After a week or two exploring all the culinary delights of a foreign country, even travellers with cast iron stomachs and a whole lot of wanderlust sometimes crave a taste of home. So, when they see that comforting big yellow sign, they eagerly head into McDonalds for a familiar bite of their favourite burger.
What expectant tourists will find, however, is a menu with a twist. Mc Donald’s might serve deliciously salty fries around the globe, but plenty of the menu items are actually tailored to suit the unique tastes of the country it’s based in.
Let’s take a look at 12 weird and wonderful McDonald’s menu items from around the world.
1) Ebi Fireo Burger – Japan
If you’re a sushi lover, you might as well take the bait and try Japan’s Ebi Fireo Burger (also known as Filet-o-shrimp). You get a delicious panko-battered prawn patty, seasoned with shrimp tempura sauce, mustard and lettuce and delicately placed between two halves of a traditional sesame seed bun. Move over beef patties, it’s time for seafood to shine!
2) Bubur Ayam – Malaysia
While the Ebi Fireo burger might not be so different from what you can get in The States, Malaysia’s Bubur Ayam certainly is. This traditional Malay dish offers diners a home-style meal, just like mum makes. It’s a warm, Malaysian-style porridge topped with juicy chicken strips, spring onions, ginger, fried shallots and a hefty helping of chilly. Perfect for the winter weather!
3) Pizzarotto – Italy
Living up to just about every stereotype imaginable, Mc Donald’s Italy presents to us the Pizzarotto. Despite its name, it’s not technically a pizza: it’s a mini calzone. Filled to the brim with tomato and cheesy, mozzarella goodness, it’s the perfect choice for a quick snack when you’re totally over burgers and traditional pizzas.
4) McCurry Pan – India
Did you know that India is home to a completely vegetarian Mc Donald’s restaurant? In fact, the entire chain generally steers clear of the beef patties we’re so accustomed to, as cows are viewed as sacred in much of Indian society.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Indian Mc Donald’s menu is boring. They’ve got some interesting alternatives on offer, including the McCurry Pan. The McCurry Pan is an innovative pastry box, filled with a creamy curry sauce and curried vegetables, like broccoli, mushrooms and red peppers. For meat eaters, there is also a chicken McCurry Pan you can sink your teeth into.
5) Bacon Potato Pie – Japan
Another innovative meal choice comes from McDonalds Japan. Instead of the sweet apple pie available in many western restaurants, Japan has come up with a piping hot savoury option, the bacon potato pie. Instead of apples, this familiar pie casing houses loads of salty mashed potatoes and deep fried chunks of bacon.
According to Dale North, who experienced it first hand, it’s a hit-and-miss item, “Despite the stomach pain and grossness,” he mused, “I’ve found myself daydreaming of another mushy mouthful of this strange side item since returning from Japan.”
6) Mc Rice Burger – Singapore & Taiwan
While the Mc Rice Burger seems to have dropped off the menu in Asia in favour of other curious meals (including a red burger bun!), it was quite the novelty while it lasted, selling over 5 million units in Taiwan in its first 6 months alone. The burger itself was nothing new, with customers choosing between a standard chicken or beef patty then topping it with lettuce and mayo. However, the rice bun contained significantly less calories than a regular bun, making it a favourite for calorie counters.
7) Mc Nürnburger – Germany
In another wildly accurate stereotype, Germany briefly launched a sausage inspired burger. The Mc Nürnburger, named after a German soccer star and sausage factory owner (you can’t make that stuff up!), involved forcing three bratwurst into a doughy bun, then smothering the whole thing with mustard and onions. Apparently it was too much for even most Germans to get their heads (and mouths) around because the burger only lasted for a total of three months on the menu.
8) Mashed Potato Beef Burger – China
In 2012, Mc Donald’s China launched the slightly peculiar Beef Manly Man campaign. For reasons we’re not entirely aware of, being a manly man apparently entails eating a burger that consists of two beef patties, several rashes of bacon and a hearty helping of mashed potatoes. What are the little green and red pieces in the mash? We have no idea and we’re not sure we want to find out.
9) Ham and Egg Twisty Pasta Breakfast – China
Another curious Mc Donald’s menu item from China! Far from your usual burger and fries combo, Mc Donald’s China is currently serving up a Ham and Egg Twisty Pasta breakfast. This robust morning meal is a tonsu broth filled with noodles, carrots, corn, green onions and peppers. For protein, it’s topped with a farm fresh egg and a slice of ham. Dinners can also choose to swap the ham for a juicy, boneless grilled chicken or sausage patty.
10) Prosperity Burger – Malaysia
Released to celebrate New Year 2016, the Malaysian Prosperity Burger looks more like a sub than a burger. Regardless, this festive treat contains the usual juicy beef patty, soaked in aromatic black pepper sauce and doused in fresh onions, all served in a sesame seed bun. For the complete celebratory experience, pair it with a tangy Prosperity McFizz drink and some irresistible deep fried twister fries.
11) Chicken McDo with Spaghetti – Philippines
Believe it or not, this next Mc Donald’s menu item doesn’t hail from Italian. Instead, it’s the Philippines who decided to try their hand at a combination of chicken and spaghetti. The Chicken McDo comes with a helping of classic spaghetti and ground beef, marinated in a signature tomato-based sauce. On the side, you get a tender, golden brown piece of battered chicken that looks like it could rival KFC in deliciousness. Alone, the two foods seem pretty tasty. Together, we’re not so sure.
12) Mandise – Morocco
To finish off, let’s take a look at Mc Donald’s Morocco’s mouth-watering dessert item, the mandise. This Moroccan take on a sponge cake is decorated with chocolate chip studs and filled with a hot, hazelnut chocolate filling. Forget about crispy apple pies and chocolate sundaes – we’ll take 3 mandise!
Next time you’re globe-trotting, don’t forget to check out some of the weird and wonderful Mc Donald’s menu items that you can’t get at home. Whether they’re distressingly disgusting or surprisingly sublime, it’s an experience not to be missed for all fast-food aficionados!
What’s the weirdest Mc Donald’s menu item you’ve ever had?
Featured image photo credit: The Mirror