Here’s your chance to travel the world without leaving your local drive-thru. On Wednesday, June 5, McDonald’s is introducing a new Worldwide Favorites menu of popular items sold in distant McDonald's around the globe.
The foreign selections are:
Stroopwafel McFlurry (The Netherlands). This is your basic McFlurry with a caramel swirl and broken pieces of Stroopwafel caramel-flavored cookies.
Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger (Spain). A Quarter-Pounder topped with Applewood-smoked bacon, McBacon sauce, Gouda cheese, and slivered onions on a toasted sesame seed bun.
Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich (Canada). A grilled or crispy (breaded and deep-fried) white meat chicken patty, topped with tomato and herb sauce, creamy mozzarella cheese, slivered onions, lettuce, and Roma tomatoes on a toasted artisan bun.
Cheesy Bacon Fries (Australia). Back by popular demand. I never knew they started Down Under. McDonald’s “World Famous Fries” topped with real Cheddar cheese and crispy bacon pieces. Not low-calorie or low-anything.
As your intrepid fast food test crash dummy, I answered my front door at 5:50 am on Monday, June 3 (what am I, a farmer?) to receive fresh-off-the-grill samples of the Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger and Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich. My pre-dawn review: The Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger will be a hit. Extreme is a very enticing word. (My favorite Blizzard at Dairy Queen is the Chocolate X-treme.)
The best thing about McDonald’s foreign menu? President Trump hasn’t slapped a tariff on these burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, and McFlurry yet. But it’s only June 3 ... give it time.
Here’s the attention-getting gimmick: from 2-5 pm Thursday, June 6 – and June 6 only – you can buy one of these items for any foreign coin you have lying around the house. For example, a 2 zloty coin from Poland (worth 50 cents) will get you a Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger. A 5,000 dong coin from Vietnam (21 cents) will be good for a Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich. Swap a 10 shilling coin from Kenya (99 cents) for Cheesy Bacon Fries. A Canadian nickel (5 cents) is worth one Stroopwafel McFlurry.
Any foreign coin can be traded for any of the Worldwide Favorites. Please, just one item per customer. You won’t be allowed to throw a handful of Chinese yuan on the counter and fill up a cooler. Heck, I’ve got a feeling that McDonald’s will take a loose button. The idea is to get customers to try the new products. Just don’t leave any thread hanging off the button. That’ll clog up the coin counting machine.
(Not to get too far off topic, have you tried those coin exchange machines in the supermarket? Every few months, I empty the change in my car ashtray into one of those coin guzzlers. They charge about 12 percent to take your coins in exchange for a voucher to use for groceries. That’s indoor highway robbery. Back-alley loan sharks are embarrassed by these machines.)
McDonald’s is in 120 countries, so settling on these four items took some market research. Some choices were easy. No way Americans would go for the Taro Pie sold in China. That’s a deep-fried pie stuffed with purple taro root. Most other McDonald's items would work here, though. I’ve tried the McItaly Burger in Italy and the McArabia Grilled Chicken Sandwich in Dubai. Neither was too far a reach, and both were perfectly fine. There’s a McDonald’s down the street from the Spanish Steps in Rome that makes a four-star Houston joint look like a greasy spoon.
Here’s hoping that McDonald’s makes Worldwide Favorites a permanent fixture. They could rotate different items from different countries in different U.S. markets. Because I have a two long-distance requests (thank you, Casey Kasem):
The Mashed Potato Burger (China). Just as it sounds, a beef patty with a thick layer of mashed potatoes on top. Like hash browns aren’t the perfect topping on a Sausage McMuffin? Like I haven’t made Thanksgiving leftover turkey and mashed potato sandwiches all my life.
McNurnburger (Germany). This is three brats with mustard and onions on bun. I bought a bratwurst sandwich from a booth at Oktoberfest in Munich. It’s their carny food, and one of the most incredible things I’ve ever eaten. So incredible, even Americanizing it in a drive-through couldn’t hurt it.