Vegan fast-food restaurant Munchies will open its first location in Chiang Mai, Thailand next week. Dubbed the “vegan alternative to McDonald’s,” Munchies will offer veganized versions of popular comfort foods such as cheeseburgers with crispy bacon, hot dogs with fried onions, nachos, fish and chips, and beer-battered onion rings. Owners Raul and Koula Paiste were inspired to open the vegan eatery after learning about the benefits of a plant-based diet during Koula’s pregnancy three years ago. “Our revelation was that people don’t want to eat quinoa salads; they want things they already like,” Raul told VegNews. “Instead of trying to change people’s eating habits, why don’t we just change the food they already like?” Raul said the challenge is to compete with animal-based, fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s by offering a better-tasting burger. If the flagship location is successful, Raul plans to franchise throughout Thailand and Southeast Asia, and eventually expand to the United States. “This will only work in the end if we have a shop next to every single McDonald’s with a vegan version of a ‘Happy Meal’ and a place for birthday parties,” Raul said. “[That way] parents have a better option for their children.”

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