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Well, the trip is drawing to a close, which means that this is my last taste of international McDonald’s weirdness.

McDonald's in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

First up: the Golden Prosperity Burger, which consists of a chicken patty (it’s also available in beef), a hash brown, black pepper sauce, and onions.  I didn’t care for this one at all.  For one thing, it was easily the sloppiest burger I’ve ever had at McDonald’s; the soft bun was barely even able to hold up under all that sauce.  The chicken patty was really bottom-of-the-barrel — it was one of the shoddiest reconstituted chicken patties I’ve ever had.  Plus, the sauce was just one-note peppery.  It really needed pickles or something acidic to balance things out a bit.

McDonald's in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Up next was the Bubur Ayam McD, which was a rice porridge with chicken, green onions, fried shallots, ginger, and sliced chilis.  This was actually not bad at all — the rice had a good texture, and all of the flavours worked pretty well together, with the fried shallots adding some crunch.

McDonald's in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Last but not least was the Red Bean Pie.  This was about as close to a sure thing as it gets.  I mean, it’s a crispy fried McDonald’s pie filled with tasty red bean filling.  Yeah, it was quite good.

Yep, another country, another visit to McDonald’s.  Let’s do this.

McDonald's in Bangkok, Thailand

First up: the McD Patongko.  This is just a tube-shaped piece of fried bread.   I had something similar to this (called a youtiao) from a street vendor in China.  Though that version was actually quite good on its own, this one seemed like it would have been much improved with a dipping sauce of some sort.  It was very plain.  But it was fine, I guess?

McDonald's in Bangkok, Thailand

Next: the Bacon & Pepper Chicken Cheesy Egg Bun.  I quite liked this one; it’s basically a cheesy omelette sandwich with a fried chicken patty and some bacon.  The fried chicken patty wasn’t great, but the omelette was satisfyingly cheesy and gooey, and the bacon was above average.  I want a cheesy omelette in every burger I have from McDonald’s from now on.  I’m going to need someone to make that happen.

McDonald's in Bangkok, Thailand

I saw a bunch of people in the restaurant eating the Big Spicy Fried Chicken, so I figured I should probably try that too.  It certainly earns the “Big” part of its name — it was an absolutely massive piece of fried chicken consisting of  a thigh with some white meat attached.  It was extremely Popeyes-esque, with an aggressively crunchy outer layer.  But it was barely spicy at all, sadly.

McDonald's in Bangkok, Thailand

For dessert, I tried the Corn Pie, because how can you not try something called a corn pie?   It wasn’t great.  It was crispy and fried, at least, but the filling was basically just corn-flavoured glop.  There were also a bunch of pieces of corn in there.

McDonald's in Bangkok, Thailand

I also got the Jelly Trio Chocolate, which is a chocolate sundae with strawberry jelly at the bottom.  This was way better than I was expecting; the jelly was on the chewier side, and it paired surprisingly well with the ice cream and the sauce.  Berries and chocolate is a pretty classic combination, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it works as well as it does.

There was something particularly depressing about eating at McDonald’s in Vietnam. I’ve only been here a few days, but it’s already clear that this country has some of the best food of anywhere I’ve visited so far. It kind of sucks to waste a meal on McDonald’s, but I’ve come this far. No point in turning back now.

The feeling of vague sadness was compounded by being surrounded almost exclusively by Western tourists. I don’t want to be the kind of traveller who judges the way that other people travel, but my hotel is near the main tourist-centric stretch of town, and I’ve seen some stuff. There are so many tourists that hang out at these cheesy-looking bars eating stuff like pizza or nachos, and it just makes me sad. The food here is so good.

But then blog or no blog, I’m in McDonald’s too, so I guess I’m part of the problem.

The menu here had a few interesting things, at least.

McDonald's in Vietnam

The first thing I tried was the pork and rice. This came with a small pile of rice with teriyaki sauce, a cut up pork patty, some veggies, and an egg. It was fine, I guess. I think you can get a pretty good idea of what this tasted like just by looking at the picture.

McDonald's in Vietnam

I had the curly fries on the side. There may as well be one factory that makes all of the curly fries for the entire planet, because they always taste exactly the same.

McDonald's in Vietnam

There were a few sauces other than the usual ketchup at the dispenser, which helped. I tried the chili sauce, the garlic chili sauce, and the mayo sauce, and they were all fairly tasty.

McDonald's in Vietnam

I had the Strawberry McFizz to drink, which was basically a strawberry soda with jam on the bottom. It was intensely sweet, but refreshing.

The menu at McDonald’s in Hong Kong is kind of boring; nothing particularly jumped out at me.  But I’m way too deep into this McDonald’s around the world thing to stop now, so yeah — I got a couple of things.

