Lip-smacking profits in smuggling KFC to Gazans
Fast-food starved Gazans can now order home-delivered Kentucky Fried Chicken, thanks to a new smuggling service which brings takeout from Egypt via a network of underground tunnels.
It is not exactly "fast", taking several hours to arrive, with the Palestinian delivery firm behind it charging hefty prices to cover the cost of fuel and transport.
"Last chance to order for the Thursday 6pm delivery is Wednesday night," says the Yamama delivery firm on its Facebook page.
Yamama then orders the meals, about 30 on a typical run, from the KFC outlet in the Egyptian city of El-Arish, some 40 kilometres away. "We place the order with the restaurant in El-Arish, then drive it in a car to the Egyptian side of Rafah," Yamama director Khalil al-Ifranji said.
"Someone takes it from there through the tunnels to [Gazan] Rafah. They then drive it to our headquarters [in Gaza City]."
Motorbikes then deliver the food, with the entire process taking three to four hours.
Fast food is just the latest trend for smugglers seeking to turn a buck by bringing in hard-to-get products to the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.
Tight restrictions on Gazans entering Egypt mean those with a craving for chicken cooked to the Colonel's Secret Recipe cannot just pop over the border and pick up a bucket.
Instead, some residents seem quite happy to shell out 130 shekels (HK$276) for just 20 pieces of fried chicken - double what it costs in El-Arish.
There are no global fast food chains in Gaza.
"There are many orders," Ifranji said of the service which was launched just three weeks ago. "People can't travel regularly, and those who've tried this food really miss it. Those who haven't, dream of it."
For Iyad Jaber, it is a great idea. "Whenever a KFC advert's on television, my wife tells me she wants to go to Egypt and have some," Jaber, 34, said.
When his wife heard about the KFC smuggling service, she demanded he get some, saying she would wait forever if they saved up for a trip to El-Arish.