McWhat?—Lovin’ It around the World

McWhat?—Lovin’ It around the World
McDonald's burgers.

McDonald’s offers a variety of burgers.

What food could be more quintessentially American in our country’s vast melting pot than a burger and fries from a fast food drive-thru window? The Golden Arches® of McDonald’s, found all around the globe, are a symbol of international capitalism and of an ever-spreading, never-sleeping US culture.

But if you’re looking for a reprieve from adventurous eating when traveling abroad, McDonald’s is not necessarily it. McDonald’s restaurants across the world have tweaked Mickey D’s—or MaccyD’s—cuisine to fit their local customers’ taste buds and lifestyles. From the vegetarian McAloo Tikki burger in India to the kosher Mac Royal in Israel, this familiar franchise offers plenty of surprises overseas. Rather than always being a relief from an alien palate, the sight of “M” is instead an opportunity to explore American influence around the world. It’s a unique bonus you can’t neglect on your international getaway.

aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/country/map.html

—Alicia Shumway

Mexico

At McDonald’s in Mexico, you can swap fried-breakfast guilt for satisfying McMolletes. Originating in Spain and now considered typical Mexican food, McMolletes are three open English muffins topped with a spread of refried beans, a cheese slice, and a little salsa. Instead of inventing anything new, McDonald’s in Mexico offers the real thing for your morning meal. Get a taste of the work of generations.

mcdonalds.com.mx

Sweden

Chilly patrons of Swedish ski resort Lindvallen can grab a warm bite to go at the world’s only McSki-thru. McDonald’s drive-thrus have been a staple since the creation of their first in 1975. The McSki-thru’s structure, which can accommodate 140 indoor guests for thawing, claimed its territory just 100 yards from Lindvallen’s main ski lift in December 1996. So ski down to Sweden’s twist on fast food for a cheaper alternative to pricey resort dining.

mcdonalds.com/us/en/our_story/our_history.html

Israel

No pork products, correct preparation of acceptable meats, and strict separation of dairy and meat: this is kosher. At more than 40 of the approximately 170 McDonald’s branches in Israel, the restaurant’s main item, the Mac Royal, is not your standard cheeseburger. This kosher sandwich includes a charcoal-grilled patty, veggies, and a sauce—sans cheese—in a regular bun. The menu also offers an Israeli chopped salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. Get your kosher eats on a weekday, though, because during Shabbat—the Jewish Sabbath on Friday and Saturday—everything operates on limited hours.

mcdonalds.co.il

India

A McDonald’s menu that doesn’t include beef can come as a big surprise for many Americans. Chicken sandwiches and vegetarian items dominate the necessarily innovative burger joint in this primarily Hindu country. The McAloo Tikki burger, made especially for Indian McDonald’s branches, sports a potato and pea patty topped with some veggies and tomato mayo. Even breakfast is vegetarian: a spinach and corn patty, veggies, and mint mayonnaise make the Veg Supreme McMuffin. There’s some fusion cuisine you can’t pass up.

mcdonaldsindia.net

Hong Kong

This sophisticated city was the first to add McDonald’s wedding packages to their menu in January of 2011. The cost of these packages ranges from a minimum charge of HK$2,888 to HK$9,999 (the equivalent of about US$370 to US$1,290). These expenses are measly when compared to the bill for a traditionally extravagant Chinese wedding celebration. A wedding cake display of stacked Baked Apple Pie boxes is listed on the à la carte menu, and a wedding gown made of red or white balloons is available for rent or purchase. These services, instigated by popular demand, may reflect a shift in Hong Kong’s mentality during a time of economic recovery. Order a wedding with your burger, and see a modern cultural trend in action.

mcdonalds.com.hk

 

Photo credits:

Wikimedia Commons

15 Comments

  1. I was kind of cynical going into this article. Because really? McDonald’s expanding empire? When the article turned out to be about how McDonald’s menu varies from country to country, though, it got a lot more interesting to me. I still don’t know how I feel about McDonald’s being the flagship of American culture, but I like a slightly culturally adjusted McDonald’s better than just McDonald’s.

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  2. Seeing how one fast food place differs from country to country is fascinating. And marriage packages from McDonald’s in Hong Kong? It’s amazing how different countries view the social status of this fast food chain.

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  3. I thought this was a very fun article! After a long trip abroad one summer, my family and I were admittedly thrilled to come across a McDonalds and enjoy some comfort food. The variations in the menu were interesting and they weren’t nearly as different as these ones! I have already researched more differences because of reading this.

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  4. McDonald’s does wedding catering? Really? That’s crazy!
    Maybe I’ll do that for my wedding. I do love their crispy chicken nuggets.
    To be totally honest, I’m the portly girl who LOVES this article. Whenever my family visits a new country, we love hitting up the McDonald’s (much to our parents’ chagrin). The McDonald’s in France was terrible. But the McDonald’s in Ukraine is delicious. It’s considered HIGH class over there, so the food is super delicious.

    Well, I think I might be headed over to McDonald’s tonight for dinner.

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  5. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. Ill bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

    Reply
  6. Kristin – it’s interesting that McDonald’s can be either good or bad, low-class or high-class, or well-kept or dumpy depending on the country. In Argentina it is considered high class and can cost a lot of money.

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  7. It’s always fun to compare McDs in different countries. I think I like them a lot better NOT in America!

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  8. When I was in France, I was surprised by how different the menu was there! Everything on their menu was almost healthy, and the interior of the restaurant was so modern and classy. It was very different from what I’d come to expect from a McDs.

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  9. Who knew McDonald’s varied so much from country to country?! I think that’s fabulous that the company respects the traditions, customs, and restrictions other cultures follow. Now I want to travel the world just to experience the different McDonalds out there. Some of those options mentioned sounded delicious! Thanks for this, and great writing.

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  10. In France, McDonald’s is actually way classier than in America. I agree with Kelsey; I prefer Mickey D’s across the pond!

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  11. I have eaten at McDonald’s in Israel, and it is not that good. A cheeseburger with no cheese is not that good, and all the patties are super dry because they are prepared the kosher way. They also have sandwiches named after cities in the U.S. For example, the Big New York and the Big Miami and the Big Texas.

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  12. To be completely honest, McDonald’s is my favorite fast food (potentially just any food) ever! I’ve never really traveled anywhere (yet) but I love the idea of hitting up a McDonald’s when I finally do! I also love the wedding package in Hong Kong. That would be hilarious and delicious.

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  13. You missed one, the rice meals of the Philippines. That is the ritzy place to eat there a lot of the time. A burger without a bun with rice is the best way to go for those interesting and often more expensive not-quite tastes of home.

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  14. To be honest, I’ve never like McDonald’s much. I don’t like their food, the corporation itself bothers me, and it’s disheartening to see them all over the world. But it is interesting to see how the menus are different in each country. And everytime I do leave the country, I admit I always visit a restaurant like Subway or Burger King to see how the food differs from how its made in the U.S.

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  15. Purely from a business point of view, it must be hard to keep track of so many menus. The company is responsible for updating menus, giving accurate calorie information, providing training on how to cook these foods, etc. McDonald’s must be very efficient and organized to manage so many restaurants in so many countries

    Reply

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