McDonald's restaurant, Beijing, China. (Supporting image from the project Hungry Planet: What the World Eats.) 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.