Is Peruvian Bembos better than McDonald’s?

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Read the full disclosure policy here.

Checking out Bembos, the Peruvian fast food chain was a savior on a long, strange day. My re-entry into Peru has been an eventful 12 hours, which included:

1) My first bus taking off with my backpack but without me.
2) My second bus not having record of my reservation which lead to me begging them not to leave me at the border at 4am and instead sitting in the bus stairwell for hours.
3) Ultimately being propositioned by my 60-year old bus driver.

Arriving in Piura, I was dressed for the Ecuadorian Spring-like weather and unprepared to be kicked in the face with a heat wave.

I did the only logical thing, headed to the air conditioned mall and ate in the food court.

And so we have round two of local fast food vs. the big McDs. While I don’t like McDonald’s it is a fierce competitor; Colombians professed that El Corral was superior but I wasn’t convinced.

Bembos – Peru’s Answer to McDonalds?

Bembos arrived in the late 1980s and was the only local chain able to keep up with the international burger joints, perhaps because it was wise enough to offer such toppings as egg, ham, pineapple and sauerkraut.

Also aji! I can’t get enough of this pepper sauce. In addition to fries you can get yuquitas made from yuca root.

MAKE IT AT HOME:  Peruvian Chicken Recipe

Today there are over 50 Bembos throughout Peru. They stay competitive by not copying McDonald but sharing the local flavour of Peru.

I chose the double cheese burger with bacon. I hadn’t intended on paying extra for bacon but I didn’t entirely understand the girl and did what I always do in that situation – nodded in agreement.


Bembos Hamburger

The fries are identical to the thin, crisp McDonald’s fare but Bembos has a slight edge with the offer of both ketchup and mayonnaise.

The burger itself was impressive. The double cheese was real and not the plasticy singles. It has a homemade quality feel that reminded me of of A&W and all I needed was a root beer.

On the downside I’m a salt fan but the Bembos Peru burger was far too salty. I started to feel a pang in my arteries.

To be fair I had just ordered “seasoned” meat topped with processed meat and cheese. I knew a bit of salt was to be expected but not as if I licked the Bolivian Salt flats. It was all a bit much and I couldn’t finish the burger.

I’ll probably never eat it again but Bembos wins with a slight edge of quality cheese and mayonnaise on the side.


Interested in Peru: Check out 5 Reasons You Must Visit Northern Peru


Join the Conversation

  1. Pingback: Is Peruvian Bembos better than McDonaldโ€™s? | Travel News
  2. Oh no, your backpack left without you?! That sounds like a stressful event..!

  3. I’d forgotten about Bembos – the bacon and egg burger was great after a night out.

  4. turkey's for life says:

    Sounds very eventful! I’ve not had a McDonald’s for years but from what I remember of them, this Bembos burger looks more real – even if it does solidify the arteries! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ayngelina Author says:

    At 3am it wasn’t as stressful as it was annoying. I’ve learned that things always work out, but sometimes it takes a bit of work.

    I know, should I be flattered, insulted that the 60 year old thinks he has a chance.

    Salt = flavour and I like lots of it!

    You know I think McDonald’s always tastes kind of gross ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I like to think of myself as adventurous and open minded but getting propositioned by a 60 yr old bus driver is an experiance I hope never to have. Flattering though it would be. Funnily enough I think on top of a burger is the ONLY good place for that plasticky cheese.

  7. We definitely had some bad travel experiences lately, althoug at least my suitcase didn’t enter Bulgaria without me. Glad to hear that you are basically a salt fan, so am I. I use far too much, but my arteries have already thrown up their tiny little arms in surrender.

  8. At one point…you should try eating McDonald’s down there as well and compare it to what you know back home. I only did it once (in Uruguay), and it was quite different. Kinda gross.

