When you think about McDonald’s desserts, you typically think about a McFlurry or some kind of pie. However, outside of North America, the golden arches hold a world of desserts waiting to be tasted. If you’ve ever eaten at a McDonald’s abroad, you’ll probably have noticed some interesting menu items popping up. In fact, there can be so many unique items at various international McDonald’s that some people who travel make an experience out of trying different McDonald’s items wherever they go. And there are thousands of locations around the world, so there’s always something to try. While these menu items often refer to the snacks and meals you can enjoy, it also applies to the fast-food chain’s sweet post-meal treats. So, if a plane ticket isn’t in your budget right now, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of the most intriguing desserts from McDonald’s around the world. Buckle your virtual seatbelt, because things are going to get interesting.
10. Ukraine: Ginger Plum Pie
One of the signature dessert items on the McDonald’s menu that has never failed is the pies. In the U.S., McDonald’s apple pies are pretty much a staple. While the company has tested out a few different pie flavors over the years, like pumpkin pie in the fall or holiday pies in December. Through it all, apple pie has remained a constant that is near and dear to Americans’ hearts. When McDonald’s went and tried to change the apple pie, people were outraged. That’s how much we love it. However, in other parts of the world, McDonald’s likes to change it up and offer different twists on their pies. You can find a wide variety of pies based on the area where that particular McDonald’s is. In Ukraine, you can order a ginger plum pie. It’s made with ginger dough and stuffed with a plum filling. There’s nothing better than that to remind you of a nice, Victorian-esque holiday dessert.
9. Japan: McChoco Potato (Chocolate Covered Fries)
McDonald’s in Japan really takes the dessert game up a notch by actually blending it with meal options. That’s how we get chocolate covered french fries. The McChoco Potato was introduced to the Japanese McDonald’s menu in 2016 after a few years of taking some hits to their reputation. Starting in 2014, controversy swirled around a supplier that was providing expired chicken, as well as a tooth that was found in an order of french fries and a child that was injured after finding a plastic shard in their sundae. The company’s reputation in Japan was getting so out of hand that the McDonald’s team was considered renaming or selling the locations completely. Things finally turned around when Sarah Casanova, an eager McDonald’s Japan executive, decided to do something about it. She visited all of the McDonald’s locations in the country, investigated into new suppliers, and revamped some new and exciting menu items. The McChoco Potato was one of those new creations. We already know that salty foods and chocolate go better together, and this mouthwatering concoction provides the perfect blend of salty and sweet. It’s an order of McDonald’s signature french fries topped with white chocolate and fudge sauce. How could you go wrong? The chocolate sauces are served in their own individual packets separate from the fries, and when the packet is squeezed back on itself both sauces pour out at the same time so you can get a good, even coating. But if you don’t want an even coating, you have the option of using your own combination to make it exactly what you want. Now that’s innovation.
8. Italy and Brazil: Nutella Pastries and Baked Goods
It’s no secret to anyone that has been to Italy, and other European countries, that these people love their Nutella. You can find it at any gelato stand, in bakeries, and in plenty of other places. No matter where you are in Italy, chances are you’ll be able to find something with Nutella just a few steps away. It’s also commonly added to croissants for a succulent breakfast. And that’s not an accident. Nutella was actually created by an Italian company, Ferrero. So, it’s no surprise that McDonald’s in Italy carries a variety of Nutella baked goods for dessert. At McDonald’s Italy, one of the main things you can find is Nutella muffins. For a more adventurous dessert, you can also try the Sweety Nutella Burger. Don’t worry – it’s actually not a real burger. Instead, it’s a sweet bun with Nutella baked inside it. Overall it’s designed to look like a burger. Think of it as a dessert burger. If you’re one of those people who loves spreading Nutella on toast, this is probably right up your alley. You can also get a Sundae Pocket, which is basically a waffle filled with hazelnuts and fudge. It’s not necessarily Nutella, but it does have that same hazelnut-chocolate flavor you know and love. These Nutella baked goods are also available at McDonald’s in Brazil. There, you can snack on a traditional banana tart topped with Nutella, vanilla ice cream, and Farofa de pacoca. McDonald’s in Brazil also features a pão de queijo with Nutella on the menu. The pão de queijo is a traditional Brazilian cheese bread, generally eaten for breakfast. McDonald’s has now put a spin on this food and added Nutella to the middle for a little twist. Cheese and Nutella? Don’t knock it ’till you try it.
