In my last post I wrote about how disgusting Denny’s was and it got me thinking about some of my other fast food experiences. Denny’s technically isn’t fast food, it is a franchise restaurant, but really it’s the same shit, just a different smell. I try not to eat fast food if I can help it, but sometimes there is just no other option, like if your plane gets in late and nothing else is open.
When it comes to junk food my favourite has to be KFC, despite the fact I was a cook there for several years. In fact, I was even praised by the managers for my high “Fry-Q”, but let’s be realistic here; There is absolutely no way possible you can eat that stuff without eventually resembling Honey Boo Boo’s mother. When it comes to burgers I’m a Burger King (or “Hungry Jacks”, where I come from) loyalist, but I still try to avoid eating it.
On Saturday I saw this advertisement (above, right) for “Third-Pound” burgers at McDonald’s, the burger for those who find a Quarter Pounder a little under-nourishing, but a Double Quarter Pounder mathematically too complicated to fathom. Now, for me, personally, I’m not a huge fan of McDonald’s, I generally only eat it if I’m hungry and there is no other option or I’m drunk, but sometimes they do have some good stuff, especially overseas so I like to take the opportunity to try them when I’m there. Unfortunately, I only took photos of a few of them, but here are a few items I’ve tried around the world.
- Australia – McOz.
There are certain rules for certain country’s cuisine, for example to make something Hawaiian one would simply add pineapple, to make something Canadian one would add male syrup and to make something Mexican one would add salsa or beans. In much the same way, to make something Australian, one adds bacon or beetroot. Simple.
The McOz is the same as the Big N’ Tasty that is sold in many other countries – a Quarter Pounder with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard – plus that token Aussie ingredient, beetroot. Wear a white shirt while eating one of these and there is a 50% chance you’ll be soaking it overnight in NapiSan to get the purple stain out.
- Germany – McRib
I remember when I was young in Australia everyone used to anticipate the return of the McRib (admittedly, there wasn’t a whole lot else to do in my town), so when I moved to Germany earlier in the year and discovered that they were a permanent feature on the menu, I was ecstatic! Childhood memories of the greatest burger in the world came flooding back, about how the powers that be, possibly the Masons, would tease us with this creation for four to six weeks, before snatching it again from under our collective noses, forcing us to eat as many as we could, as often as we could while the chance was still there.
The McRib consists of a pork patty, barbecue sauce, onions and pickles and is the pork equivalent of McNuggets; In no way shape or form does it resemble pork. To use an Australian phrase, “It’s all lips and arseholes”, however, if you have seen some of the stuff I eat when I’m overseas, I would happily choose lips and arseholes over a McRib. I had never been so disappointed in my life as when I tried one of these again recently, I don’t even know what to think about my childhood anymore. Was it all just a giant lie?
- Singapore – McSpicy
Singapore has several special items, one of which is McSpicy. A McSpicy is just essentially a spicier, crispier McChicken and, for me it is a catch-22 when I eat them; I really like them, they taste great, but a couple of hours later it feels like there is a little guy in the toilet with a blowtorch pointed straight up while playing Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.
- Singapore – McWings
McDonald’s version of buffalo wings. Enough said.
Singapore & Japan – Ebi Burger/Fillet-O-Ebi
Singapore has a very large Muslim population, thus, McDonald’s there is halal. This means they can only serve turkey bacon and can’t bring back the McRib, but no big loss on that second one. What do they periodically bring back instead? The Ebi Burger!!! This thing is a prawn/shrimp patty containing whole prawns, with cocktail sauce and lettuce. They are generally available as a single or a double (always get the double!) and, if you get the meal, it comes with seaweed shaker fries, a hot mango pie, which is the same as the apple pies, but mango, and mango soda. “Ebi” is the Japanese word for “prawn”, so I had something similar in Japan, too, under the name “Fillet-O-Ebi”.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt emotionally invested in a burger before, but after the first time I tried one of these I told everybody to get one! I think I might’ve occasionally bought them for people after a night at the pub, whether they wanted one or not. I may have even shed a tear or two when they stopped serving them.
- Singapore & Malaysia – Prosperity Burger
These always appear around Chinese New Year and I’ve had them in both Singapore and Malaysia. You have the choice of either chicken or beef, single or double, and it comes with thick black pepper sauce and onions. Nothing special. McDonald’s in Malaysia also has rice porridge with chicken on the breakfast menu, but I haven’t tried it yet. Patience…
- South Korea – Bulgogi Burger
“Bulgogi” is a traditional Korean dish consisting of grilled marinated beef. In typical McDonald’s style, they take only the cheapest cuts, grill it and chuck it on a bun with some bulgogi-flavoured sauce and some lettuce. The irony is that Korean people are extremely patriotic about Korean food; I have taught Korean students that had lived in Singapore for over a year and when the topic of food had come up, they had never eaten anything that wasn’t Korean! But, when it comes to Bulgogi burgers, even the locals think they’re shit. But, hey, I don’t know anyone who orders a McOz when they go to Macca’s, either.
- Oman – McArabia Chicken
My perspective on this one might be a little skewed, because I was extremely hungry when I tried it, as we had just landed in Oman in the middle of the night and nothing else was open. Realistically, if this weren’t an option I probably would’ve settled for eating a few handfuls of sand. I was that hungry. Judging by its name, I’d assume McArabias are available elsewhere, but this is the only place I had one.
McArabia Chicken is a pita bread with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and garlic sauce. Anywhere else in the world this would probably be on the “Healthy Options” menu, making me somewhat of a sellout, but it’s one of the main things on the menu in the Middle East and it tasted pretty good, but, again, I was famished when I had it.
So, that’s what I’ve tried. I’ve seen other strange McDonald’s stuff, such as veggie burgers in India and currywurst in Germany, and there are many more to try, but, like I said earlier, I try to avoid junk food. If I am going to eat it, I’ll stick to Burger King, especially in the Czech Republic: