Although the concept might be consistent, the fast-food chain’s menu adapts to a certain country’s popular tastes
Don’t worry — you can still get McDonald’s french fries with a Samurai Pork Burger in Thailand.
Entire books have been written on the global phenomenon that is McDonald’s. One of best-known chains around the world, McDonald’s is a global force in the fast-food industry and consistently shows no signs of slowing down. Its popularity has remained unaffected by lawsuits and exposés, a testament to the questionable, albeit valid magnetism of its brand.
Click here to see the 10 Unique McDonald’s Meals From Around the World Slideshow!
Even though we might not want to admit it, many of us get a small feeling of comfort when we see a McDonald’s while traveling in a foreign country. The notion that even thousands of miles away from home, a double quarter pounder with cheese is not that far can be reassuring.
To be expected, though, McDonald's abroad have menus that are tailored to their home country. These foreign McDonald's menus include combos that might seem surprising to us, but make perfect sense to the demographic in a given location.
For a better understanding of what one can find where, we’ve taken a look at different menus around the world to collect some of the most unique McDonald’s offerings. For example, in India (where cows are generally sacred) the two all-beef patties typically found in a Big Mac were replaced with two chicken patties to create the Maharaja Mac. And in France, you can order a McBaguette, which comes with a variety of different options like fried chicken or beef on the classic French bread.
But classic McDonald's lovers needn't worry: No matter where you go, any given McDonald’s combo can be ordered with the option of french fries and a Coca-Cola. The differences around the world did surprise us, though, so check out our slideshow to see how the menus change in different countries!
7 unique McDonald’s Happy Meals from around the world
Through the years, not much has changed in the iconic McDonald's Happy Meal. Children around the country can expect the same juicy cheeseburger, classic french fries, and of course the toy. (Who can forget Beanie Babies, or Mulan, the first international Happy Meal toy?)
Around the world, McDonald's menus vary and draw on local flavors to be more appealing to their target audience. While the regular menu options might be dramatically different than what most of us know in the U.S., the Happy Meal generally remains the same across borders. A choice of burger or chicken nuggets, a side (nowadays a fruit option is consistently offered alongside fries), and a drink, please.
But there are also some menus that have items that are unique to their given location, like a mini calzone in Italy, or a chicken burger with a special spicy sauce in Pakistan. Even more, while American McDonald's might not be known for their ham and cheese, 'McDo' (as it's often called in France) serves a version of the classic croque-monsieur on its Happy Meal menu.
Curious to learn more? We studied the Happy Meal menus across the world, and these are seven unique Happy Meal items that can only be found in their outlets around the world.
10 Colonial Mansion McDonald's - Hyde Park, New York
Even in the U.S., locals still want to preserve the historic architecture. The origins of this McDonald's go back to 1795, well before the McDonald's founder was ever born. It was originally built as a farmhouse by a man named Joseph Denton and has since been known as The Denton House. It was converted to a mansion in 1860 and throughout the better part of the 1900s it was used commercially as a funeral home and other restaurants.
In the 1980s, the mansion had fallen victim to neglect and McDonald's purchased the property with the intention of bulldozing the mansion and building a new store. Fortunately, the citizens of Hyde Park had the building deemed as a historical landmark and McDonald's had to use the existing building for their new location. The result is arguably their most beautiful location in America.
7. Canada - Poutine
Poutine originated from the rural areas of Quebec in the late 1950s. In the basic recipe for poutine, fries are covered with fresh cheese curds and topped with brown gravy. These cheese curds give a specific texture and are known for their "squeaky" properties. The gravy is made of light and thin slices of chicken, turkey, or veal that is salted and spiced with pepper. The gravy is made thin to spread quickly in between the fries and cheese curds. For a perfect texture on the fries, the gravy and cheese curds are added right before serving. The temperature is carefully considered not to completely melt the cheese curds.
Chicken & Egg Burger
Courtesy of McDonalds Hong Kong
Where You Can Get It: Hong Kong
Until recently, you had to hack the McDonald's menu to get chicken and egg on the same sandwich in the States. (Now, you can add an egg to the breakfast chicken sandwich at the chain.) But the McDonald's Hong Kong menu features chicken and a fresh egg, all in one sandwich. Yum!
