In times like these, the salty ubiquity of the McDonald’s menu is more relieving than anything else. While it’s relatively easy to argue that a poorly constructed Big Mac and a bland bag of French fries can’t stack up against some of the more premium fast food offerings, it’s impossible to deny that our familiarity with the flavours (or lack thereof) is a great comfort when the whole world’s turned upside down.
But imagine, for a second, if your local McDonald’s menu wasn’t a composite of sad chicken and badly seasoned beef. What if your McDonald’s menu wasn’t just exciting, but offered a meal unlike anything else on the planet, all for an extremely affordable price? As it turns out, if you expand your horizons, such mythical McDonald’s do in fact exist. Here are seven McDonald's menus that are much better than America's.
For a nation famously obsessed with “The Barbie”, it’s slightly surprising to see just how popular McDonald’s signature blend of frozen beef and deep frying has become Down Under. One look at the menu, however, and all becomes clear. Classic dishes like the beloved Angus BBQ Bacon Burger and Family Box meal deal (where you can get your pick of four burgers, four fries, and four drinks for about $16, US) mean that “Macca’s” is as much of a cornerstone of Australian culture as koalas or antagonising the English.
As a country that takes all food, from a slightly sorry hamburger to a lovingly roasted cote de boeuf, incredibly seriously, it’s no surprise that French McDonald’s is more of an event than its competitors. The menu, for instance, features dishes like the Chicken Big Mac - a two-tier twist on the beefy original, as well as a special dipping sauce designed specifically for French fries. Couple that with a drinks list that includes things like “Guava Juice” and you’ve got yourself a seriously classy outfit.
What’s better than an ordinary McDonald’s burger? A McDonald’s burger that’s been doubled in size, obviously. In Thailand, this is exactly what’s available, as classic dishes like the cheeseburger and Big Mac can be upgraded to contain two and four patties respectively. That’s a lot of beef for your buck. This, alongside the legendary Pork Samurai burger (which has been described by many McDonald’s connoisseurs as the Golden Arch’s greatest creation), makes McDonald’s Thailand a formidable fast food franchise.
Singapore’s street food deserves its reputation as some of the most delicious anywhere on earth. But, if you get inexplicably bored of impossibly tasty noodles and grilled meat skewers, Singaporean Maccy D’s offers a more than acceptable alternative. Dishes like the Nasi Lemak Burger and Coconut Pie take traditional flavours and transform them into something totally bonkers and completely unique. The fact that it delivers on flavour as well as novelty value is just an added bonus.
It might be on the other side of the world, but any country that comes up with Carbonara Fries is definitely worth a visit. This 2018 mashup is just a taste of the mad genius that goes into the Japanese McDonald’s menu and should provide all the evidence you need to book your next flight. In case you need any more convincing, the Double Filet-O-Fish and Teriyaki Chicken burgers should seal the deal. Enough said.
6. The Netherlands
It’s very rare for one menu item to propel an entire regional franchise to legendary status, but the Dutch Stroopwafel McFlurry does just that. Despite being a strictly limited time only dessert, the dish has proved so popular that fans from all over the world have flown to the Netherlands just to get a taste of its richly sugared ripples. If, for any reason, the Stroopwafel McFlurry is unavailable, fans can also tuck into the notorious McKroket sandwich, featuring a deep-fried beef ragout patty. Think crispy bolognese in a sandwich - i.e, awesome.
Vegetarian options have been the downfall of many otherwise great fast food giants. Anyone who’s ever bitten into an offensively beany veggie dipper knows that the plant-based menu is rarely afforded the same attention as some of the more meaty highlights. This is where McDonald’s India really comes into its own. Catering to a country that’s around 40% vegetarian, the chain has been forced to come up with a wealth of delicious options, including the famously tasty McAloo Tikki Burger. Other Maccies around the world could learn a lesson or two.
Our opinions on McDonald’s are about much more than objective taste. Especially in a time like this, we are informed as much by happy childhood nostalgia as we are flavour. This means that none of us will ultimately ever be able to agree over whether one McDonald’s is in fact better than another. However, if we set aside personal bias and just look at the evidence in front of us, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that these seven don’t stack up against the very best in the business.