When people tell you to go out and experience culture through food on your travels, they don’t mean go hit up the local McDonalds. But, if (or should we say, when) you end up at the home of the golden arches, it could be fun to try something new. Instead of buying a meal you could purchase at the McDonalds in your hometown, try something unique to the country you’re visiting. If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve got twenty interesting (and sometimes crazy) options for you to learn about, ten of which are presented in part one of this list, and ten more that you can read about right here!
10. Ovomaltine McFlurry
It’s almost shocking how many different flavors of McFlurry exist worldwide. There’s so much more than the M&M and Oreo flavors to which we’re accustomed. Although, this particular flavor does bear a surprising number of similarities to an Oreo McFlurry. Considering how hard it is to mess up ice cream, we can pretty much guarantee that the Ovomaltine McFlurry will taste amazing. It contains chocolate chips and chocolate sauce, all mixed into vanilla soft serve ice cream. It’s really the perfect dessert for any fans of the classic chocolate sundae. Or just chocolate lovers in general. Seriously, there’s enough chocolate in there to get you through even the worst cravings. This is one food item that isn’t unique to a specific country; it can be found in Brazil, as well as in several McDonalds locations across Europe. If you’re lucky enough to stumble across one of the restaurants that happens to serve this McFlurry, definitely don’t pass up the opportunity to try it. Traveling can be exhausting, and it’ll give you the sugar rush you need to get through the rest of your day. Plus, ice cream is refreshing enough that it’ll also help you recharge if you’ve been doing a lot of hiking or sightseeing in hot weather. All in all, you really can’t go wrong with the Ovomaltine McFlurry.
9. Fried Shrimp
For reasons unbeknownst to us, many McDonalds restaurants around the world have made the executive decision to add shrimp to their menus. We’re not complaining, just remarking on the fact that it’s a bit of a strange trend. So, don’t be surprised if you notice fried shrimp on the menu of a McDonalds in Russia. While the fast food franchise has come up with several ways to incorporate shrimp into pre-existing food items, such as burgers (spoilers for later), this is the first time shrimp has been given the opportunity to fly solo on their menu. Fried shrimp can be ordered as a side dish, just like a serving of fries. It’s a weird play for McDonalds, but the fact that the shrimp is fried makes its presence on their menu less jarring. It’s one thing for them to add another fried starter, to stand beside their fries and nuggets. It would be a whole other ball game if they’d started casually serving sides of cocktail shrimp. Which, as weird as it sounds, might actually draw a decent crowd. Regardless, fried shrimp seems to be doing quite well at Russian McDonalds. It’s probably just out there enough for a fast food menu that people find it intriguing. Hopefully it still stands up after the novelty wears off. Fried shrimp would make a great addition alongside nuggets, fries and chicken wings at parties or game nights, so fingers crossed they start serving this dish internationally. Until then, the travel time to get your hands on some McDonalds shrimp might prove to be slightly inconvenient.
8. McToast Chocolate
This food item looks like it should have been intended as a dessert. But, apparently, that’s not the case. In fact, this chocolatey treat is marketed as a breakfast food, a fact that mothers everywhere might find to be rather upsetting. If you’re a fan of Nutella sandwiches, you might want to pay special attention to this one. Despite this being an alleged breakfast food, between the slices of perfectly browned toast you won’t find bacon or eggs. No, instead, it’s loaded with a melted chocolate spread. Since it’s technically “toast”, it makes for a totally acceptable breakfast, right? That doesn’t necessarily mean you should be eating it before noon, but that’s not stopping anybody. If you don’t want to be caught starting your day with this sweet meal, the toasted outside does a good job of hiding the chocolate filling. It’s actually quite effective in helping you get away with eating this one without people being the any the wiser. Just in case you want to avoid their judgmental looks while you indulge. This food item is reminiscent of the Sweety Burger, which is a hamburger bun filled with a chocolate spread. While it’s a little heavier on the bread and slightly less crunchy than the McToast Chocolate, the basic concept is the same. The Sweety Burger is exclusive to McDonalds locations in Italy, while the McToast Chocolate is only available in Germany. Europe gets all the luck when it comes to chocolatey McDonalds items, and it’s rather unfair. But at least you know where to travel if you have a combined love of fast food and chocolate.