All The Unique McDonald’s Dishes Around The World
McDonald's may have started out as an all-American fast food chain, but nowadays, you can see the logo and its distinct golden arches in every corner of the world-in 96 countries, to be exact. Here in the Philippines, we turn to McDonald's for their hamburgers, salty and crispy fries, tender nuggets with barbecue sauce, and their breakfast menu which has our local favorites, like the longganisa meals and pandesal sandwiches. Around the world, McDonald's also offers different menu items to cater to the locals.
We rounded up some of McDonald's unique items you can find around the world:
1 Barbecue Chicken (Vietnam)
One of the most predominant ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine is vegetables. This is why the Phan An Com Thit Nuon Op Lo, which roughly translates to "the meal of roasted barbecue rice," is a rice meal with strips of grilled pork, sunny side up egg, a drizzle of barbecue sauce, and a healthy side dish paired with most of McDonald's Vietnam's rice meals: slices of fresh cucumber and red tomatoes.
2 Kiwi Angus Burger (New Zealand)
It comes as no surprise that in New Zealand, they have a burger called a Kiwi Angus at their local McDonald's. This burger is made with New Zealand beef patty, egg, beetroot, tomato, lettuce, cheese, red onions, and a mix of mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup sandwiched between their chili chive buns.
3 Sankaku Pie (Japan)
You can always expect Japan to have something up their sleeves when it comes to creating unique desserts and snacks. Instead of the apple pies we've grown accustomed to, McDonald's Japan has their own triangular versions of these pastries, called Sankaku Choco Pies. They recently came up with two new flavors of these puff pastries: dark chocolate and caramel.
4 Basmati Rice Bowls (India)
One of the things we have in common with India is our love for dishes that explode with flavor and a bowl of rice that comes with it. In India, expect to find rice bowls that use basmati rice tossed with carrots, onions, zucchini, peas, and corn at their local McDonald's. There are two types of sauces they put on top of these rice bowls: the cheese sauce or the spicy sauce, which you can enjoy as is, or for a heftier meal, add chicken nuggets or chicken strips on top.
5 Pizza Mac (Germany)
New to Germany's McDonald's menu is the Pizza Mac. This is McDonald's Germany's take on Italy's well-loved pizza cones. This comes in the form of a juicy hamburger patty, melted mozzarella cheese, minced onions, and pizza sauce that are sandwiched together between two toasted pizza buns.
6 Tortinha Delice (Brazil)
In Brazil, they serve a pastry called Tortinha Delice, a traditional banana tart you treat more like a pie a la mode. It is topped with Nutella, vanilla ice cream, and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts to give it a bit of crunch.
7 Poutine Fries (Canada)
Poutine is a popular dish from Canada that consists of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy. This dish can be found all over Canada's menus, and McDonald's Canada is no exception. Their version of the Poutine includes McDonald's fries topped with a generous amount of rich gravy and mouth-watering cheese curds.
8 Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries (Singapore)
Singapore is known for pioneering the salted egg chips trend. It comes as no surprise that the city's McDonald's recently came out with a new addition to their menu: Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries. This snack is a combination of McDonald's fries with a drizzle of salted egg yolk sauce that also has curry flavors in it.
9 Vegemite Dip (Australia)
What's an Australian menu without Vegemite? Even though the rest of the world is divided about the taste of this bottled spread, most Aussies who grew up having this for breakfast can't get enough of it! This is why McDonald's in Australia offer Vegemite as a dip or spread you can use on their English muffins, scones, or toasted bread.
McDonald's breakfasts around the world
Spicy Chicken Muffin with Egg, Egypt: The classic Sausage McMuffin with Egg gets an Egyptian twist, where chicken is popular and dominates the breakfast menu. The crisp chicken patties are lightly seasoned with herbs, and served with the usual egg and cheese, wrapped in an English muffin. For the mild-food lovers, there is also a "regular" Chicken Muffin with Egg available. (Photo: McDonald's Egypt)
What's the first thing that pops into your head when someone says breakfast? Eggs, sausages and bacon, maybe some pancakes or waffles, with a side of butter biscuit? As the most important meal of the day, it's vital you get your daily fix of nutrients, or fats, from your breakfast. After all, it's hard to go wrong with the staple of eggs and bacon or a bowl of cereal!