McDonald's Hong Kong

The first thing I got is the Loaded Fries with Guacamole and Tomato Salsa Sauce (that name just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?).  I think someone needs to tell McDonald’s Hong Kong that fries with a bit of sauce on them and a tiny cup of guacamole on the side doesn’t quite count as “loaded.”

This was fine, I guess.  The tomato salsa sauce was pretty tasty — it basically tasted like a very cumin-tinged hot sauce — but the guacamole was watery and bland.

McDonald's Hong Kong

The other thing I tried is the Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Burger.  This was actually pretty bad.  The jalapeno slices and jalapeno tomato relish were zingy and spicy, but it’s also topped with a very thick slice of pineapple which absolutely overwhelmed the sandwich with sweetness.

The worst part was the chicken itself.  Though the exterior was nice and crispy, it was ridiculously dry on the inside.  I finished this, but I’m really not sure why.

After my shockingly great Korean McDonald’s experience — and considering how good all of the food in Japan is — I had high hopes for a similar experience here.

Yeah, no.  This was a pretty standard McDonald’s experience, sadly.  Not the best, and not the worst.

First up is the Mature Gracoro Beef Stew Burger, which is a crispy fried croquette with cheese and chili on top.  Oh, and the croquette is filled with macaroni and shrimp.

McDonald's in Japan

There’s a lot going on here — between the chili, the cheese, the mayonnaisey sauce, the shrimp, the soft macaroni, the crispy exterior of the croquette, and the creamy interior, it’s a very random hodge-podge of tastes and textures.  It’s not bad, but it never quite coheres.

McDonald's in Japan

I also tried the Teriyaki McBurger, which was very similar to the Bulgogi Burger that I tried in South Korea.  In fact, I think the pork patty is identical — but when I had it in Korea, it was fresh and tasty.  This one had clearly been sitting out for a while, and had a much dryer texture and a vaguely leftovery flavour.  The teriyaki sauce was about what you’d expect, and it wasn’t quite strong enough to wipe out that patty’s iffy flavour.

McDonald's in Japan

Finally, there’s the Sankaku pie — a triangular chocolate pie with a puff pastry exterior.  This wasn’t bad.  The chocolate filling was nice and gooey, but the pastry shell was a bit tough and chewy.

I’ve eaten some pretty awful stuff at McDonald’s over the last few months; McDonald’s in South Korea has single-handedly made up for all of it.  It was actually kind of bizarre how good everything was.

McDonald's in Busan, South Korea

First up: the Bulgogi Burger (bulgogi is a Korean dish featuring grilled, thinly-sliced beef or pork that’s been marinated in a special sauce).  The first thing that stands out here is the burger itself; it’s made of pork instead of beef, and had a pleasantly tender texture that’s kind of like a McRib patty, but better.  The patty is completely covered in the sweet, tangy bulgogi sauce, and topped with lettuce and mayo.  It was actually quite good.

McDonald's in Busan, South Korea

The next thing I tried was the Supreme Shrimp Burger.  The patty here is kind of odd — it has whole pieces of shrimp, bound together by… more shrimp?  I think?  Ground shrimp?  The whole thing is breaded and fried, and it was way better than I was expecting it to be.  The shrimp itself had a really great texture; I was expecting it to be dry and rubbery, but it was actually quite well cooked.    The exterior is nice and crispy, and it’s topped with lettuce, tomato, and a slightly sweet sauce with a bit of a kick.  This wasn’t just good for McDonald’s — it was legitimately delicious.

McDonald's in Busan, South Korea

The last thing I tried was the Double Chocolate Waffle Fries.  This one is straight-up bizarre, and I was fully expecting it to be gross.  Basically, you get a plate of plain chips (they call these waffle fries, but they’re thin and crispy throughout — they’re chips), along with a packet containing white and milk chocolate sauces that you pour all over the chips.

McDonald's in Busan, South Korea

I’d like to note that the design of this packet is kind of ingenious — you just fold it in half,  snapping it open, and then you dispense the sauce by squeezing the two halves together.

McDonald's in Busan, South Korea

This was so much better than I thought it was going to be.  The chips were fresh, crispy, and barely salty at all, so they were a surprisingly good vehicle for the chocolate.  And the chocolate sauce was actually pretty tasty — it reminded me a lot of Nutella, only without the hazelnut flavour.  If you’ve ever had chips dipped in chocolate, then you have a pretty good idea of what to expect here.  It’s weirdly delicious.

McDonald’s in China is an absolute treasure trove of menu oddities.  It’s amazing.  There were a few countries where I struggled to find even one or two things that I wanted to order; meanwhile, there was so much stuff I wanted to try in China that I actually wound up having two separate meals at McDonald’s.

