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McDonald's icon in Shanghai, China. (From a photographic gallery of images of fast food, in Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, p. 95) Fast Food. Has any human invention ever been as loved and loathed as fast food? Feelings run deep about the huge U.S. fast-food chains, especially McDonald's and KFC. Internationally recognized as symbols of Americanization, globalization, and overflowing schedules, they are also symbols of convenience, reliability, and (usually) cleanliness.