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Best Chinese Fast Food at Dicos


What is the best Chinese fast food joint? Well it is one you have most likely not heard of, namely Dicos, which was founded way way back in 1994. Currently they rank as the third most popular fast food chain within the Peoples Republic.

So, we know how it goes, you might like Chinese food like Ma la Tang, freed noodles, fertilized eggs, bugs, and dog, but sometimes you just need some greasy Chicken burger. Back in the day this was quite hard, until Dicos rocked onto the Chinese fast food scene.

The Chinese Fast Food Scene

One day I will write about the Chinese fast food scene, but until then you get this little tid bit. The top fast food within China by locations and brand is KFC, who in fact were the first big western food brand within the country. After that came McDonalds as they waltzed through the communist world via Belgrade and Moscow.

Thirds though in numbers, but at least now catching up is Dicos. They were formed in 1994 by Tianjin Ding Qiao Food Service as a means to compete with KFC, rather than McDonald’s.

Initially and to extent even today they offer a far cheaper franchise which has and does mean that they were in places way before KFC, or McDonald’s, particularly lower-tier, or developing cities.

Where can I find Dicos

You can as previously stated find them in pretty much every major place in China, where they play 3rd fiddle, as well as almost anywhere that has neither of the big dogs. This has led to particular popularity at train stations and the like. In fact my last Dicos and the host for our photos came at Dandong Train station.

Interestingly while Dandong has a pretty good KFC, as well as street food, they do not have a McDonalds. Yanji where I also recently went also has a KFC, right by Xining Lu, Dicos but no McDonalds. They do though have Dicos.

In the boonies Dicos fight it out with Wallace Fried Chicken and Burgers, who are akin to Five Star in Cambodia.

Currently Dicos has about as many restaurants as McDonalds, they also sponsor the NBA which shows you just how good one can do business in a place with 1.5 billion people.

What is the food like at Dicos?

Did you ever hear of Oppo, the Chinese phone maker? Well initially it was just to copy the iPod, with “Oppo” sounding like “apple” (in Chinese apple in Ping Guo). Things went well, so now they are no copy but their own brand entirely.

This is pretty similar with Dicos who were originally just a KFC rip-off, but have since gone more their own way. That is not to say they are completely unique though, and they are much more comparable to KFC than McDonalds. This is in part because the Chinese have always done fried chicken – part of the reason KFC did so well.

In some respects this means that Dicos Fried Chicken is more authentically Chinese than KFC. Authentic though does not translate into good, with me personally finding Dicos Fried chicken to be fried for the sake of frying it. KFC China though also offer this “crispy” abomination, with original recipe being less popular.

The Dicos burgers though usually feature about 8 chicken burger variations though and can be excellent. Firstly there the standard chicken burger that could be from almost any restaurant, including KFC. This is bog standard and will help with a hangover, but it is the weird ones that get you.

Many years ago I had many Diocs burgers here that were made using two rice bund and a burger in the middle, absolute starch heaven. This was eventually discontinued to my dismay.

Most recently in Dandong with Justin Martell of Pioneer Media fame I got a burger that seemingly also had a green Wasabi Mash on it.

And it is for these many factors that I feel that Dicos has indeed come out on its own, as its own thing. It might not be the best fast food in China, but it is the best Chinese fast food, so long as you avoid the fried chicken.