7. Singapore: D24 Durian McFlurry
Durian is known as the “King of Fruits.” But for many, it’s the stinky fruit. Known for its pungent, potent odor, durian is a popular but divisive fruit in Southeast Asia. Many who have tried the fruit have described the smell as some type of combination of onions and dirty gym socks. In fact, in many Asian countries, it’s illegal to bring this fruit on public transportation, including some taxis. However, if you can get past the stench, it’s actually known to have a nice, sweet taste. It’s also super healthy and packed with good vitamins. So, if you’re willing to try the stinkiest McFlurry you’ll ever eat, head over to Singapore and try the Durian McFlurry. It consists of ice cream swirled with a durian puree featuring real chunks of durian. According to McDonald’s, this is a real puree of D24 durian, not the artificial stuff. It’s served in its own custom paper cups for added effect. This durian McFlurry was actually first introduced in Malaysia. Then, a year later, it was released in Singapore to celebrate the country’s birthday in July. At this time, it was released as a limited time promotion, but so many people actually loved it that McDonald’s recently brought it back this year. With this recent release, the restaurant introduced a second version, the D24 Durian McFlurry Party. The party version is basically a large size with chocolate chunks added that is meant to share between two people (or one very hungry durian lover).
6. Hong Kong: Purple Sweet Potato Soft Serve Ice Cream in an Oreo Cone
This delicious dessert option is almost too beautiful to eat. Pale, lilac colored purple ice cream sits swirled on top of a black Oreo waffle cone. It’s a purple and black picture that Ursula would be proud of. And McDonald’s customers in Hong Kong are gobbling it up. And, like all picturesque food items, it went semi-viral on Instagram when it was introduced. Purple sweet potatoes are used to give the ice cream its signature purple color, while the dark chocolatey taste of the Oreo cone adds a crunch. The ice cream is sweet potato flavored as well. It’s been described as creamy and sweet, with the bittersweet taste of the Oreo cone providing the perfect combination. If you’re in the U.S. and aren’t going to make it to Hong Kong anytime soon, you can get vanilla soft serve in an Oreo cone at the special outlet in Chicago. This location, the West Loop corporate headquarters, serves a “global rotation menu” offering Americans selections of the international foods they can’t get at their local McDonald’s. It won’t be the exact same as the pretty purple sweet potato ice cream, but you can get that Oreo cone. Half is better than none, right?
5. France: Macarons
Thanks to Pulp Fiction, we know that we can order a Royale with Cheese at McDonald’s in France. But France McDonald’s has other twists that we don’t have in North America. There, you can order a signature French treat right there alongside your burger: macarons. Normally, macarons are known to be a sweet treat sold at upscale boutique Parisian style bakeries in beautiful, delicate packaging. However, McDonald’s in France has made it easier for people with a budget to get their hands on this dessert. Flavors include raspberry, chocolate, blueberry, pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla. While some macaron enthusiasts may scoff at the idea of a cheap version, the McDonald’s macarons are quite comparable. Famous boutiques such as Ladurée sell boxes of six for about $17 U.S.D., while McDonald’s sells a box for about $5 U.S.D. So, if you have a craving for macarons and can’t access the upscale versions, McDonald’s does have an option to help you get your fix. Macarons aren’t the only delicious dessert offered up at France’s locations. You can choose from a stellar dessert menu that also includes cheesecake, brownie and cookie sticks, and more. Rumor has it you can also get macarons and McDonald’s in Germany and Australia as well.
