- year-old student, as he bit a mouthful of a chicken breast. His sister, who traveled several times to Egypt, was enjoying the KFC apple pie.
The price of a KFC family meal is about 80 Egyptian pounds ( about 11 U.S. dollars) at el-Arish KFC restaurant, but getting it in Gaza costs as much as 100 Israeli Shekels (30 dollars).
The delivery company says the higher price is due to the transportation and smuggling fees.
Those seem steep prices for Gaza. And there are other impediments:
Al-Madani also said that they do not face a lot obstacles in bringing the food to Gaza, but the delivery may be delayed due to various reasons.
"Sometimes Hamas checks the meal boxes and sometimes the taxi that picks up the orders from Sinai is late," he said.
I'm pretty sure KFC is halal unless it's cooked in lard (highly unlikely in al-Arish, I should think),but maybe Hamas inspectors like the Colonel's products too.


Anonymous said...

Took the Washingtonpost two days to catch up to you.


Michael Collins Dunn said...

Hmm. They're getting faster.