Travel Tales

My McDonald’s Mission

I know this is going to sound weird, with all the amazing local cuisines you encounter while traveling, but I like to visit McDonald’s in foreign countries. It started with a trip to Greece when I was 13. My picky-eating, un-cultured self chose to go to a McDonalds for some comfort food and was shocked to learn that their menu is different in different countries.

Ever since then, I’ve made it a point to try to check out the McDonald’s in different countries, whether I actually ate there or not. My new mission is to actually try the local items on the menu in every country I visit, like them or not, and then share the experiences with you!

I’ll update as I go (when I can) but here’s the start:

I had zero idea what I had ordered and what I would be biting into. I literally just now figured out what it was when I googled it to provide details for this article. I walked into a McDonald’s near Shinjuku station, pointed at the picture and held up one finger. Apparently I ate Fried Mushroom Risotto Balls, which sounds entirely un-Japanese, but the mushrooms inside are definitely a Japanese blend. Oh and they’re delicious! Crispy fried goodness on the outside, nice rice layer, and creamy, gravy-like mushroom mix at the center. At the time we had guessed that they were rice balls with some kind of pork gravy inside (which sounds more Japanese than risotto ball) but either way they were good.

One interesting thing about the McDonald’s in Tokyo is that most of them are several floors tall, with seating areas above the ordering area, due to the constraints of city real estate. I’ve seen this in urban McD’s before, but it seemed to apply to all the ones I found in Japan.

I knew what I was ordering here, and had a double motivation for wanting to go to McDonald’s in Manila. I was recovering from a nasty case of food poisoning acquired while island hopping, and while McDonald’s may not be healthy, it’s always been bacteria free in my experience. I went with the Chicken McDo, which is just fried chicken (Filipinos love their fried chicken) along with Spaghetti. I have no clue where the spaghetti thing comes from, but every other table in the place had ordered it, so that’s what I got! It was no KFC, but it held its own as fried chicken. The spaghetti was actually shockingly good, with a slightly sweet tomato sauce which I love. But the two did not go together at all! This is a combo I don’t understand.

Interesting fact about McDonald’s in Manila- they deliver! If I lived in a city with traffic as bad as Manila’s, I would never want to leave the house. But it does make me wonder if the food ever manages to arrive hot, or even warm!

Stay tuned for McDonald’s in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Italy and more!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen on a McDonald’s menu? Share below!


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