With over 36,000 locations in more than 100 countries, McDonald’s is one of the very most recognizable brands on earth. While it made its name with staples like the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, the chain tailors its menu to local tastes, which means that a McDonald’s in India will be very different from one in the United States.
After trying one of McDonald’s latest items in the United States, we asked some of our international colleagues in six different countries – Singapore, Japan, India, Sweden, holland, and great britain – to go to a McDonald’s near them and reveal about the experience. We found that every catered to regional tastes with variations on the chain’s traditional offerings that surprised us.
As many in India are vegetarian or don’t eat beef for religious reasons, Indian McDonald’s locations lack the vast majority of the U.S. menu staples and carry numerous meat-free main dishes instead. The McAloo and McVeggie sandwiches, for example, contain homemade veggie patties made from chickpeas and a blend of peas, carrots, potatoes, peppers, and spices, respectively, as the McSpicy Paneer is built around a spiced, breaded slab of the firm yet mild Indian cheese and tandoori sauce.
Canada, Brazil, France
When it comes to breakfast, only select McDonald’s diners throughout the world experienced the option of a sweet pastry in addition to the standard savory muffin sandwiches. Canada got the chocolate hazelnut croissant, as the Brazilian version was just chocolate..
For dessert, Netherlanders (and briefly Americans) could try McFlurries flavored like strawberry cheesecake or stroopwafels, a crisp cookie originating from the location of Gouda made out of two wafers and a thin layer of caramel in between. This international offering was available briefly in the Miami-Dade region of Florida and participating U.S. restaurants as part of McDonald’s Worldwide Favorites promotion.
Truffle Mayo & Parmesan Loaded Fries
Australia or Sweden
In Australia, McDonald’s – or Macca’s in the neighborhood parlance – got fancy having its fry options. In addition to the truffle-infused variety, there were loaded fries topped with guacamole and salsa or sweet chili and sour cream. It looks like the truffle fad passed Down Under, though.
Ham Croquettes and Gazpacho
Thanks to Spain’s enduring love of pork, McDonald’s locations in the Mediterranean country have carried tapaslike croquettes filled with ham bits in cheese sauce. Another staple side dish for the junk food brand in Spain has been gazpacho, an Andalusian tomato and vegetable soup served cold.
One distinctive McDonald’s offering available for a time in Germany was a platter of currywurst, a street food dish of steamed and grilled sausage served with curry-spiced ketchup. The German sausage specialties didn’t end there, however; the chain also served up the pun-tastic Nürnburger, featuring bit more than three pork sausage links on the bun.
Black and White Burgers
McDonald’s locations in Hong Kong cooked up a black-bunned burger colored with squid ink and topped with white sesame. In addition they offered a white-bunned chicken sandwich topped with bacon and peppercorn mushroom sauce. The monochrome burgers reportedly look much better than they taste.
The Dutch-originated McKroket sandwich includes a deep-fried patty of mixed ground beef and cheese topped with a mustard sauce. McDonald’s locations in the nation are also more accommodating to dietary restrictions, offering gluten-free burgers and vegetarian fried “chicken” sandwiches.
If you’re eating breakfast at a McDonald’s south of the border, you may look for the McMollete: three open-faced sandwiches topped with refried beans, cheese, and pico de gallo salsa. This version of the original mollete substituted English muffin with crusty bolillos and processed American cheese for Monterey Jack.
At McDonald’s locations in New Zealand, the Kiwiburger has been the chain’s take on a typical New Zealand hamburger, which comes topped with fried egg and red beetroot slices. For the reason that latter ingredient isn’t found in any other McDonald’s products, the sandwich has been subject to intermittent discontinuations. Kiwi customers will always be capable of default to distinct menu items including the Almighty Texas BBQ or the Big Brekkie Beef Burger.
Also called the McKebab in Israel or the McTurco in Turkey, this pita sandwich is one of McDonald’s flagship offerings across the Middle East. It comes with either grilled chicken or beef and lamb meatballs called kofta. Other versions, offered for a limited time or only using regions, contain extras such as halloumi cheese, eggplant, and sujuk sausage.
McDonald’s may have more international menu variations than some other junk food chain, but the one Americans may envy most is the occurrence of beer and wine at the majority of restaurants in Central and Western Europe as well as South Korea. That is reportedly according to consumer demand, but one can also presume that because alcohol carries more social and legal stigma in america, selling it could go against the kid-friendly image McDonald’s tries to cultivate domestically.
Spinach Parmesan Croquettes
In addition to wine, Italian McDonald’s locations sell these vegetarian-friendly fried nuggets, filled with spinach and herb-seasoned melted cheese. It’s also among the many nations where McDonald’s has sold the McVeggie that includes a patty produced from broccoli, carrots, corn, spinach, peas, and cheese.
One of the most unexpected items on McDonald’s menus in the Philippines has been this two-piece meal of fried chicken, which posseses an optional side of McSpaghetti. Garlic-flavored rice is another side dish absent from American McDonald’s locations, as well as for breakfast, there is poached egg and Longaniza, a chorizolike sausage.
Few of international McDonald’s items are so singular yet tempting to American tastes as the chicken McCurry Pan, which consists of a rectangular bread bowl filled up with chicken and vegetables in a tomato-curry sauce. Unfortunately, it’s been available only in India, combined with the double decker Chicken Maharaja Mac, a Hindu-friendly version of the top Mac.