Chris’ international McDonald’s chronicles: sampling ‘special meals’ around the world

As cultured as we both like to think we are, there has been and will be plenty of boozing during this trip, and for Chris either when inebriated or the day afterwards, there really is only one real cure – McDonald’s.

So as we visit our 12(ish) countries around the world, he’s going to try as many of the local dishes the world’s biggest fast-food chain has to offer. At home it’s usually either a box of 20 chicken nuggets, or a McChicken sandwich meal, so this could be interesting. Starting from most recent to first meal, this blog will be updated each time we are lured towards the golden arches.

McDonalds Boston, Massachusetts, USA

June 19th

Dish: Lobster Roll Meal

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Description: Lashings of lobster meat in a light mayo dressing, one big bit of claw meat intact, on a bed of freshly cut lettuce in a soft sub roll. Strawberry Milkshake with ‘real’ bits of strawberry.

Price: $14.32  (£11.22) for a large meal with Strawberry Milkshake

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Verdict: After over two months since adding to the chronicles, I thought as soon as we reached the USA there would be nothing new for me to find from McDonald’s, in that all menu items would be the same as we have back at home in the UK. Then out of nowhere at the bus station in Boston before leaving for New York yesterday, James spotted that McDonald’s unbelievably had LOBSTER on its menu!

I’d been pestering him for days to let me try Boston’s signature (and very expensive) snack, but for a small sub roll anywhere else in the city, you can’t expect to pay anything less than $18.00 for the sandwich alone. So when he spotted McDonald’s was undercutting that by almost $10, here I had my chance. Because it was so cheap, I wasn’t expecting much at all – but this did not disappoint.

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The meat was sweet, plentiful, and I even had a big bit of claw! The sub roll was soft, but a bit sweet like all McDonald’s bread is, and the lettuce was fresher than ever, but probably because this was the first cold McDonald’s sandwiches I’d ever tried. The only downside was the chips weren’t that fresh – always a letdown to have a limp french fry.

The strawberry milkshakes here in the US are a bit odd, far too sweet, and for some reason the strawberry flavour has real bits in. I don’t know why they bother really!

Unless we find any other menu surprises in New York or on the way to Washington, this could well be the last entry, and if it is what a way to bow out! The most expensive McDonald’s meal I’ve ever eaten, but equally the most decadent & delicious!

Rating: 10/10


McDonalds La Serena, Chile

April 6th

Dish: Linea Signature Crispy Onion BBQ

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Description: Two hamburgers topped with crispy bacon, fried crispy onions, slice of cheese and spicy BBQ Bourbon onion relish

Price: 5,100 pesos (£6.17) for a large meal with Coke

 

Verdict: After having a week and country off in Argentina for lack of variation on the menu front, we find ourselves back in a Chilean Maccy D’s. It seems South America doesn’t have too many menu choices in keeping with its Latino roots- so I’m back on the Signature line similar to what we found in Australia, which basically all come in a brioche bun.

Thankfully this was much better. The burgers are standard McD fare, but the BBQ bourbon relish was delicious, and shock horror it even had proper bacon! The fries were also cooked to perfection. The “fancy ketchup” was no where near Heinz standard, but then you can’t have everything!

Rating: 8/10

Extras: Apple & Kiwi Fruit Sundae

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Fruit in an ice cream in McDonalds? We couldn’t believe it either. I mean it’s not as odd as the sweet potato ice cream we had in Hong Kong, and ‘fruit’ is maybe pushing it in nutritional terms, especially as it was fluorescent green. It tasted a bit like MrKipling apple pie filling with chunks of apple and a hint of kiwi- but not much. For near enough £1 though I was happy!


 

McDonalds Foz do Iguaçu Brasil

March 24th

Dish: CBO Meal (Guessing that means a Chicken, Bacon and Onion?)

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Description: From now on Google Translate will be my best friend on this blog! Translated from Portuguese the  description McDonald’s give is:

“Delicious chicken burger, bacon, crispy onion, lettuce, savory sauce, on a square loaf of sesame and bacon”.

