I sometimes wonder whether people visiting the US get the same comforting feel from the sight of the Golden Arches. It’s a sign that, no matter how alien the local food, customs, and language may be, there’s at least one place where you can go in and walk up to a counter and know that you can get pretty much the same food anywhere in the world.
There are, of course, regional menu differences, and I was expecting to find something really weird at a Chinese McDonalds that I could get a blog post or two out of.
I came up a little short, if I’m honest. China doesn’t really have anything especially bizarre on the menu.
That being said, they WERE marketing the heck out of a spicy chicken sandwich called the “Sahara Grill Chicken Burger”, and I decided that I would brace myself and give it a try.
I do appreciate the way take-out is packaged in China, especially the little bag they give you so you can carry your drink comfortably and without getting your hand wet from condensation. I’m less fond of their tendency to give you a single ketchup packet. While a medium fries in China may be smaller than you’d expect in the US, it’s still a two-ketchup-packet affair.
The Sahara Grill Chicken Burger, once unwrapped, was surprisingly decent-looking. The bun had a sort of odd orange tint to it, not the sort of color I normally expect to see in a bread product, but one I’ll forgive.
Besides that, it had, well, some chicken, some lettuce, a couple of tomato slices, some vaguely smoky orange sauce which I’m going to assume was meant to be barbeque sauce…
…and a thick layer of chili paste. It looked rather like someone had spread a quarter inch thickness of refried beans across the bottom bun, but it definitely did not taste like refried beans. I’m not convinced that the sandwich really deserved all of the flames and chili peppers on the advertisements, but I was sweating from the first bite and it did leave me with burning lips for a couple of minutes afterwards.
I’m not a terrific connoisseur of things spicy and hot, so I’m not the best person to judge, but I liked it more than your typical “let’s throw some jalapeños on there” American spicy fast food. Thumbs up to McDonalds China.