The quintessential American fast-food chain is about to introduce some international flavors. Business Insider obtained internal documents indicating that McDonald’s is preparing to bring special menu items from its restaurants in other countries to the United States. Diners will get to try the Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger from Spain, the Stroopwafel McFlurry from the Netherlands, the tomato-mozzarella chicken sandwich from Canada and the cheesy bacon fries from Australia. When asked for comment by BI, the brand responded “Geen commentaar,” or “No comment,” in Dutch.
The new menu offerings are a taste of global flavors, but filtered through an American fast-food lens, they’re like a distortion in a funhouse mirror. The Grand McExtreme — which, let’s be honest, is an amazing name for a sandwich — is a “a fresh-beef Quarter Pounder topped with McBacon sauce, bacon, Gouda cheese, and slivered onions.” A Stroopwafel McFlurry is mixed with chunks of the popular Dutch caramel waffle cookie and caramel sauce. Though it seems more Italian, the Canadian tomato-mozzarella chicken sandwich has onions, lettuce, tomato, mozzarella and a tomato-and-herb sauce, shown on a piece of fried chicken — just like a chicken Parmesan sandwich, with the potentially unwelcome addition of lettuce and onion. And the cheesy bacon fries are pretty self explanatory. In fact, McDonald’s has already been testing them nationwide.
McDonald’s menus in other countries have long been a source of fascination for American fast-food fans. Partly out of jealousy — hey, why can’t we have that? — and partly because of what the menu items tell us about America, foreign taste preferences, globalism and how the world views American food culture. What does it mean, for example, that you can get fried wedges of brie at McDonald’s in Russia, and McSpaghetti in the Philippines? Or that Chilean McDonald’s locations sell a “McPollo Italiano,” with chicken, mayonnaise, tomato and decidedly non-Italian guacamole? (The sandwich is the color of the Italian flag, so that counts for something.) What were they thinking when the company introduced the German-Mexican mash-up “Los Beefos” (another great name), a side order of deep-fried meatballs dipped in salsa, in Germany? What is the meaning of a McCountry, a sausage sandwich served with a side of fried shrimp, in the Czech Republic? That one is a real head-scratcher.
There are endless permutations of foreign McDonald’s menu items. In France, menus have featured a sandwich of ham, cheese and hash browns on a baguette. You can get fried paneer wraps in India, fried salmon wraps in Norway, McKebab in Israel, and fries flavored with mayonnaise and seasoned cod roe in Japan. Wouldn’t the British and Australian Cadbury egg McFlurry do well in the United States, where the Easter candy is also popular? Doesn’t the Chicken Maharaja Mac, from India, look tasty?
Anyway, here’s hoping that McDonald’s will consider rotating other global treats through its American restaurants, like a janky Epcot. The company has already tested some international offerings in select locations. The new menu items should be available this summer.
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