As any seasoned traveler will tell you, a large part of the thrill of travel is experiencing new and exciting things. But usually there comes a time during a trip- especially a long trip to a far off place- where you just crave something familiar. For fans of McDonald’s you can rejoice, for the mega burger franchise has restaurants in literally every corner of the globe! Though not all serve burgers and beef products, they all serve those delicious fries. Get your comfort food and still experience something new and different, for each exotic McDonalds has their own special food dishes.
With over 32,000 stores in more than 117 countries, there are plenty of surprising and tasty menu items to try that offer a unique twist on the fast food favorites:
In Malaysia I have heard that the McDonalds there serve a chicken porridge that has onions, ginger, fresh shallots, and chilies.
Singapore takes the traditional beef or chicken patty and adds their own unique tough- toasted rice cakes for buns! This is on my list to try when I get over to visiting Singapore.
Japan takes the burger and fries craze and adds another fast food comfort food to the mix. They offer what is called the McHotdog, complete with ketchup and mustard, and is a popular favorite on the breakfast menu.
Mexico has taken the McMuffin and made it its very own with the McMolletes. No egg will be found on this breakfast sandwich, instead there is a healthy serving of refried beans, cheese, and pico de gallo on top of the muffins.
Japanese people love their seafood and this is made even more apparent with the Ebi Fillet- a fish fillet stuffed with whole shrimp. The sandwich is topped off like a normal fillet complete with sauce, lettuce, and a sesame seed bun.
India has taken patties and added their own ethnic twist with the McAloo Tikki, which is basically a spice potato patty fried up to a golden brown.
Turkey has taken the McDonald’s delicious apple pie and created their own version- the mouth watering Chocolate Orange Pie!
In Norway the burger has been replaced largely by the salmon burger- a thick slab of freshly cooked salmon topped with dill sauce.
In Finland, the snack wraps took on a new look with the Lakse Wraps- a grilled or fried stick of salmon wrapped with lettuce and either honey or wasabi sauce.
Desserts in France re high class and fancy, even at McDonalds with a cup of chocolate mousse. This decadent desert comes in milk, white, and dark chocolate as well as a tri chocolate combo. This is definitely one of my favorites!
Some of these McDonalds do not just offer their own twist on the American classics. No, there are some restaurants where they offer restaurant style meal items that have nothing to do with the standard McDonalds fries and burgers:
Hong Kong offers a sausage, egg, and pasta dish that contains a large sausage patty, tender twisty noodles, and a poached egg on top. The dish is served in a bowl with broth, and is also available with grilled chicken instead of the sausage.
Germans have the Nurnburger, which looks nothing like a burger. Instead it is three large bratwurst cooked to perfection and put on a large soft roll with an ample amount of mustard. Germans have the famous soccer manager Uli Hoeness to thank for this creation.
In the Philippines, if you walk into a McDonalds, I have been told you can see spaghetti with meat sauce, as well as fried chicken on the menu!
India has created the McCurry pan. This dish comes loaded with curried vegetables such a broccoli corn and mushrooms, along with a creamy sauce. The dish is banked in a bread pan and then served with or without chicken.
People in Hong Kong can enjoy a bowl of corn as a side shish instead of the traditional fries if they so choose. Sounds like a sweet alternative to me!
Israel McDonalds offer the McFalafel, bit kosher and no kosher makes, and this tasty treat is a delicious combination of chickpea fritters, tomatoes, cucumber, and cheese that is topped with tahini sauce and placed in a wrap. Definitely a must-try if I ever make it back to that area of the world!
Germany has stepped things up in the desert department with their Mini-Cakes, available in flavors such as chocolate, blueberry cheesecake, and cookies n Cream. They also offer Cupcakes in decadent flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cappuccino.
In the Czech Republic, you get a side order of shrimp when you order the McCountry Sausage sandwich.
The Middle East offers a delicious sub, known as the McArabia. Thick slices of the local meat loaf or thick chicken fillets, add on the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, garlic, mayo and put it all in a thick pita bread. To finish it off add a touch of cumin or other local spice and you have a Middle East McDonalds classic.
Visitors to Hawaii may be taken aback by one menu item on the McDonald’s boar- Spam and Eggs. This platter, complete with rice and Portuguese Sausage is called the McMonty Python Deluxe.
Quebec, Canada offers a tasty treat perfect for seafood lovers. The McHomard is basically thick chunks of lobbers in a creamy sauce piled high on a sub roll. I have got to try one of these!
In Chile, you can get the traditional apple pies or you can take the more culture route and try the native Cheese Empanadas.
Throughout Canada, McDonalds offer us a surprisingly American classic- grilled cheese sandwiches!
Costa Rica offers a combo plate known as the McPinto. It comes with a healthy serving of pintos and rice along with a number of choices for sides.
In Argentina, McDonalds offer not only the classic sodas and coffees, but you can also wind wine on the menu under the – uncreative- name of McWine.
Not to be outdone, Germany offers selections of beer at their McDonalds.
Other interesting facts about McDonalds.
In many places throughout Europe and Asia, McDonalds is seen as a sit down fine dining experience rather than the in and out fast food restaurant of the American taste.
Some McDonalds In Europe and Asia will host weddings- a small gathering can be fed for starting at around $260. That is something I would like to see some day on my travels!
McDonalds fist opened outside of the US in 1967 with a store in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since then it has grown into a truly international icon and is one of the most recognized chain stores in the world.
Many countries- especially those that are heavily populate such as India, Japan, and China, will delivery your order to you. They have their own crew of delivery boys who ride scooters and bikes to deliver your McDonalds order right to you.
Despite all the differences in menu offerings, two items are a staple at just about every McDonalds around the world- fries and onion rings or some variations of them.
Sweden has its own take on McDonalds and offers mini restaurants called McSki, which are as the name implies, found at ski resorts. It’s the perfect place to grab a bit to eat on the ride up the mountain.
Australia takes family eating serious and offers family dinner boxes. Each box has four sandwiches, four fries, four medium drinks and McNuggets to share. All for around 20 American dollars is not a bad deal!
It is easy to see that even a great American classic like McDonalds can be well adapted to the culture, traditions, and tastes of other countries and people groups. It is well worth visiting some of these McDonalds on your travels and seeing firsthand what the difference is. You can make it a goal, much as I have, to try and find one in every country that I visit. Some have them, some don’t but when you do find them, memories are made and there are plenty of stories to tell your friends when you get back home!
Many Thanks to Sarah Jo Coryell for her great assistance in writing this fine article.