  9. Hope you got your bag back!!

  10. Ayngelina Author says:


    what?? mayo with fries is AWESOME

  11. Ayngelina, I’d be disappointed if you’d gotten a burger WITHOUT bacon, given your blog’s name!

  12. Ayngelina,
    You survived Bembos? I had to eat there once when nothing else was open and my stomach felt awful all day. With all your comparisons, you are in danger of being a fast food expert, thereby shortening your life. Travel is a dangerous business.
    Nice post.

  13. Nick Laborde says:

    Did I read that correctly, mayonaise with the fries. That just sounds wrong to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Nick Laborde says:

    I guess I’m missing something with this mayo thing. I should probably expand my horizons ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Ayngelina Author says:


    Yeah I got a taxi and we followed it to the next bus station. The cab driver was actually really great and only charged me 2 bucks each way.

  16. So… You’re a mayo and fries kind of girl, eh?! Love it!

  17. Claire (Travel Funny Travel Light) says:

    most def on the mayo and ketchup!! ok, so what happened to your backpack?? did you reunite?

  18. I love this post! Living in Cuzco, after a night out we’d always have the debate on whether or not to have expensive Bembos or street food. My friend loves the damn fries so we’d do both, drunkenly going back and forth. Plus, Bembos has a bathroom. Can’t beat that.
    Where in Peru are you headed to next? I’ll be in Cuzco again in 2 weeks. Headed that way? There’s a massive festival in Puno that I’m headed to called la Candelaria.

  19. Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World says:

    The only thing I can eat at McDonalds is its egg mcmuffin… does Bembo have something similar (and hopefully much better)?

  20. Wait! Did you get your backback pack?!?!

  21. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Quite an experience, Ayngelina! What about the backpack?

    I’m no fan of McDonald’s, but that Bembos burger looks a little pale to me.

  22. Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures says:

    It’s really not hard to be better than McDonalds! Heck we have fast food places better than McDonalds right here in NYC!

    And Ketchup and Mayo together with fries is AWESOME! Know what other combo is awesome? Fries and vanilla ice cream! Seriously!

  23. Justin Hamlin says:

    That is one thing that I think most travelers and bloggers don’t talk about. The local fast food offerings, even if they are chains, are all different to those of us who have never been to the country, so fast food and street vendors, both deserve equal reporting.

    Thanks for the insight, I think you touched on a good point there.

  24. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    I think I need to head to Peru right now and enjoy some of that heat wave! Sounds like you had an interesting 12 hours. I don’t know if that burger looks good, but I’m always down for some fries with mayo!

  25. I like this serious, but, I think loses here in the states to the King!McDonalds

  26. Migrationology says:

    Haha, I always opt for the new option!

  27. wanderingtrader says:

    EVERY COUNTRY.. EVERY COUNTRY that i have lived in McDonald’s is packed. Always packed.. and the local restaurants are baron. Hasn’t failed me yet!

  28. Based on the picture it looks tastier than McD’s but I do hate when food is too salty.

    I’ll still give it a try whenever it is that I’m in Peru!

  29. Ayngelina, I am amazed by the control with which you reduce a hellish bus journey to three controlled bullet points. And that you weren’t reaching for the gin. If you do Australia, I’d recommend Red Rooster fries. They come cooked in lard, just like McD’s used to when we were li’l.

  30. Sounds delicious. Even still, give me In ‘N Out Burger any day.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:


      I’ve never had ‘N Out but the company story is so fascinating. It’s definitely on my list.

  31. OK, any place that offeres saurkraut goes up in my book. And mayo on fries is awesome! So do the pictures on the menu match the final product (unlike McDonalds)?

  32. ann wellwood says:

    I hope your “arteries” survived that meal!You certainly are becoming the “Queen” of thinking on your feet! It seems to me nothing slows you down.You just get up and solve whatever problem you are confronted with at the time.Good for you!!Loved this post!!!

  33. ann wellwood says:

    I hope your “arteries” survived that meal!You certainly are becoming the “Queen” of thinking on your feet! It
    seems to me nothing slows you down.You just get up and solve whatever problem you are confronted with at the time.Good for you!!Loved this post!!!

