America is literal heaven when it comes to food; there are just so many options to choose from in this country.

Having lived only in Asian countries my entire life, though, these options were limited by a whole lot for me. Obviously, I’ve always eaten from globalized chains like McDonald’s, but hearing things like, “I miss Chick-fil-A so much” from my American friends was also routine. I just couldn’t wait until I got to college so I could try all this new food (and to study of course).

McDonald's COEX 맥도날드

MPD01605 on Flickr

Guess what? Now I’m here! I figure that there are people around the world who are in the same position I used to be in, so I decided to give a review of some popular food chains in America.

Eddie Choi

I am from South Korea and my friend Marika is from the Cayman Islands. We are starting our first year at the College of William & Mary as international students. We asked our close friends what their favorite food chains and menu items were. We then went to the top three because three meals a day (jk, because college students on a budget)


The first place we went to was IHOP, which is supposedly the go-to breakfast/brunch chain in America. We were recommended to try the red velvet pancakes and 2 X 2 X 2.

Eddie Choi

Marika: "The pancakes were really fluffy and tasted authentic like not from a chain breakfast place but a family owned more personal one. The bacon had the perfect amount of grease".

Eddie: "This is the epitome of an All-American breakfast chain, except you can go there at any time of the day. I just wish the food was a little bit cheaper because it tastes amazing, but at the same time this isn't a fast-food place so the pricing does seem reasonable".


Our next stop was Chick-Fil-A, which many people turn to when they crave chicken-based fast food. When I lived in the Philippines and South Korea, the place I turned to was KFC, because it's globalized unlike Chick-Fil-A. Marika and I ordered a grilled chicken club sandwich set, some nuggets, and a frosted lemonade.

Eddie Choi

Marika: "I’m not the biggest waffle fries fan but I’d have to give these a solid 10/10. They had the perfect amount of salt and were both crunchy and soft. The chicken nuggets were also super delicious".

Eddie: "Honestly, the chicken was too salty and I was pretty disappointed because everybody hyped me up for this place. But I did fall in love with the frosted lemonade, which tasted like a mixture of vanilla ice cream and lemonade. I think that's a pretty genius flavor combo".


The final chain we went to was CookOut, which you probably never heard of unless you're from one of the ten states in which they are located. Simply put, CookOut is the In-N-Out of the southeast. The amazing thing about this place is that you can get a lot of food for cheap: you can get an entrée, two sides, and a drink for less than 10 bucks. We ordered a chicken quesadilla with two corndogs, some chicken nuggets, and two milkshakes (M&M and peanut butter).

Eddie Choi

Marika: "First time trying a corn dog and I’d have to say it wasn’t the greatest thing but I would give it another try elsewhere. The milkshake was the best part of the meal".

Eddie: "The food was good, but I think the milkshake here is probably the best I've had. It's so thick that we had to use spoons to eat it, which I love because it almost felt like ice cream. I'm also amazed by the fact that there are over 40 milkshake options. I'm probably not even going to finish going through the list by the time I graduate".

Eddie Choi

^ but actually.


I know I said three chains, but I thought it would be fitting to talk about my first In-N-Out experience. This was during the summer when I visited California for my sister's graduation. My family ordered some Animal Style fries, a Protein® Style burger, a cheeseburger, and a Double Double® burger.

Eddie Choi

Eddie: "I loved everything about In-N-Out. Just by biting into my burger I could tell they used fresh meat and veggies. I thought the Protein® Style was also really cool and new because I never had a burger without bready buns. I especially loved the Animal Style fries because the sauce was unlike anything I've had before".

Now I get why the term “Freshman 15” is a thing in the US. You’re probably never gonna run out of things to eat here. Especially for people like me and Marika, everything is so new and we might as well say “Freshman 50” because we still have so much to explore.