That's why McDonald's, the quintessential American export, is a haven for traveling Americans. While it's always great to leave the shores and explore the culinary delights of another country, sometimes you just want to return to a good ol' cheeseburger, especially if you've been trying local delicacies for a little too long. Rampant globalization has been a godsend for getting a slice of home.
With a McDonald's ever-present in nearly every country in the world, home is never too far away. But occasionally, even the global American standard paves way for local culture, even at an American institution like McDonald's. Across the Atlantic or the Pacific, things can get a little weird .
The Daily Meal has previously covered unique McDonald's meals and Happy Meals around the world, but it seems not even the mundane choice of breakfast is safe from customization. While you can still generally get an order of eggs and sausages, also expect to see a few items on the menu that are most certainly local.
Among the unique items is a soup-based pasta in Hong Kong, a full vegetarian burger and a veg pizza puff in India, a selection of breads in Brazil, sandwich with goat cheese in Norway and a Filet O'Fish in Japan.
Check out the slideshow above to see them all!
1. Grilled Chicken Twisty Pasta, Hong Kong
Mac and cheese sounds about right. But what about macaroni in a soupy broth, with chicken strips? A Hong Kong favorite, this breakfast served at McDonald's is actually an adaption of a local dish, served at casual Cantonese restaurants and fast-food shops.
2. Veg Pizza McPuff, India
In a land where eating beef is generally against the primarily-Hindu population's belief, and even meat is sometimes forbidden, a puff pastry in the form of a vegetarian pizza has taken shape.
While it may seem strange to the average American, as the largest eaters of fish in the world, it's no surprise that the regular Filet-O-Fish is available for breakfast in Japan (as well as in many East Asian countries including Hong Kong). In Japan, fish may be consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
4. Pão Na Chapa and Pão De Queijo, Brazil
A slice or two of toast is a good start to the day, but McDonald's in Brazil also serves a couple of varieties of bread a-la-carte, including the Pão Na Chapa, served with butter, and Pão De Queijo, with cheese.
5. Sandwich with goat cheese, Norway
From time-to-time, McDonald's also has the propensity to be fancy, moving beyond traditional American Kraft cheese and serving an open Norwegian sandwich with goat cheese.
In a recent effort to be healthy, McDonald's around the world has started offering corn cups in place of fries or hash browns. The Israel version takes the corn back to its crispy McDonald's roots, deep-frying the corn sticks. The sticks are specially available on the Happy Meal breakfast menu.
7. McToast Shoko (Chocolate), Germany
Who says breakfast has to be savory? Add a bit of sweet flavor with a chocolate toast, served at McDonald's in Germany. The toast is made of loose wheat pancakes, while the chocolate is chocolate in its most heavenly form - creamy milk chocolate.
8. Spicy Chicken Muffin with Egg, Egypt
The classic Sausage McMuffin with Egg gets an Egyptian twist, where chicken is popular and dominates the breakfast menu. The crisp chicken patties are lightly seasoned with herbs, and served with the usual egg and cheese, wrapped in an English muffin. For the mild-food lovers, there is also a "regular" Chicken Muffin with Egg available.
For this quick and easy dinner recipe, cornstarch helps the chicken get a delightfully crisp crust.
Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes.
14 Gratin Croquette Burger (Japan)
This one is totally over the top in the best possible way. This seasonal favourite — it's only available in the winter months — consists of a mixture of crab and macaroni that are breaded and fried into a classic croquette, then placed between two buns with some shredded lettuce, cheese and sauce. One thing that's definitely noticeable in the McDonald's around the world is how they interpret the burger — patties are definitely not restricted solely to beef. International locations seem to love to experiment with outside the box patties, and though many of them sound a little bit questionable, they're obviously popular for a reason.
McDonald’s Italia created a special menu for the EXPO2015 in Milan. The McVeggie was conceptualized to bring a new meaning to vegetarian burger and launched it along with several other go-green products. Made from broccoli, carrots, corn, spinach, peas, and cheese, the veggie burger doesn’t taste like grass at all. It is really delicious and crispy.
The burger is topped with toasted burger buns, a slice of smoked scamorza cheese, red pesto sauce, and 3 slices of tomatoes. It brings a new flavor to the vegetarian market and fast food cuisine.