McDonald's in Beijing, China

Up first: the Jumbo Wing, which is literally just a full chicken wing that’s been skewered on a wooden stick.  It’s not bad.  The meat has a salty, almost cured flavour — it’s definitely been brined in something.  The skin could have been more crispy, but it was a pretty good wing.  I guess there’s nothing particularly odd about a chicken wing, but this really seemed like a strange thing to be eating at McDonald’s.

McDonald's in Beijing, China

The next thing I tried was the Italy Stewed Flavour Big Chicken Cutlet.  This is basically just the chicken from a fried chicken sandwich, but without the sandwich.  Eating it like this just made me miss the sandwich parts of the sandwich.

McDonald's in Beijing, China

There was also the Chicken Patty Rice.  This was a bowl of rice with some kind of sweet sauce, bits of mushrooms (I think — I can’t find any information about this online.  That’s what it tasted like, at least), lettuce, and pieces of chicken.

This was actually quite tasty.  The sauce had a slightly sour flavour to balance out the sweetness, and the chicken was dark meat (the general preference for white meat back home completely baffles me — dark meat is more tender and more flavourful.  It is objectively better than white meat).

McDonald's in Beijing, China

Then there was the German Beef Double Sausage Burger.  I’ve mostly been skipping the  burger options at the various McDonald’s I’ve been to, because for the most part, they’re pretty boring.  But this one has two German sausages on it, so yeah, obviously I had to try it.

It was okay, I guess.  I think the sausages were supposed to be bratwurst, and they were fine.  But the two burger patties were even more dry than usual (and at McDonald’s, that’s saying something), which made it hard to enjoy.  Still, the tasty horseradish mustard helped.

McDonald's in Beijing, China

And finally, I tried the Passion Fruit and Peach Jumbo Cone.  This was pretty good: the sauce was quite tart, contrasting well with the very sweet soft serve, and the couple of whole peach slices on top were a nice touch.  I think the cone was a charcoal cone?  Either that or chocolate.  Either way, it didn’t taste like much, and it was slightly bitter (but not unpleasantly so).  It was fine, but a cup probably would have worked a bit better — it was a mess.

Remember my post about kroket, Amsterdam’s version of the croquette?  McDonald’s has their own version, and — of course — it’s called the McKroket.

McDonald's in Amsterdam, Netherlands

It’s actually surprisingly good.  Though the exterior doesn’t quite have the same satisfying crunch as the other versions I had, otherwise it’s quite comparable.  While the filling is maybe slightly too salty, it’s creamy and meaty and quite satisfying.

McDonald's in Amsterdam, Netherlands

It’s topped with a mustardy mayo sauce that suits it quite well; it’s one of the better things I’ve had in the many European McDonald’s I’ve visited so far.

You may have noticed that there was no McDonald’s Around the World for Scotland (what?  You didn’t notice?  And you’re baffled as to why I’m spending so much time and energy on McDonald’s?  Yeah.  Sounds about right).

Well, in case you did notice, the menu at McDonald’s in Scotland was identical to the one in England, so I didn’t bother.

The Ireland menu was pretty similar as well, but I did manage to find a couple of things interesting enough to post about.

(Also: the McDonald’s I went to had a microwave out that the customers could use, which is odd.)

McDonald's in Dublin, Ireland

The first was a veggie burger called the McVeggie — not to be confused with the McBean from Sweden, which was actually completely different.  This one was much less mushy and was quite falafel-esque both in its texture and flavour.  It wasn’t bad.

McDonald's in Dublin, Ireland

The next was fish fingers — these weren’t bad (and I actually think they were pieces of fish and not the reconstituted fish slurry that you might expect), but they really needed some kind of sauce.  They’re pretty plain.

McDonald's in Dublin, Ireland

Like in France, McDonald’s menu in England is pretty boring.  It’s mostly the usual suspects, though they do have something called Cheese & Herb melts that are basically just mozzarella sticks, but in nugget form.

Cheese and Herb Melts from McDonald's in London, England

It’s gooey fried cheese, so yeah, it’s good.  It comes with what they call “Rich Tomato Dip,” which is an overly sweet marinara sauce that was way too cloying to be particularly edible.

Spicy Jerk Chicken Sandwich from McDonald's in London, England

They also have a “Great Tastes of the World” promotion running right now, so I got a fried chicken sandwich from that menu: Jamaican Chicken with Spicy Jerk Sauce.  It was fine, I guess, but it basically just tasted like a standard McDonald’s fried chicken sandwich.  You could barely even tell the jerk sauce was there, and it certainly wasn’t spicy.