7. Shrimp Burger
As was not-so-subtly hinted at earlier, fried shrimp isn’t the only seafood-themed entry on this list. This time, you’ll find the shrimp not on its own, but in burger form. There are turkey burgers, chicken burgers, even black bean burgers, so it was only a matter of time before someone decided to push the envelope even further. This burger actually came about after a scare about contaminated chicken spread throughout Asia, causing people to avoid chicken-based products like the plague. In order to provide wary customers with an alternative, Japanese McDonalds rolled out a new meal concept: the Shrimp Burger. This burger includes all the necessary fixings. The condiment of choice is ebi shrimp tempura sauce, which, from the name, sounds like the perfect fit for this burger. Next, there are several fresh leaves of lettuce. And, finally, a crispy panko-battered shrimp patty. All of this can be found between two classic sesame seed buns. If you’re not a fan of stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to food, you probably won’t find the prospect of this burger too exciting. But if you’re more adventurous when it comes to eating, trying out the Shrimp Burger is an essential addition to any food bucket list. Even if you don’t end up loving this burger, the experience is guaranteed to be a memorable one!
6. Chicken McDo with McSpaghetti
No, this one’s not from Italy. If you’re confused about when McDonalds decided it was a good idea to start serving pasta, then you’re not alone. This meal, which can only be found in the Philippines, consists of fried chicken and spaghetti topped with cheese and tomato sauce. This kind of sounds like a meal that people should be warned to keep away from, because the idea of McDonalds dabbling with pasta is slightly questionable – not to mention the fact that someone actually thought the pairing of spaghetti and fried chicken was a good idea. However, it’s just wrong enough to be totally intriguing. If you’re a pasta purist and only go for the really authentic stuff, well, we probably don’t have to tell you that McDonalds isn’t the best place to go for that. But for those of you who didn’t grow up on your nonna’s unbeatable Italian food, there’s a chance that you might actually enjoy this meal. Plus, as weird as it is for it to be served next to spaghetti, the fried chicken is probably amazing. When you think about it, McDonalds has a pretty great track record when it comes to chicken (see: chicken nuggets). And, seriously, it’s next to impossible to mess up any food that’s fried. Dropping something into a deep fryer automatically makes it passable at the very least, if not incredible. If you’re still not convinced, pretending that it’s chicken parmesan might help. All in all, there’s a chance that this dish is actually pretty solid. There’s no knowing until you try it.
5. McCurry Pan
This is another entry on this list that only feels like it belongs at McDonalds because of the signature “Mc” inserted at the front of its name. Other than that, it seems pretty out of place. But that doesn’t mean it’s not appealing – this food item actually sounds quite tasty. Well, if you’re a fan of curry that is. What can you expect from this meal? Essentially, it’s curried vegetables that have been baked in a cream sauce. It sounds like some kind of delicious casserole, and we’re here for it. It may not look like your traditional fast food meal, but that’s part of what makes it so interesting. What’s more, if you order your meal to be eaten in the restaurant, this dish will sometimes be served to you still in the pan. This is a definite bonus as it’s guaranteed to keep your meal warm the whole time you’re eating it, which is sure to boost your enjoyment of the dish. Additionally, this meal really loses something when it’s served in a takeout container instead of a pan – it’s right there in the name. Unsurprisingly, the McCurry Pan is a product of India. It’s still a McDonalds food item, so you can’t expect too much from it in the way of authenticity, but it’s safe to say that you can expect slightly more from this one than you can from the Italian food being served at a McDonalds in the Philippines.
4. Taro Pie
If you happen to stop by a McDonalds while in China, don’t reach for your usual McFlurry when it’s time for dessert. While it’s a bit unconventional to go to McDonalds for pie, this time, it’ll be totally worth it. Taro pie, which actually looks more like a turnover than a pie, is similar to apple pie in many ways. Except for the fact that its filling – which is purple, by the way – is not apples and cinnamon, but taro root. The word “root” might bring to mind vegetables like potatoes, carrots of beets, but try not to dwell on that too much. Don’t worry, this isn’t some ploy to sneak vegetables into dessert, like moms everywhere love to do. Sure, taro may be a root, but it packs a flavorful punch that’s quite similar to that of cooked apples. In fact, the jury’s still out, but taro pie might actually have bested apple pie. Which is an accomplishment to say the least, as the latter is a time-honored classic. It has the same light, flaky crust as the apple pie everyone knows and loves, and the recipe for the filling has been perfected. Essentially, it’s apple pie, but prettier. The purple filling makes it so much more aesthetically appealing. You don’t have to take our word for it. Give taro pie a try and see for yourself how it stands up to the classics. You just might find that you have a new favorite desert.
