“The Golden Arches,” “Mickey D’s,” and “Ronald McDonald” are all references most of us have heard at one time or another when referring to, “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” That’s right, we’re talking about the mega-burger joint that has been serving up fresh burgers and fries since opening their doors in 1955. “They’ve come a long way, baby” with their menu when a cheeseburger, fries, and a thick shake was the meal of the day.
McDonald’s started out as a fast-food haven for people grabbing hot food on a short lunch break, families picking up a quick meal, and as a hangout for teens back in the day when a cold Coke and an order of fries was all that was needed to socialize with friends in the parking lot.
Today, the burger giant – not to be confused with the Burger King franchises – is an international business with restaurants around the world and menus that reflect diverse cultures. From pizza filled McPuffs and paneer salsa wraps to McAloo Tildd and McCurry Pan, palates are being tantalized, teased, and pleased at McDonald’s restaurants around the world.
When it’s time to dine, remember, “you deserve a break today, so get up and get away to McDonald's” and enjoy your favorite breakfast, lunch, munch, or dinner delights and contemplate some of the the-top meals you may be missing out on. To whet your appetite, here’s a sampling of what our international neighbors are ordering.
From down under, breakfast is a happening event with the Big Brekkie Burger to start your morning with this 'more than a mouthful' meal. Picture it; a soft sesame seed bun stacked with a 100 percent beef patty topped with a cooked egg then layered with slices of bacon, a cooked to perfection hash brown, and topped with melted cheese. Add a generous dollop of barbecue sauce and all you need is a handful of napkins and a healthy appetite.
You guessed it; Asia is the location. For any Pulp Fiction fans who know the scene, “this is a tasty burger” would apply this to the Rice Burger. These tasty morsels feature the finest grains of rice cooked perfectly then pressed into patties the size of a standard bun. The patties serve as the buns for the burger. If you love rice, this is the perfect combo of fragrant grains enhancing the texture and flavor of the burger. Healthy, too.
No, not the Macarena! This item is on the Middle East’s menu and features chicken patties topped with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and onions, highlighted with a delicious sauce all layered inside fresh flatbread. Looks like a taco only there’s no shell. The flatbread is lightly grilled yet remains light and fluffy, making the perfect wrap. And for those diners wanting something a little more adventurous, a kofta version is available featuring an assortment of Mediterranean spices for extra pizzazz.
Hold on a minute! Fresh Atlantic Canadian lobster has made its way to McDonald’s? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, according to marketing reps at McDonald’s this tasty seafood delight will be available “once in a blue moon” and they’re expecting it “to make a splash with everyone” so keep your eyes peeled for this delectable menu item. The lobster pieces, along with crisp lettuce, tartar sauce and mayo will be served on a plain, no-frills bun. It’s mouthwatering good.
Not to worry, McDonald’s has not overlooked its fan base of millions of cheese lovers around the world looking for the texture of gooey goodness to please their obsession with cheese. Enter the flavourful Brie Nuggets currently available on the Russian menu. These tiny morsels are the perfect snack item or compliment to a burger. The deep-fried crust is filled with rich brie cheese that can make the most ardent cheese enthusiast swoon as their taste buds experience pure pleasure.
Yes, it’s a burger, and no it’s not made from the kiwi bird. This New Zealand sandwich looks good no matter how you cut it. The Kiwiburger features an all-beef patty topped with a grilled egg then layered with lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, and a slice of beetroot, which adds sweetness and a crunchy texture when biting into this mega-burger. Add ketchup and mustard to the toasted bun and you have a serious sandwich to take care of any hunger pangs.
Brazil knows a lot about what makes people happy; just think about the annual Carnivale celebration. When it comes to feel-good food, their Cheddar McMelt will send your taste buds into orbit. On the surface, it looks like a standard double cheeseburger with its all-beef patties oozing with luscious cheddar cheese. Now the kicker. Drumroll please! Slather the patties with sliced onions grilled with soy sauce. All of the fresh ingredients are placed between a whole-wheat bun. My, oh my.
Small pies come with a variety of fillings. Whether it’s a fruit-filled pie from a burger or chicken chain or something a little more exotic, pies remain a favorite food item. In Japan, it’s the same. Tiny pies filled with what looks like mashed potatoes and bits of bacon then fried makes the ideal snack or, hey, order several and make them a meal. The cost is a buck plus in U.S. dollars (120 Japanese yen), so it’s worth the investment.
