Food is pretty great, right? I know it’s lunch time and I might be overly preoccupied, but one of my favorite things about traveling – to new countries, states, cities, or even neighborhoods – has always been sampling the cuisine. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about food from our resident gourmand, theoverworkedamerican (Kelly), but this is just a quick tidbit.
There is so much flavor, culture, community, and satisfaction to be gained from local gastronomic delights, and having been blessed with a wide and forgiving appetite, I usually make it my mission to try everything in a new destination. This has led to discovering new favorite dishes, surprising winners, and the occasional at-least-I-know-never-to-try-that-again. But even with all of these great unique dishes out there, my must-see destination in every country is still…McDonald’s.
But Leslie, isn’t that where ugly American tourists go when the local food is too French, too Chinese, or too much? Next are you going to recommend the Eiffel Tower as an off-the-beaten-track spot?
Alas, I promise that McDonald’s is a worthy travel experience. The menu is different in many countries, there is often entertaining decor in the restaurants, and the people-watching is always top-notch. So while I always spend a few days exploring indigenous menu offerings, I also make a point to stop in McDonald’s before I leave. I even chose McDonald’s for my birthday dinner while in India earlier this year. For those of you planning trips soon, or interested in a virtual lunch tour, here are some observations from the wide, wide McWorld:
- Indian McDonald’s is by far the best. You almost wonder why they need beef at all. The Chicken Maharaja Mac with tandoori spices blows the Big Mac away, and the McAloo Burger (seasoned potato patty fried in batter) is delicious.
- Fries are best in Asia. I think it’s something in the oil.
- Beef burgers are best in continental Europe.
- England’s McDonald’s are not good. Sorry England, I love you, but this is just not one of your strong suits. The condiments (mayonnaise, special sauce) are quite good, but you need plenty of them to put on the soggy fries and overcooked burgers.
- Growing up in California, I thought the McRib was something they made up on tv because our McDonald’s didn’t offer them. Having sampled it later in life, I’m glad it wasn’t just a myth.