TOP 5: Most Unusual McDonald's Dishes Abroad

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Ask anyone to define American cuisine and chances are they’ll mention McDonald’s. But Mickey-D’s is more than just an American phenomenon. The McDonald’s Corporation operates more than 30,000 restaurants in over 100 countries worldwide, including outlets in gourmet-food-obsessed countries like Italy and France, and developing countries where local food options are cheaper and healthier than a combo meal.

So what’s its secret? Obviously convenience and a massive global marketing budget play important roles, but McDonald’s also makes an effort to adapt its menu to local cuisine. Its tried-and-true strategy, which has worked for years in the States, also seems to work abroad: Find a popular local dish, cheaply imitate it, name it something cute (usually involving a “Mc”), and make it look really yummy in a poster. Here are five of our favorites:

McKebab

ISRAEL: McKebab

Grilled meat folded into flat white bread, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini (a sauce made from ground sesame seeds). Says Sara Dover, a study abroad student at Hebrew University, “The tahini added a lot to the flavor. Perhaps more importantly, it also disguised any lack of freshness!”
Bottom Line: “In terms of fast food, it was much better than a Big Mac. But I wouldn’t get a McKebab again—471 calories later, I was full but not completely satisfied, and the kebabs you can get from any street vendor in Jerusalem are tastier.”
Fun Fact: Israel’s seven certified-Kosher restaurants do not offer any dairy products (no cheeseburgers!) and are closed on the Sabbath.

Kiwiburger

NEW ZEALAND: Kiwiburger

No, it’s not ground kiwi bird. The Kiwiburger features sliced beetroot and a fried egg—a spin-off of the classic New Zealand salad. Says study abroad student David Kelbe, “Leave it to McDonald’s to impart the charm of New Zealand culture between an all-beef patty and a sesame-seed bun.”
Bottom Line: ”The juxtaposition of crunchy beetroot and soft egg is simply unbeatable,” says Kelbe. Whether or not that combination is best experienced atop a McDonald’s hamburger, however, is questionable.
Fun Fact: New Zealand is home to both the world’s southernmost McDonald’s (Invercargill, New Zealand) and easternmost McDonald’s (Gisborne, New Zealand).


Mc Aloo Tikki

INDIA: McAloo Tikki Burger

Aloo tikki is mashed potato, peas, and spices, pressed into a patty and fried. In the case of the McAloo Tikki Burger, the patty is inserted into a bun and topped with tomatoes and onions. The burger pleased vegan traveler Chris Brunn, who stopped in a McDonald’s in Bangalore. Says Chris, “The patty’s potato was tender inside and crispy on the outside, like any cutlet should be.”
Bottom Line: “McDonald’s McAloo Tikki Burger was good in the way that an indulgent meal is when you know it’s only available in a place you may never return to.”
Fun Fact: Because India’s majority-Hindu population does not eat beef, McDonald’s restaurants in India do not offer hamburgers. Instead, they serve up the Maharaja Mac, a Big Mac made of lamb or chicken.
 

Chicken Fan-Tastic

SINGAPORE: Chicken Fan-tastic

A crispy chicken sandwich between grilled rice patties (fan means “cooked rice” in Mandarin). According to globetrotter Juston Lin, “It tasted a bit like chicken fried rice ... only reconstructed. It had all the same elements—rice, chicken, soy sauce and vegetables—but in sandwich form.”
Bottom Line: “I wouldn’t say I enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed the unique and interesting eating experience. It didn’t taste horrible—I just don’t think I’ll be trying it again.”
Fun Fact: McDonald’s in Singapore offers a 24-hour delivery service called—what else?—McDelivery 24/7.

Taro Root Pie

CHINA: Taro Root Pie

Taro root resembles potato, but with a stronger flavor, and is used in Chinese stir fries, dumplings, cake, tea, and ice cream. Says Joe Bookman, an English teacher in Hunan province, McDonald’s taro root pie “is essentially a deep fried hot pocket.” His closest approximation of the taste: “Home fries drenched in pancake syrup.”
Bottom Line: Says Joe, “My guess is that most Westerners would prefer apple to sweet taro.” Allison Quatrini, who studied abroad in Beijing, agrees: “I enjoyed eating it, but I would definitely characterize it as an acquired taste.”
Fun Fact: With an estimated 900 restaurants in China, McDonald’s is dwarfed by KFC, which boasts over 2,000.

Comments

Posted on 6/17/2009 by

Jooree Cho

Jooree Cho

In France, they have the McCroque.... an interesting (albeit less tasty) twist on the croque monsieur!

Posted on 6/17/2009 by

Tanya Lyn Willard

Tanya Lyn Willard

In Hawaii, both McDonald's and Burger King serve rice with grilled spam on their breakfast menu.

Posted on 6/17/2009 by

Shane Hopkins

Shane Hopkins

In Azerbaijan, they serve cucumbers on sandwiches instead of pickles.

Posted on 6/17/2009 by

Nicole Young

Nicole Young

In Japan they have a shrimp burger. It's pretty good!

Posted on 6/17/2009 by

Jessie Voigts

Jessie Voigts

also in japan, a teriyaki burger! yum!

Posted on 6/19/2009 by

Jennifer Young

Jennifer Young

Posted on 6/19/2009 by

Jennifer Young

Jennifer Young

haha, I honestly think that I would enjoy ANY of these spin-offs far more than what is offered here in the States. America, is king of the hamburger- a name which takes it origin from the city of HAMBURG, Germany. And you know what they call hamburgers in Germany? Bulleten! (well at least in the Rhineland.)

Posted on 6/23/2009 by

Jeff Brown

Jeff Brown

those burgers with the rice bun are grease to handle too.

Posted on 7/08/2009 by

Frances Landis

Frances Landis

In Costa Rica they have gallo pinto, a rice and beans dish. There is also home delivery express service.

Posted on 8/18/2009 by

Victoria Newton

Victoria Newton

In India, the have a Chicken Tikka Wrap. Hmmmmm delicious. No hamburgers in those Micky-D's.

Posted on 8/18/2009 by

Wilson Beaver

Wilson Beaver

I love the Netherlands, but they have some pretty bad food. The "kroket" is among the worst. And McDonalds offers McKrokets. You kind of have to try one though, because it's a necessary experience.

Posted on 8/21/2009 by

Betsy Gilliland

Betsy Gilliland

In Russia, you can get blackcurrent filled pies. My favorite was in Japan, where you could get corn soup and melon-flavored shakes. Of course the best thing about McDonalds is that they have free, clean restrooms, often the best in a foreign city. I can vouch for the restrooms in Baku (Azerbaijan), Tbilisi (Georgia), Moscow and St. Petersburg (Russia), and Tijuana (Mexico).

Posted on 10/10/2009 by

Heather Hilt

Heather Hilt

In India, the McVeggie Surprise is possible the best item in the entire world... if you ask what is in it, they would tell you a Surprise!

Posted on 11/16/2009 by

Ali Nitecke

In Southern France there is the fig sundae.

Posted on 11/19/2009 by

Chelsea Newson

Chelsea Newson

Morocco's Micky D's offer the McArabia and the McTagine. Can't comment on how they taste, though - I passed.

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