As if the holidays weren’t already fattening enough, McDonald’s Canada has decided to give all Canadians the gift of gravy, cheese curds and fries. That’s right – the fast food giant is now offering poutine, once a Quebec-only treat, across Canada. Perhaps they’re making up for the McFlop that was this past summer’s McLobster, but we’ve always loved the funkier, more adventurous side of the Golden Arches.
McDonald’s might be the largest restaurant chain in the world with well-known drunk-food staples such as the Big Mac, but part of its success internationally doubtlessly comes from the fact that it integrates local cuisines into its menu for some sometimes strange, but always awesome, fusions of cultures. In places such as India, for instance, where much of the population does not eat beef, McDonald’s has accommodated regional dietary restrictions by creating a whole variety of vegetarian offerings. If you happen to be tipsy in some far-flung stretch of the globe this holiday season and are craving some McSomething, or just want what promises to be a unique culinary experience, here’s a little preview of what you can expect.
Start your morning right in Nicaragua with the Desayuno Tradicional, or Traditional Breakfast. The Latin-American hangover cure includes pita, sausage, fried egg, potatoes, and rice and black beans.
Many of the best fusions, in our opinion, come from McDonald’s Asian restaurants. The Ebi Filet-O (translated from Japanese: the Shrimp Filet-O), available at McDonald’s Asia but originally from Japan, is a fried shrimp burger that is topped with Ebi sauce (shrimp tempura sauce), mustard, and lettuce. Where my wasabi at?
This honestly looks like something an über trendy T.O. food truck would serve. The McCurry Pan, from India, consists of curried veggies including broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, and red bell peppers with creamy sauce on a baked bread pan. Chicken optional.
In Holland, The McKroket is a Mc-interpretation of the popular Dutch fast-food, the croquette or “kroketten.” A popular food item all around Europe, the Dutch are particularly fond of croquettes, eating about 350 million of them annually, and they typically consist of a beef ragout covered in bread crumbs and then deep-fried. A running joke among the locals is that nobody is ever sure what meat is actually in the croquettes (think a European hot dog) which kind of makes this an appropriate thing for McDonalds to do, right?
McDonalds in France does the McBaguette, a beef burger with Emmantal cheese, lettuce, and mustard. That sound you just heard was Julia Child rolling over in her grave.
Ah, here she is! Anyone who thinks Canada doesn’t have its own cuisine has never tried the quintessential Quebecois dish, poutine. A diet destroying disaster of gravy, French fries and cheese curds, the McPoutine does not hold a candle to actual poutineries, such as Montréal’s La Banquise, but we have to commend them on the effort.
We’ve actually tried the Parmigiano Reggiano Burger in Italia and it’s pretty good. Consisting of a beef patty, tomatoes, lettuce, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on ciabatta bread, higher quality ingredients actually made this sandwich fairly palatable for a quick and easy hangover lunch in Venice.
Since many Indians are unable to eat beef due to religious restrictions, McDonald’s offers a rebranded version of the Big Mac known as the Maharaja Mac. Originally made from lamb instead of beef, McDonald’s now serves it solely with chicken. Everything is pretty much the same from the Big Mac though, with onions, lettuce, tomato and cheese on a sesame bun.
In Malaysia, you can grab yourself a steaming hot bowl of Bubur Ayam. If you have no idea what that is, it’s chicken strips in porridge with spring onions, sliced ginger, fried shallots and diced chilies. We’ll stick with some McNuggets, thanks.
BEER. At McDonald’s in Germany, France and a few other countries around that saner part of the world known as Europe, you can order beer. Honestly, why this hasn’t caught on in North America is shameful.
All photos courtesy of Flickr (and world travelers, obv).