  34. No to El Corral? Stab at the heart. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you found your bag!

  35. Fries and Jalapeno mayo…amazing!

  36. Oh wow ur bus left you with ur backpack? That sounds so bad. But you survived after all ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Oh no what a day! Glad you got your backpack though. Hope you got all the bad stuff out of the way and that it’s smooth sailing from here.

  38. Love the fries and the ice cream at Bembos – dislike the lackadaisical service and the flavor of the meat. It’s seasoned in a way that tastes.. odd.. to me. I do love that they serve it ‘a la pobre’ with a fried egg and fried potatoes on top!

    And yes – if you haven’t had fries with ketchup/mayo, you’re missing out. My husband likes them with ketchup, mayo, mustard and aji!

  39. Haha, Bembos is one of those things I refuse to eat before a bus ride. That and Chifa. I just know it will end in digestive sadness.

  40. Andrea and John says:

    Oh my goodness! Your first few lines have me worried about SA bus travel a bit now, haha. Thank goodness you know Spanish.

    That is a tasty looking burger. Definitely looks nicer than McDonald’s.

  41. Look delicious!!! From your first picture, I can see that China Wok is in Peru. I have seen them at El Salvador but did not know they are in other countries.

  42. Well… Sorry for the salty burger, but you still managed to make me hungry! And… due to circumstances… I can’t go out to buy food :p
    I think that anyway it’s good to try something new, and then eventually decide we don’t like it, rather than just go to McDonald’s as first choice!

  43. The real question is: Is Pollo Campero better than both of them? I miss that stuff.

  44. Cornelius Aesop says:

    I liked bembos but I didn’t order the burger I ordered some of the other options on the menu, and the true kick of flavor came from the Aji Amarillo, if you get a chance make sure to try something else and go to the side stand where you can load up on onions and aji.

  45. Christian | Lakad Pilipinas says:

    mouthwatering post =P

  46. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    Is it weird that I’m turned on looking at that burger?? I love food way to much haha.
    PS lovin the new layout.

  47. Wow, I’m so glad someone tweeted about you and I found your site. I read your most recent post and saw that you’re going to India, i just returned from India. I have also been to Peru, twice! This post made me smile, Bembos. I have to say I didn’t like Bembos. I actually was VERY sick after eating there… Peru is beautiful and it looks like you had a great time there!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have actually heard from a few people that it made them sick, I wonder if it was all the salt?

      1. I’m not sure, I’m pretty sure I had food poisoning… and Bembos was the only place where I ate an individualized meal. Nevertheless the first day in Cusco was a drag for me.:(

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Oh wow sounds awful, so sorry to hear that.

          1. Sometimes it comes with the territory ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. I cant be arrogant, i am from peru, but macdonals mmmm i dont know, dont taste like any meet, and bembos well is from real cows xD.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a tough call, but the saltiness was unbearable and I like salt.

  49. Bembos and Mc? come on!, Bembos is a restaurant with fast service food, McDonalds is… well everybody know ๐Ÿ˜‰

  50. Antonio Henrique says:

    Loved the Bembos, I would be in Lima now and eat one of the burgers juicy accompanied by Inca Cola.
    I Love Lima and Miraflores.

    I hope to return to Lima next year, and expect that I will be in Bembos.

  51. Joyce Vidalรณn says:

    I’m peruvian and I loooooove so much Bembos!!! The patties are bigger tha Mc donalds and the fries are from native potatoes (peruvian of course xD) and the mayo its amazing!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I wasn’t a fan of the burger but nothing beats Peruvian potatoes!

  52. I’m from Peru, I love the burgers of Bembos and used to eat a big hamburger identical but without the bacon, one day I decided to add it and felt a taste too salty, so I think that was the problem, definitely not recommend adding it next time and to opine again if possible ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments are closed.

ยฉ Copyright 2021. Bacon Is Magic. All rights reserved