3. Mashed Potato Burger
We’ve hit the top three now, and if you didn’t think things could get any weirder…. well, you were very much mistaken. Here we have a burger that’s a product of Chinese McDonalds. If you ignore the mashed potatoes part, this is a burger like any other. There’s the sesame seed bun, two beef patties, lettuce and bacon. That’s just business as usual. But the scoop of mashed potatoes? Well, there’s thinking outside the box, and then there’s this. We get the classic steak and potatoes pairing that is a staple meal in many Western households, but this is not the form that combination was intended to be consumed in. To make matters worse, this burger was released as part of a (rather problematic) “Manly Man” campaign. This fits the “men as carnivores” stereotype, as this burger contains two beef patties and tons of bacon, but what exactly is it that makes mashed potatoes masculine? We don’t really know, but we’re sure there’s some underlying theme of sexism somewhere. While the concept of this burger can be mocked all day long, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Or, in this case, a burger by its ingredients. If culinary risks were never taken, the world would be a very boring place. While these risks sometimes result in massive failures, the times that they pan out make all those failed attempts worth it. Which category does the Mashed Potato Burger fall into? You’ll just have to try it to find out.
What a world we live in. This is yet another food item that feels extraordinarily out of place at McDonalds. Seriously, dropping “Mc” in front of any random food item isn’t enough to make it feel like a McDonalds product. There are plenty of fast food chains that specialize in noodles, and McD’s is not one of them. But apparently, that’s not stopping them, as, in Austria, the franchise has begun selling McNoodles, that is, a bowl of stir-fried veggies, meat and noodles. The meat of choice for these is chicken, and customers have the choice to season their meal with either sweet-and-sour sauce or curry. While McNoodles were only available for a limited time, they quickly became a favorite meal among many. Their popularity actually led McDonalds to add bubble tea to their menu as well, in an attempt to ride the ever-growing popularity of Asian food in Austria. Each bowl of noodles cost just less than seven dollars, which is a pretty reasonable price considering the amount of food you received with each serving. While it’s always better to try to hit up an authentic Asian restaurant to not only support smaller businesses, but also to enjoy a more traditional bowl of noodles, this McDonalds variation is a great option when you’re pressed for time. Being able to take your noodles to go is the perfect way to satisfy your cravings while also being able to keep up with your busy schedule.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most questionable items on the list. It’s not that it’s out of character for McDonalds to sell, it’s really just the entire concept of the dish that’s truly out there. If you’re going to put a sausage in a bun, you usually opt for a hotdog bun. And also, just one sausage at a time. McDonalds, however, laughs at these conventions, and raises you the McNurnburger. We’re not even really sure that we should be calling this a burger, because there’s not a patty to be seen. Is using a hamburger bun enough to secure burger status? McDonalds seems to think so. This so-called burger is a bit sparse in the ingredients department. It contains just three sausages (bratwursts, to be specific), which are topped with a mixture of mustard and onions. It seems like trying to eat this would make for a weird experience. The odds of losing a sausage along the way feel pretty high. With the country being renowned for its sausages, it’s not surprising that the McNurnburger is sold in Germany. Interestingly enough, this burger was the brainchild of Uli Hoenel, a former German soccer player. He’s actually the owner of a sausage factory, so he may have had an ulterior motive in creating this one. This burger doesn’t come very highly recommended. In fact, it’s not even being sold anymore. It underwent a trial run to gauge general interest and was ultimately removed from the menu after a mere three months. Therefore, unless something makes McDonalds decide to give this food item a second chance, odds are you won’t be able to purchase it anymore. Although, it would probably be pretty simple to DIY if you’re feeling up to it.