4. Australia and New Zealand: Bubblegum Squash McFlurry
On the outside, this creation looks like something that came straight out of unicorn and candy land and sounds like some kind of new wave trendy vegetable. Don’t be fooled – it’s not actually squash. The term “squash” seems to be referring to the marshmallows. This McFlurry is made with bubblegum syrup and marshmallows blended together with vanilla ice cream. Together, it creates a pink, blue, and white concoction that satisfies a marshmallow lover’s sweet tooth. Now, bubblegum flavor tends to be one of those flavors that you either love or hate. It’s largely marketed or targeted to kids, which is why some adults believe that it’s juvenile. Others just think it’s too sweet. On top of that, the bubblegum flavor itself is an artificial flavor invented by combining other flavors together. However, those with a solid sweet tooth have loved this classic flavor, and the nostalgic element it brings. If you’re a huge fan of bubblegum, you’ve got to try out this McFlurry. This particular bubblegum creation is known to be popular with tourists, so we’re sure there are more lovers than haters out there. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a good sugar rush, this is probably going to do the trick.
3. Peru: Chicha Purple Temptation
This blue dessert is made from blue corn, which is how it gets its color. But nothing about the appearance of this dish at McDonald’s in Peru makes it obvious that blue corn is involved. One of the things that stands out the most about the Chicha Purple Temptation is that it looks like it should be sitting on a bakery shelf, not in a glass case at a fast food restaurant. However, with the McCafe re-branding, McDonald’s has been rolling out some new and impressive punches. Blue corn is a staple of southwestern cuisine, known particularly in Mexican cooking for use in tortillas, corn beer, and a dish called tlacoyo. It’s also known to have a lot of health benefits, including high protein. However, in Peru, this blue corn is now available mixed up in this attractive McDonald’s dessert. The Chicha Purple Temptation is actually based on a traditional Peruvian drink called the chicha morada. It’s an ancient Inca recipe that is still consumed throughout the country. In fact, it’s as popular there as Coca Cola. It’s also known to be very rich in antioxidants. To make the drink, the blue corn is blended with pineapple rinds, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, and lime juice. The McDonald’s dessert has a similar taste since it’s based on this recipe, just in a more dessert-friendly form.
2. China: Deep Fried Taro Pie
For those who aren’t that familiar with taro, it’s essentially a tropical root plant that has a sweet, nutty taste. It only grows in the Pacific Islands, so it’s not too common to see it in North America. But for those living in Asian countries, it’s a staple and beloved addition to just about anything. It’s added to soups, ice creams, cakes, and even made into a tea. So, of course, McDonald’s in Hong Kong made a pie out of it and it’s a highly popular dessert. The deep fried taro pie at McDonald’s in China is similar to the baked hot apple pie in American locations, but it’s filled with chunks of taro in a sweet, sticky jam-like sauce. It’s rectangular and comes in a crispy shell just like the apple pies we know and love, and looks similar on the outside. But the inside is bright purple. And it’s deep fried – in recent years, and to a controversial response, McDonald’s in America switched to baked apple pies instead of the fried pies. The taro filling itself isn’t overly sweet because of the vegetable’s root base, so it makes a great treat for those who don’t want too much sweetness in their pie. At one point, McDonald’s locations in Hawaii featured the taro pie, but for a limited time. Whenever it was brought there, it was a local favorite, so maybe it will return again one day. Or, even better, maybe it will spread to the rest of America one day. Count us in.
1. Indonesia: Coconut Charcoal McFlurry
Charcoal has become a trendy food menu item in the last few years. Not the kind that you put on your barbecue, but a kind that’s made from heating certain materials to very high temperatures to “activate” it. Basically, since the charcoal is absorbent and can bind to certain substances such as molecules, heating it strips it everything that’s already been bonded to it and frees it up to absorb new things. This is where the idea of charcoal absorbing toxins comes in. While none of it has been scientifically proven yet, activated charcoal is said to have many health benefits, including toxin-absorbing properties that help your body cleanse itself of the bad stuff. Because of its ability to absorb toxins, it has been used to help treat poisonings or drug overdoses. However, some have come forward recently with more potential health benefits such as kidney health, assistance with digestion, and teeth whitening. All of these health benefits have helped spawn the charcoal-everything trend. You may be worried that you’d be getting a mouthful of weird charcoal taste, most people who have tried this McFlurry have stated that the coconut is the dominant flavor here. So, if you’re in Indonesia and you love coconut, you’ll have to stop by McDonald’s to try it for yourself.