The last time I was in the Philippines in 2005 (if we’re just meeting for the first time, my parents moved from the Philippines to the States in the 1970s, I was born in western New York and I used to go “back home” every five years for a family reunion. I have landed a real job since I was a teenager, have not been back since), I was sitting in a mall food court and taking particular note of the McDonalds items on the menu.
It looked something like this:
Some items of note: Longganisa (typical Filipino breakfast sausage), spaghetti, fried chicken and of course, rice. I guess it never occurred to me until then that McDonalds, although one of the most recognized brands in the world, must change up their menu in order to accommodate the tastes and palettes of its local customers.
During my time studying abroad in Europe, I did my best to take in the local cuisine, but throughout a four month period, you just have to indulge in something that’s more familiar. While waiting for a plane in Madrid, I just HAD to have McDonalds, even though i rarely ate it in America. Even their menu was extremely different.
¿Discúlpeme, España? Your desayunos include toasted english muffins with olive oil, donuts and croissants? Yo quiero McDonalds, amirite Taco Bell?!
So there’s gotta be a bunch of other weird/different/interesting local food incorporated in McDs across the globe right? Here are some standouts from around the world.
Taro is a common potato-like item that’s usually found in Asia and the Pacific Islands, so selling it in China is kinda like our apple pies. It’s similar to chunky mashed potatoes, but sweet and purple. And obviously attractive.
Fresh Corn Cup
This is self-explanatory, but just know that if you don’t feel like having fries, you can get this instead.
This concoction includes a pork patty covered in Teriyaki sauce, egg, lettuce, and Japanese lemon mayo. It’s just familiar yet odd enough that I would try a bite of it.
Inspired by the popular breakfast dish, this McDonald’s version includes macaroni pasta, chicken broth, carrots, corn, peas, topped with a sausage and egg.
Since all McDonalds in India don’t serve beef or pork per the Hindu belief, a lot of the foods in the country are specially crafted to include a lot of veggies and incorporate their cuisine. This is the McAloo Tikki, a patty made of potato and peas, coated in Indian spices and breadcrumbs, and topped with sweet tomato mayo, onions and tomatoes.
Potatoes and spinach in a crunchy breadcrumb outside? Sign me up.
Spicy Paneer Wrap
If you’re an Indian food fan, you’re probs familiar with paneer, a cheese used in a bunch of Indian dishes. McD’s decided to take a huge chunk of it, fry it, put it alongside lettuce, tomatoes, some kind of sauce and melted cheese in a wrap.
Flavor Twist (Green Apple)
It’s like the regular McD’s ice cream – but with GREEN APPLE. HELLO, AMERICA?!?!
Because who doesn’t like a good porridge from McDonald’s?
Shrimp. This is a shrimp burger. That’s really all there is to it.
Bacon Potato Pie
I mean this is pretty straightfoward. Forget apple pie. Bacon potato is where it’s at.
Cheese Katsu sandwich
A thin piece of pork, cheese stuffed in the middle of it, then fried to a crisp and put in a sandwich. So, clearly, really good for you.
Shaka Shaka Chicken
It’s like a giant chicken McNugget in a paper bag. You choose a flavor, like cheese or lemon or pepper seasonings, pour it into the bag, then shake and enjoy. Not really sure why this is such a big hit in Japan. It’s essentially fast food Shake ‘N Bake.
Served in warm pita bread, this item is made with grilled chicken or grilled kofta – beef with spices – and paired with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and garlic mayo. Garlic mayo?!
Bulgogi is one of Korea’s most popular delicacies, so obvs it needs to be put between McD’s famous buns. The marinated barbecue beef is covered in bulgogi sauce and structured just like a Big Mac.
No meat? No problem. Delicious falafel instead!
You know Ramen burgers? This is kinda like that. But rice patties. Sorry, FRIED rice patties….
This item is a play on the traditional French croque-monsieur sandwich, consisting of two slices of Emmental cheese and a slice of ham toasted between two hamburger buns. Because if you’re in France, eat the best French food at McDonald’s.
What’s Germany without sausage?! And what better way to rep Germany than to put not one, not two, but three small, spiced sausages on a roll!?
This is a fairly new item, introduced in February, and is a play off the popular item, Currywurst. Sausage, yet again, in a tangy tomato sauce and curry powder, served with either bread or fries. Seems like a bit of reach to me.
Greek Mac & Spring Rolls
Not only does Greece have their own version of the BigMac on Pita bread, but they servce spring rolls too. Spring rolls!
In college, I studied abroad in The Netherlands, and in many of the train stations, there were fast food vending machines, where you would buy stuff that looked exactly like this McKroket, except sans buns. This is the same thing – a deep fried roll containing beef ragout, served with frite sauce – aka a special mayo that is delish on this as well as frites aka french fries!
Holy crap, guys. McFlurries are obviously not a new thing. But this stroopwafel is. Stroopwafel is a popular snack/dessert which is two thin layers of waffle with baked caramel-like batter in the middle and it’s amazing. AND NOW IT’S IN A MCFLURRY?! I NEED TO GO BACK JUST FOR THIS.
Deep-fried fish with salad and a mango slice in a tortilla. Because, Scandinavia.
Because it’s from England, it’s exactly what it sounds like, and probably tastes as disgusting as it sounds.
Mince Meat Pie
Because the British can only out-British their own during the holiday season.
For some reason, a lobster roll from a Canadian McDonald’s sounds much less sketchy than getting on in America…?
Mexican bfast? English muffin topped with refried beans, cheese and pico de gallo. Si.
Based on the popular New Zealand dessert called Pavlova, this is crisp meringue, topped with soft serve ice cream and passionfruit sauce. I would like this right after the Stroopwafel McFlurry, please.