Lai See

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 November, 2003, 12:00am

Desert sands with fries

Politics, as they say, makes for odd bed-fellows. It also makes for odd fast-food chains.

Lai See recently caught up with a friend - a Northern Irish credit markets researcher turned English teacher turned gentleman apple farmer - who was passing through Hong Kong.

Our friend's transcontinental wanderings had taken him through Iran's capital, Tehran, where Lai See lived for three years in the mid-1970s.

One of our fondest childhood memories from Tehran was family lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken after Sunday services.

That, of course, was in the Shah's days. After the Islamic Revolution, KFC, the golden arches of McDonald's and other icons of American culture became inducements to riot.

But Iranians' love of burgers hadn't changed. So into the breach stepped the Bobby Sands Burger Bar, which our friend was surprised to stumble upon.

Bobby Sands, readers may recall, was a member of the Irish Republican Army who died in 1981 while on hunger strike in a British prison. He was a terrorist to some and a freedom-fighter to others including, apparently, a lot of Iranians on the basis that the enemy of my enemy's friend is my friend. And a quick-witted Tehranian entrepreneur opened a burger bar to capitalise on that sentiment. It just goes to show that where some see a desert others see a market opportunity.