Another stop along the international highway to McDonald’s takes you to the home of the Taj Mahal. India is a country rich in culture with food being a big part of everyday life. McDonald’s has taken the right road to deliciousness by creating an innovative Spicy Paneer Wrap. Envision this picture; cottage cheese is dipped in a spicy batter then lightly fried. The paneer pieces are then wrapped with a slather of mustard, lettuce, tomato, and a rich dressing. Yum.
Every country has its version of “feel good” food items that taste good no matter how you’re feeling. These are usually simple dishes, but they’re packed full of flavor and healthy ingredients. In Malaysia, the Bubur Ayam dish is just such a treat. It looks so inviting in its simplicity. The dish consists of Malaysian-style porridge topped with chicken strips then garnished with diced chiles, fried shallots, spring onions, and ginger for a touch of sass. Amazing and creative.
Mac and cheese lovers unite as China has access to one of McDonald’s newest menu items; the Bacon, Macaroni and Cheese Toastie; one of the most beloved food items on the planet. The new version mixes bacon with the M&C, so far, so good. Then, it's placed between very thin pieces of toast – more like a wafer – then cut in half, creating mini mac and cheese sandwiches. It looks good and there’s no way it doesn’t taste awesome.
This Japanese favorite is like the McRib sandwich; it is only available at certain times of the year. In Japan, this goodie is served during the winter months. The “burger” is actually a lightly fried croquette filled with macaroni and fried crab. The outside is nice and crisp, and the inside is smooth and creamy for a perfect blending of the textures. The croquette is served on a bed of lettuce, along with cheese and sauce, and is presented on a steamed bun.
Taking a direct flight back to North America, Canada is next on the list of McDonald’s with a menu item honoring Canadian cuisine. Poutine is a standard dish in Canada. It’s simple and delicious especially if you love French fries. In the south, gravy is good on anything. In Canada, their fries are covered in gravy and cheese curds. Sounds interesting and like a good way to fill up the tank with good food that takes you the extra mile.
This is a match made in all the right places; burgers and mashed potatoes. As a stand-alone dish, that tops the list of comfort food right up there with chicken noodle soup. In China, this combo is literally a mouthful. It comes with double the burger power, slices of bacon, the standard lettuce, tomato, and onion garnishments, and topped with a generous scoop of spiced up mashed potatoes, all sandwiched between a sesame seed bun. What more do you need?
Diners might need something cool and refreshing to help wash down the mashed potato burger, and McDonald’s has the culinary answer to the request by Japanese patrons of the restaurant. A bright green melon float is just the ticket. The melon flavored soda is sold by Fanta, which is a flavor not available in the U.S. The melon soda is highlighted with a scoop of ice cream to make it a sweet way to “float” through the rest of the day.
Step aside chicken McNuggets and make room for a spinach and parmesan version that takes snack time to a whole other level of taste tantalizing and flavor satisfying goodness. These tiny bite-sized nuggets are just the ticket for Italian patrons as a side dish with a burger or quick pick-me-up. With parmesan as an ingredient, where else would this be available but in Italy. Each deep-fried nugget is filled with a blend of spinach and cheese; what a perfect union.
Japan opened its first McDonald’s in 1971. With its long history, it’s one reason why it has such a diverse menu because there’s been plenty of time to try out new food items. One popular choice that remains high on the list of favorites is the Ebi Filet-O-Shrimp sandwich. The shrimp are coated with panko batter then they are deep-fried, creating a shrimp enclosed patty. It’s served with lettuce and savory tempura sauce. It is the perfect combo of seafood meets burger.
If you’ve ever eaten a Cadbury Crème egg, you know this combo is destined to be a winner across the board, hands-down. Cadbury eggs are chocolate shells filled with a creamy sweet fondant of white and yellow. In the United Kingdom, where this sugar-sweet delicacy is being served, the eggs are top-selling chocolates. That should give you an idea of how good they are. The McFlurry blends the chocolate shell and fondant with soft-serve ice cream. It is decadence personified.
Not to be outdone by Japan and its Filet-O-Fish, Korea has its own version of what to do with shrimp as a sandwich. In response, McDonald’s introduced the shrimp and beef combo to their customer’s delight. A corn-wheat bun is topped with a layer of battered shrimp in a crispy coating followed by a 100 percent beef patty. The crowning glory is the standard lettuce and tomato accompanied by flavorful onion sauce with a kick. An inexpensive surf & turf.
