July 5th, 2022
¡Yo Quiero Taco Bell! An American Fast Food Icon Comes to Malaysia
At long last, Malaysians will finally be able to make a “run for the border” at the latest American fast food venture to wander across the Pacific Ocean and set up shop in Malaysia… Taco Bell.
Take it from me, an actual American, Taco Bell might be a running joke in the United States, but it’s a joke that everyone’s in on, because really, their food is pretty tasty – and super popular. It’s not fine dining, and some of their food experiments have been seriously questionable, but if you’re craving cheesy quesadillas, a crunchy, delicious taco, or a hot bean burrito (often at any hour), if you live in an American city, chances are there’s a Taco Bell nearby.
Long associated with late-night visits (often courtesy of the post-clubbing drunken munchies), Taco Bell is a legit Tex-Mex institution in the US, having been founded in Southern California in 1962. Franchising helped the explosive growth, and now Taco Bells from coast to coast serve up a semi-addictive and highly Americanized (read: bombed with sodium and fat) version of Mexican food. Trust me when I say there is very little ‘authentic Mexico’ to be found in any tray of food slung across the counter at Taco Bell. And yet, we love it… to the tune of over 6,600 outlets across the United States. Every single week, Taco Bell serves over 40 million people in the US alone. And internationally, people are catching on, too, with some 500 restaurants peppering nearly 30 different countries around the world. (And no, there are no Taco Bells in Mexico, which should be your first clue to its authenticity. Mexican cuisine is so special and unique, it’s actually inscribed by UNESCO for its intangible cultural heritage.)
Asia has been in on the Taco Bell action for several years, with India, the Philippines, China, Japan, Korea, and Sri Lanka boasting outlets (along with Australia and New Zealand). Even Thailand and Indonesia can each claim a lone Taco Bell outlet!
And now, Malaysia is about to be added to that list! Are people excited? Judging by the buzz on social media, definitely so. On April 2, 2021, the first Taco Bell in the country will open its doors, and we’ll get an idea of what this iconic brand looks like in its Malaysian version. Hopefully, it’ll be closer to imported restaurant concepts like Chili’s, whose outlets in Malaysia generally tend to reproduce their American versions pretty faithfully (minus the pork, of course) and less like Pizza Hut, whose localised “pizzas” would be almost completely unrecognisable in the franchise’s home country. That’s just one opinion, though. Maybe a nasi lemak taco would be good, who can say? As long as it’s offered side by side with the real thing, we figure nobody will complain.
Sadly for those of us in Kuala Lumpur who thought the first Taco Bell would open up a bit closer to home, the inaugural outlet will instead be opening in Cyberjaya, of all places.
Yep, that’s right: Malaysia’s first Taco Bell outlet is located at Lot SD-02, Off Persiaran APAC, Cottage Walk, 63000 Cyberjaya, Sepang. The outlet will be open for both dine-in and takeaway from Monday to Sunday between 10am to 10pm. Delivery services will reportedly be made available soon.
If you’re not especially keen to hoof it all the way to Cyberjaya and back for a taco, fret not, as the second outlet (which was reportedly meant to be the first until remodeling delays came into play) will be opening soon at the new-ish Tropicana Gardens Mall, located in Kota Damansara, making it a bit closer, at least for foodies in and around PJ.
According to the official statement, “Malaysians can look forward to an exciting and globally-famous Taco Bell experience, which offers a twist to familiar Mexican favourites such as tacos, burritos, and more. Taco Bell is well-known for its innovative menu offerings, all featuring bold flavours and quality ingredients at unbeatable prices. Iconic menu favourites found around the world will also be making their way to Taco Bell Malaysia, such as the Crunchy Taco Supreme™, Crunchwrap Supreme™ and many more.”
As for the title of this article, that was arguably Taco Bell’s most famous ad campaign, featuring a sassy little chihuahua (named Gidget), who concluded each commercial with the phrase, “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!” (or, translated, “I want Taco Bell!”) – the campaign was quite popular in the 1990s.
To watch one of the original ads, CLICK HERE!
So, will you be “making a run” for Cyberjaya or waiting until Taco Bell makes its debut closer to the city?
Details and Location
Lot SD-02, Off Persiaran APAC
Cottage Walk, 63000 Cyberjaya