fast food


McDonald’s Around the World: Hong Kong Edition

McDonald's Hong KongThe 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.

McDonald’s Around the World: Japan Edition

McDonald's in JapanAfter 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.

McDonald’s Around the World: South Korea Edition

McDonald's in Busan, South KoreaI’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 Around the World: China Edition

McDonald's in Beijing, ChinaMcDonald’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.

McDonald’s Around the World: Netherlands Edition

McDonald's in Amsterdam, NetherlandsRemember 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.

McDonald’s Around the World: Ireland Edition

McDonald's in Dublin, IrelandYou 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

McDonald’s Around the World: England Edition

McDonald's in London, EnglandLike 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.

McDonald’s Around the World: France Edition

McDonald's ParisDespite having maybe the best food of anywhere I’ve visited so far, McDonald’s France has a surprisingly boring menu.  It’s pretty much just the classics (and yes, the Quarter Pounder really is called the Royale with Cheese, so it’s got that going for it at least).

They do, however, serve something called Le P’tit Hot Dog, which is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a standard hot dog — maybe slightly smokier than usual — that’s topped with ketchup, mustard, and crispy fried onions.  It’s extremely average.

Hot dog from McDonald's Paris

I ordered a side of “Deluxe Potatoes,” which are just potato wedges.  Like the hot dog, they’re pretty standard.  If you’ve ever had wedges from the supermarket or from a cafeteria, then you know exactly what to expect.

Deluxe Potatoes from McDonald's Paris

And that’s about it.  Even the dessert menu was just the usual stuff.

Also: there’s something vaguely off-putting about being told “bon appetit!” when being handed a tray of McDonald’s food.

McDonald’s Around the World: Sweden Edition

McDonald's in Stockholm, SwedenThey have something called the McBean on the menu in McDonald’s in Sweden, and I think it’s the first veggie burger I’ve seen at a McDonald’s so far.

McBean from McDonald's in Stockholm, Sweden

It’s not bad!  It’s topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, and the patty is nice and crispy on the outside.  It’s also surprisingly creamy on the inside, which is a bit bizarre at first — but it grows on you.  The burger itself almost has the consistency of a bean dip; it’s mostly a creamy bean paste, with a few whole beans interspersed throughout.  This seems like it should be off-putting, but the creamy/crispy contrast actually worked reasonably well.

Chili Cheese Tops from McDonald's in Stockholm, Sweden

I also got the Chili Cheese Tops, which were triangular fried nuggets stuffed with cheese and jalapeno peppers.  The cheese was a little bit gluey, but these otherwise weren’t bad.  They were slightly spicy, creamy, and crispy.  I mean, it’s basically fried cheese, and it’s hard to go wrong with that.

McDonald’s Around the World: Germany Edition

McDonald's in Berlin, GermanySo the McRib is just on the regular menu at McDonald’s in Germany, and it has been for a while.  Here we are in North America waiting for it to come back once every few years like chumps, and the Germans can just mosey into a McDonald’s and order it whenever they want.  Like kings.

Obviously that’s what I got.


Let’s face it though: the McRib isn’t as good as you remember.  At least, that was my experience the last couple of times that they brought it back, and that was definitely my experience here.  Aside from the fact that the meat was rubbery and dry, I’m pretty positive that they’re not using the same BBQ sauce they use back home — and since that sweet, smoky sauce is pretty much the only thing that making a McRib edible, that’s kind of a problem (the sauce here has a much more subtle flavour).

McDonald's in Berlin, Germany

I also got something called Frühlingsrollen, which are basically bite-sized versions of the cheap frozen spring rolls you can get in the freezer section of your local supermarket.  These probably would have been okay if they were fresh; alas, they were lukewarm and chewy.  Still, they were decent enough when dipped in the provided sweet chili sauce.


For dessert I got the Caramel Nuggets, which kind of tasted like fried balls of raw pancake batter injected with caramel.  I don’t know if they were supposed to be like that or if they were just undercooked, but either way they weren’t bad.  They were obviously fresh from the fryer — it’s hard to go wrong with anything that’s sweet and freshly fried.  Plus they come with a tasty berry dipping sauce, so there’s that.