That’s a mouthful unto itself, but, it’s on the menu in the Philippines and that’s all that counts. With this, Filipinos are getting the best of both worlds with two entrees. There is one piece of fried chicken with a side of barbecue sauce (hold on KFC) and an order of pasta cooked just right and topped with tomato sauce with sausage and blended with cheese. For non-McSketti lovers, customers can substitute with rice. It is a creative menu option.
McDonald’s keeps expanding and trying out new cultural staples and when in Italy, the company has decided to do as the Italians do and serve the zesty taste of pizza. The McDonald’s item is really a calzone versus a slice of pie, and that’s A-Okay. The calzone has a crisp shell pocket stuffed with tomato sauce and melted cheese. It’s a quick and inexpensive fix for a taste of Italy while you’re out and about sightseeing.
Back to those delicious fruit-filled pies. No matter where you travel to, you just can’t get away from these tidbits of sweet goodness, which is the case in Thailand. The tempting treat is a play on the iconic apple pie, which McDonald’s has served since the 1940s. It is American food at its best. In Thailand and several other locations, pineapple has replaced the apple. The crisp shell is filled with a mixture of pineapple chunks and jelly. Way to go!
Calling these rings of delight doughnuts is a little misleading as they are not of the sweet Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts variety. In Germany, these little doughnuts on the menu can make mouths water and heads spin... they are just that good. The order comes with four deep-fried breaded onion rings filled with mozzarella cheese and a side of cranberry sauce. Ready for this? Add an order of McBeer – you’re reading that right – it’s not the root beer variety!
So, the United Kingdom has the Cadbury Egg McFlurry, which Cadbury aficionados know is awesome. In Denmark, McDonald’s has taken Toblerone chocolate bars and created one heck of a McFlurry. For chocoholics, this is a must order. The chocolate bar, which feature nougat, almonds, and honey are broken up and placed in a cup with vanilla ice cream. With each bite, you’ll experience the coolness of the ice cream while biting into chunks of chocolate. What a way to go!
An unusual offering in China but they’re eye-catching for marketing purposes and they both look and taste good. The black bun gets its coloring from squid ink, and the white bun is decorated with black sesame seeds. While the name says they’re burgers, the black bun has a beef patty while the white bun holds a fried chicken patty. Both sandwiches are layered with bacon slices, a choice of garnishes such as grilled onions, and topped with mashed potatoes. Double-take.
This is a handful of fresh tastiness you’ll find at Mickey D’s in China. Take a flour tortilla and fill it with a mixture of sticky rice with sesame oil, barbecue sauce, bits of lettuce and tomato, and either a diced beef burger or fried chicken patty. Roll the tortilla into a cone-shaped wrap and you have a McWrap. It is an explosion of colors and flavors and the perfect food item while on the go or between meals.
When it comes to great tasting food, just head south of the border for creative dishes. Desayuno Especial Mexicano is the way to start the morning with a breakfast of spicy scrambled eggs, Mexican style. The eggs are accompanied by savory sausage and an order of McMolletes, which are English muffins. The difference with these muffins is each is topped with flavorful refried beans, cheese, and a dollop of salsa for good measure. This meal is perfecto by any standards!
No, we’re not talking about Agatha Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot. We are talking about Belgium’s claim to fame as being the only McDonald’s offering the Belgium Burger. The one-of-a-kind burger has an all-beef patty topped with grilled onions, salad, and bacon. The two ingredients that make it stand out from the rest are the cocktail sauce for zest and the Maredsous cheese for richness. Like the famous detective, the burger is low-key on the outside but packs a punch.
Okay, this one is over-the-top in multiple flavors and ingredients. This is not a bad thing, because the Cordon Bleu Burger looks scrumptious. To start, the burger has multiple patties; chicken, pork, and beef. No fish. The chicken patty is deep-fried for that extra crunch needed to go along with the bacon. Add a slice of cheese and a few garnishments for good measure. This beauty is served on a fresh onion roll and a perfect Polish burger is served.
Talk about sass, sizzle, and savory flavors, that’s what McDonald’s in the Czech Republic serves up with their McKren sandwich. If you enjoy the flavor of juicy pork, this sandwich was made just for you. Atop a soft bun, there are two mouthwatering pork burgers perfectly grilled and oozing goodness. Fresh sliced tomatoes are the next layer that add a little crunch. The last layer is a thick slathering of spicy horseradish sauce. The aroma gets your taste buds tingling.