McDonald's

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Of Maharaja Macs, McCafes, and McKrokets

Feb 26, 2002 (Updated May 12, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:McSorry for McWriting yet another McDonald's McReview but I kinda like the Mcdonald's "international menu".

Cons:It's McDonald's

The Bottom Line: McWhat? No "unhappy meal syndrome" for international burgers?


McDonald’s is one of those weird institutions that people either love or love to hate. (OK, OK I’m pretty sure there’s a giant apathetic group out there as well, but the apathy won’t say anything anyway.) In general, I’m the kind of person that wouldn’t have very nice things to say about McDonald’s at all: like how they are depleting our rain forests, destroying animals, displacing people, exploiting an underpaid, non-union work-force and so on. Alas, this epinion is not one of substance and I’ll confess that I even like the taste of their Egg McMuffins and french fries (beef tallow and all); I’ve fallen victim to a few Happy Meal toy scams, and must admit that there is one thing I do enjoy about McDonald’s…how they add items to local menus in a gimmicky attempt to reflect the local culture. (Yes, I know globalization is pathetic and I'm part of the problem.)

For me it was all put into perspective with the infamous Quarter Pounder scene from Pulp Fiction where John Travolta and Samuel Jackson were discussing the aforementioned burger. Since countries like France and Japan use the metric system, a “quarter pound of beef” just doesn’t translate right – so they call it a Royal Burger or McRoyale.

Most McDonalds offer the same things; burgers, chicken nuggets, fries, apple pie, all served up the same way but there are always those items that reflect local tastes and flavors. Nowadays, whenever I travel, I actually make it a point to visit a local McDonald’s to see if there is something new and out of the ordinary. The one thing I have found with McDonald’s all over the world is that it’s pretty consistent – their basic sandwiches and fries taste the same, eerily so, all over the world.

Japan
Recently my husband and I went to Japan and I made him go to a McDonald’s with me so I could sample anything different. To my delight, they had TeriTama Burgers (a teriyaki sauced hamburger patty with that round Egg McMuffin egg), tomato-flavored seasoned fries that you shake up in a paper bag, peach cobbler, and banana shakes, which were (strictly by McDonald’s standards) pretty good.

If you smoke, some McDonald places in Japan will give you one of those disposable gold foiled McAshtrays with the golden arches embossed on to them to take to your table. (If you’re a non-smoker some McDonald’s in Japan offer non-smoking floors.)

Holland
When we last visited Amsterdam, McDonald’s was also sadly on our agenda along with the Rijksmusem and Hanky Panky Tattoo. I had a super interesting McKroket, which was this semi-crispy shelled beefy patty with this creamy mayo-based sauce. Very interesting, and actually pretty good (again, McD standards.) I thought it was going to be some sort of potato patty, like a croquet, but again, to my delight, the McKroket reflected a unique Dutch dish. I washed it down with beer. Beer at McDonald’s. I was later told that fewer and fewer McDonald's in Europe serve beer.

Philippines
The Philippines loves spaghetti and fried chicken (sometimes even eaten at the same time!) so sweet Spaghetti and fried chicken (somehow I don't think it's called McFried Chicken) appear on the menu. Oh - and mango juice. Sarap!

France
France had a frikkin' McCafe, which was a (you guessed) a mini café within the McDonald’s. You can order slices of cake or pastries and drink coffee. I got a McLatte. An actually decent latte. Now I thought that McCafe was indigenous to France, but the Australians we met up with on the train said they had McCafe’s in Australia as well.

The other thing you should be prepared to do in McDonald’s all over Europe is to pay for ketchup, something like 5 cents a packet.

And then there’s India
McDonald’s in India is actually what prompted me to write. I have been to India a few times but never to a McDonald’s, and it’s true, cows are sacred, you can’t find beef anywhere. And so how did McDonald’s even think they could do anything in India? According to my little brother (who spent a few years in India) they eliminated beef burgers from the menu and replaced them with lamb and veggie patties. They created new sandwiches like the The Maharajah Mac which was basically just like a Big Mac except they use lamb. Apparently the entire menu changed… which probably led to their downfall in India, they tried too hard to McMarket things. Everything had to be changed except for the fries, and the fries, as we already know started the McDonald’s backlash in India. (They’re coated with beef tallow.)

I predict McCorporation will be out of India within a year. That makes me happy.

domestically
There’s really nothing exciting at the McDonald’s by my house. And I really haven’t been to a whole lot of McDonald restaurants nationally but I do know that in Hawaii you can have Saimin - a popular noodle soup (a lot like ramen, but with wavier noodles.) Sure, the Saimin would probably have been better had I gone to a local restaurant, but it was for the fun of it.

For breakfast you can add sweet pineapple to any combo meal in addition to your hashbrowns. And the most interesting combo meal? Portuguese sausage, rice, and egg. Served with shoyu.

and the rumors
I was talking about all these different McDishes I had discovered while I was getting my back touched up and my tattoo artist, being a world traveler, put in his 2 cents. Apparently there is a McSki in Sweden that supposedly has Ski-Thru service. You can ski up to the counter. He also said that he heard you can get Catfish sandwiches in the south…


OK, I know McDonald’s hasn’t really done anything positive for the world (although they do try with the Ronald McDonald House), and yes, I do realize it’s a multi-national corporation and I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. If, however you happen to like McDonald’s, are weird like me, or fall into the aforementioned large apathy group, checking out McDonald restaurants in other parts of the country and the world may prove entertaining. New and interesting McDonald's sandwhiches around the world are interesting to me. Sad but true.




Recommend this product? Yes

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