McDonald's has over 32,000 locations in 119 countries,
and part of its international success is due to clever attempts to appeal to
local customers by inventing food tailored to their tastes. From Paris to Delhi,
here's a list of the top ten McDonald's meals Americans are missing out on.
India: BigSpicy Paneer Wrap
This fast food take on
a common Indian street food is both spicy and vegetarian, making it a hit at the
271 McDonald's locations in India. Made with breaded paneer, a type of South
Asian cheese, the BigSpicy Paneer Wrap is one of many vegetarian McDonald's
innovations, which have been so successful that the chain plans
to open two all-vegetarian locations in India next year.
Japan: Ebi Filet-O
Part of McDonald's Japan President Eikoh Harada's push to
tailor food to Japanese taste, the Ebi Filet-O generated
sales of 10 million in the first three months after its launch in October
2005. Made with breaded shrimp, this Japanese
version of the classic Filet-O-Fish is modeled after the traditional
Japanese dish of shrimp tempura and costs around $5.70 in Tokyo.
is the McDonaldization of kofte, a type of Turkish kebab made with mint and
parsley. So authentic that even the bun is sprinkled with parsley, the
Kofteburger has been a hit with Turkish customers, and as one American visitor put it, "it's
good but it doesn't taste like a burger…it tastes very…Turkish."
Thailand: Samurai Pork Burger
The name says it all. Featuringa pork patty marinated in Teriyaki
sauce and smothered in peppers, the Samurai Pork burger is McDonald's attempt to
put a Thai twiston the classic Big
Mac, although the fast food giant may be a little off the geographical mark on
this one. As one customer asks,
"Why does it have a Japanese name when I'm in Thailand?"
Morocco: The McArabia
Priced at about $6.50, variations on the McArabia are
available in countries across the Middle East. But Moroccans, especially, seem to have taken to this
cumin-spiced flatbread beef sandwich. As one
the Global Post, "Honestly, it tastes
China: Prosperity Burger
A seasonal item only available
around the Chinese New Year, the Prosperity Burger is made with beef smothered
in black pepper sauce and onions. Customers in China and other East Asian
countries can also enjoy local delicacies like taro pie, a variation of the
classic apple version, as well as red bean sundaes.
France: Croque McDo
The country that immortalized the "Royale with Cheese" in
the classic film Pulp Fiction has
another local McDonald's creation to boast about. This take on the croque-monsieur,
the classic French open-faced ham and cheese sandwich, is popular with
Parisians and tourists alike. As one American visitor to France exclaimed
about the breakfast sandwich in her blog: "this was no American Happy Meal."
Poland: The WiesMac
This quarter-pound beef
patty, translated into English as the "Country Mac," is served with mustard
and horseradish sauce on a sesame bun. "Everytime I eat WiesMac…I want to die,"
says one Polish customer in an online discussion,
"But it is very tasty." Apparently, McDonald's guilt transcends differences of
language and culture.
versionof a McMuffin minus the
egg, this international McDonald's breakfast creation consists of refried
beans, cheese, and pico de gallo, or Mexican salsa, atop a muffin. The dish
takes its inspiration from molletes, a classic Mexican comfort food.
The Netherlands: McKroket
When McDonald's first moved to the Netherlands in the
seventies, they tried to tempt Dutch
customers with erwtensoep, or pea soup. Although that venture was unsuccessful,
has proven a much more profitable local item. A deep-fried patty of beef ragout
on a bun, the McKroket costs roughly $2.50 and is McDonald's take on the
traditional Dutch croquet.