Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Look what I found at McDonald's

Back when I was in seventh grade at Colton Junior High School my last class (that was seventh period; fourth period was lunch) was world history and geography taught by Scott Klemm. Mr. Klemm was a young teacher who had no children yet, so he and his wife spent lots of time during the long summer break traveling to foreign countries. I was only 12 and I had only been out of California twice to visit family in Oklahoma. Then we also took a few trips across the border into Tijuana but that was a few years earlier when the family lived in San Diego (and I think we may have gone there once when we lived in Oceanside). But Mr. Klemm had been all over Europe and other places.

We always thought about food and Mr. Klemm said after two weeks in Europe he looked forward to eating American food again. Back in the late 1960s fast food had not yet gone international. So when he was in London he went to a restaurant called Wimpy Burger (named for the character in the Popeye cartoons and comic strip). He said the preparation was different and so was the manner it was served. 

So over the years many of our fast food chains in America started sending out restaurants abroad. People who like to complain commented that McDonald's would ruin the world by causing everyone to eat the same unhealthy fare. Maybe that's true to some extent. But the other thing people said that this would cause was a "sameness" of culture. Everyone would claim the hamburger is their national food and Coca-Cola is their national drink. Even before that time, Coke was already in every corner of the world, save for behind the Iron Curtain, other Communist countries, and a few isolated places that didn't want anything from outside its boundaries. 

Not everyone is the same and I have some examples showing you things you can get at McDonald's all around the world.

1. Hot Dog (Japan) This is a breakfast item there. So you won't find it after 10:30 or whenever their cutoff time is between the two menus.

2. Poutine (Canada) Curds with gravy. You can get these anywhere in Canada. I never heard of them until I started doing a study on McDonald's around the world a couple of years ago.

3. Burger McDo (Philippines) Not only the menus vary but also the nickname we give the place. We Americans say "Mickey D's." But in the Philippines, they call it "McDo." And the "Do" has the same pronunciation as the first syllable of Donald. So it's "mick-DAW," only the second syllable isn't stressed out. Anyway, you don't find regular hamburgers on the Filipino McDo menu. Instead, you see the Burger McDo which is a hamburger patty (all beef) on a soft bun (different than the regular burger) and some kind of secret sauce which I remember as being reminiscent of Jack in the Box secret sauce (do they still use that?) I made the comment when I was living in Mindanao that I didn't see a regular hamburger on the menu. One manager told me it's there. You just order a cheeseburger without cheese. Next, I'll teach you how to get a grilled cheese sandwich at any hamburger stand.

4. Onion Rings (Malta) I am not much of a French fry eater. I will eat them but I would much rather have onion rings. Malta isn't the only country with onion rings. But it's the one country that has discussed removing French fries from the menu.

5. Deluxe Double McPork (Vietnam) McDonald's has a pork version of every hamburger served. I lived in Vietnam between 2006 and 2008 but McDonald's didn't get there until February 14, 2014. Next Saturday will be their first anniversary.

6. Big Mac (Israel) Yeah, I know you can get a Big Mac anywhere. But look at this hamburger very quickly. If you know the rules about Kosher eating you know that meat and dairy products are never served together. The Israeli Big Mac has no cheese. 

7. Chicken McDo & McSpaghetti (Philippines)  More from the Philippines. You can actually buy a whole bucket of Chicken McDo, which is fried chicken, complete with the bones. McSpaghetti is a Filipino favorite. The sauce is not spicy but sweet. It has pieces of ground beef in it and sliced up hot dogs (or "hotdogs" as it's usually written in the Philippines). Don't expect to find spaghetti on the McDonald's menu in Italy. It's not there.

8. Chicken Maharaja Mac (India) One of the things those critics I mentioned at the beginning of this post said was that the popularity of McDonald's would get the Hindus in India to start eating beef. No. There is no beef on the menus there. In fact some are completely vegetarian. The Chicken Maharaja Mac is the chickenized version of a Big Mac. 

9. Bacon Roll (United Kingdom) This is a breakfast item that the Brits have been eating for over a century. It's a long roll with bacon and ketchup. Very simple but it looks great. (I am a bacon lover.)

10. Twister Fries (Indonesia) As I said I'm not much of a French fry eater but curly fries usually have a lot more flavor. This is a new item at McDonald's in Indonesia. I think you'll find them in other countries, too.

11. Double Filet-O-Fish (Singapore) Actually you can buy two fish sandwiches and put the cakes of fish together. But it's so nice when they put it on the sandwich for you. 

12. Georgie Pie (New Zealand) This is a meat pie New Zealanders have been eating for generations. Unlike the American pot pie, it's finger food. The local nickname for McDonald's is Macca's.

13. Salad Sandwich (Fiji) It's a typical tossed salad with dressing on a sesame seed bun. All the McDonald's in Fiji are certified Halal.

14. McArabia (Saudi Arabia) It's a chicken sandwich with lettuce, onion, and tomato, condiments inside some soft Arabic bread. This is actually found throughout the Middle East.

15. Fish McBites (Spain) Breaded fish balls. I guess they're something like a fish version of Chicken McNuggets. Incidentally, when I lived in Indonesia (mid 1990s) McDonald's served fried chicken because Indonesians at that time were not generally accustomed to frozen food. So they had fried chicken. It was not unusual to have chicken coops in restaurants. A KFC outlet near where my family lived in Bogor, West Java, had a chicken coop in the dining area.

16. Double Big Mac (Thailand) I first saw this sandwich in Japan and later they had what they called a Mega Mac, which had four patties. That's a little overkill, if you ask me (but if I were to go back to Japan, I would definitely get one if I happened to be at McDonald's).  Please forgive the variance of sizes on these pictures, my Photoshop program is on the fritz at the present time. They come from lots of sources.

17. Grand Big Mac (Italy) This makes Double Big Mac look small. It's two Quarter Pounder patties on bigger buns. (As I said, I'm sorry the pictures aren't all the same scale.)

18. Mega McMuffin (South Africa) It's not a bigger English muffin... they put more meat on it... It has two pork sausage patties, a slice of ham, a slice of cheese, a fried egg, and some bacon slices. 

19. McOz (Australia) For those 45 years ago who thought McDonald's would turn the world American, Australia would prove them wrong. This hamburger is an Aussie creation. It has something most people in this part of the world might find revolting: A slice of beet (they call it beetroot). Like the folks in New Zealand, McDonald's in Australia is called Macca's.

20. Angus Premium Bacon Burger (Argentina) While we in America (which includes all the territories) lost our Angus Burger most of the world that had it before kept it (including Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, and lots of other countries). Argentina (where NOT eating meat is a crime) put another big Angus beef patty on their burger. 

The book you saw at the top of this posting is from the early 1960s, about an American boy who has a young friend from Germany visit him and the story explains their dining experience at the local hamburger stand. As you see the last picture here, they didn't have dining rooms then. Nope, MickeyD's wouldn't get those until I was a sophomore in high school. I remember the first one in our area to have one was on Mill Street, across from the National Orange Show fairgrounds in San Bernardino. Colton wouldn't get a McDonald's until after I finished high school. Funny thing, BOTH of those hamburger stands are gone now. 

As far as my list, some of you are probably wondering why I didn't include drinks. I mean everyone always gets intrigued by the idea that McDonald's in Germany sells beer and McDonald's in Argentina sells wine. But Europe is changing. My friends in Germany tell me that many of the McDonald's there have stopped selling wine because they got tired of drunk customers (something people from outside of Germany have trouble fathoming). 

Anyway, I'll post most stuff like this. If you like it. Let me know.

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