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What McDonald’s promise…

Before I decided to let the internet translate for me I went for: “square chicken breadcrumbed patty with herbs, cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, mayo in sesame and bacon bit topped bun. Maybe some onion in there somewhere.”

 

Price: 26.90 Brazilian Reais (£6.88) for a large meal with Coke.

Verdict: The sandwich was a strange combo, with the same mayo from a classic McChicken sandwich but the patty was peculiar- minced chicken rather than breast, and I’m not sure about the breadcrumb/herb mix. The bacon bits on top of the burger bun didn’t really add anything.

I don’t feel as short changed as I did in Aus, as I went for something on the regular menu – there were ‘premium’ options being peddled here too though. It did make me feel filthy afterwards, leading to a post McDonald’s self loathing session. It wasn’t the worst but let’s put it this way… I won’t be having another one!

Rating: 5/10


 

McDonalds Sydney International Airport

March 17th

Dish: ‘Gourmet’ Angus Truffle & Cheese Burger with ‘loaded’ fries

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Description: This dish was full of promise, but failed on many levels. Inside this ‘Gourmet Creation’ was a truffle infused mayo with parmesan, which on its own I can’t really fault, but it came with a slice of bacon tough enough to cause some serious internal damage, and an Angus burger which was so dry I almost needed the Heimlich manoeuvre. My loaded fries were normal fries, with a bit of gloopy, coagulated gravy poured over the top.

 

Price: Including a Strawberry milkshake $15.40 (AUS),  or £9.68 of my British pounds, which by my account is daylight robbery. Never have I paid so much for McDonald’s and been so underwhelmed.

Verdict:  I think you can already tell I’m not enamoured by Aussie Maccas. If they’re trying to go Gourmet and compete with newer kids on the block like Five Guys, then this really doesn’t cut it. Having been Down Under for 6 weeks we thought we’d hang fire on the fast food until we left, it’s a shame it’ll leave a bitter taste in my mouth. One caveat is unusually, on this McDonald’s visit we are not horrendously hungover, which may have something to do with my damning verdict. Next on to South America to see what McDonald’s has to offer there.

Rating: 4/10


 

McDonalds Hong Kong Airport

February 3rd

Dish: Prosperity Chicken Special Meal

img_2972Description: To cash in on the year of the rooster Maccie D’s in Hong Kong have a special set of things to choose from. I went for a chicken fillet- unbattered but slathered in a sweet and spicy Szechuan sauce, with lettuce and a sesame bun. It came with curly fries, so you know it’s special then!

Price: 42 HKD – good value! (£4.35p)

Verdict: It was very tasty, I wolfed it down, but then I do find myself mortally hungover in an airport again. To counteract the spice I went for a strawberry milkshake (standard). I could now eat another one!

Rating: 9/10


 

McDonalds Muang Dong Airport, Bangkok

January 18th

Dish: Some form of fried chicken for breakfast

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Description: Sleep deprived and in need of desperate filth after partying until an hour before we had to leave for our flight to Krabi. Opted for a fried chicken breakfast in a vain attempt to tackle the horrendous hangover. Looks like it’s been coated in cornflakes prior to deep fat frying. Hallelujah for fries on a breakfast menu!

Price: 195 baht – expensive for what it was! (£4.45p)

Verdict: Not really an idiosyncratic Thai meal- just KFC for breakfast. Still tasty though. And filth much needed considering the critical condition I find myself in.

Rating: 7/10


 

McDonalds Columbo – McRice with Chicken

January 15th

Dish: Fried chicken, rice and spicy curry sauce

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Description: Spicy rice with onion relish and a Sri Lankan hot curry sauce with deep fried crispy chicken on the top – what’s not to love?

Price: 420 Rs without drink, 320 extra for milkshake (Total £3.93p)

Verdict: This was a spicy time- right down to the chicken batter- which is what I expected. The chicken was tough and pink though- more leg than thigh I reckon. The spice was nicely tempered by a not so out of the ordinary strawberry milkshake- just as it is at home. James’ bottled water on the other hand was rank, and tasted of pure chemicals.

Rating: 6/10

Read more: The ultimate global McDonald’s review blog I can never compete with!

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