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Fast Food Fridays: The Chicken McRib

4 Oct
Chicken McRib

I was halfway through my Chicken McRib when I realized I forgot to take a photo.

What, you’ve never heard of chicken ribs? They’re just like baby backs, but for when you’re watching portion sizes. In all seriousness, the Chicken McRib is the halal-ified answer to the regular McRib. Just like the pork version, the Chicken McRib is mechanically separated (chicken) meat formed into a rib-shaped patty and slathered with barbecue sauce. To be honest, it’s been so long since I’ve had a McRib (which is a regular menu item in Germany) that I don’t really remember what it tastes like, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out with the chicken. There’s also a double version, but you’re better off just ordering two sandwiches, as the pickle/onion-to-meat ratio is off on the double.

I’m not sure how the Chicken McRib is “awesome in more ways than one.” I guess it’s awesome that there’s a pork-free version of the cult favorite, but that’s only one kind of awesomeness. Anyway, if we’re talking about awesome chicken-based replacements, I think the shout-out should go to the chicken sausage they use in the McMuffins here. I actually prefer it to the pork version, which is not something I say very often (OK, ever).

Personally, my favorite seasonal McDonald’s item in KL is still the GCB (grilled chicken burger). Also, waffle fries, which are even better than the regular fries. What’s your favorite seasonal Mickie D’s? Tell me in the comments!

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Dr. Frank-N-Furter

29 Jul

My trip to the US entailed spending a lot of time at the Frankfurt airport — 6 hours on the way there, 8 hours on the way back. With a baby. There are, certainly, worse airports to while away the day — LAX comes to mind — but Frankfurt is no Changi. Or even Schipol (which, I hear, has excellent facilities for keeping your kids entertained). The biggest problem is that you have to go through passport control when exiting the terminal, so unless you’re willing to go through all the security, you’re kind of stuck. (I was actually game, but the nice man at the Lufthansa counter strongly advised against it, and I figured he knew what he was talking about.) On top of this, the Lufthansa lounge had no day passes, so I couldn’t even pay to get in. At least there were showers (though only Euros or USD are accepted, which is problematic when flying in from Malaysia.) And the free airport wifi only lasts 30 minutes!

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Eine Kleine McRibster

12 Mar

I can’t believe I was actually at a McDonalds in Austria (don’t judge me, it was a train station and the McDonalds was right there) and I didn’t eat this. Apparently it’s the winner of a burger contest called Mein Burger, proving yet again that everything sounds more ominous in German. (For example: the German for pork is “Schweinefleische,” which I can only say with the most ridiculous Frau Blücher accent, even in my head.) The sandwich is a deep-fried McRib topped with honey-mustard sauce, chili sauce, bacon, and cheese, sort of a wienerschnitzel on a bun. Between this and the fancy pastries at the McCafè — they’ve got “McCarons”! — it seems even more unfair that Austrians remain so svelte. Unfortunately, the McRibster is only on sale until the end of March, so I’ve missed my one chance. If there are any (Schweinefleische-eating) SOK readers visiting Austria, do try it out and let me know how awesome it was.

SOK’s Autumn Vacation, Part One: Pig Ears and Haute Dogs

5 Oct

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since my last post! Vacationing is hard work. And what did SOK do on summer autumn vacation? Why, eat New Things, of course.

Much of my time in Hawaii was spent fulfilling filial obligations like being my mom’s lunch date. (It’s a hard life.) My mom was keen on having xiao long bao, and has recently become hooked on the Yelp app, which is how we ended up having dim sum at a nearly empty Shanghainese restaurant at a strip mall in Kalihi. (Note for my non-Hawaii-resident readers: Kalihi is one of the quasi-industrial, non-gentrified parts of Honolulu. Let’s just say that this is the scene that Lost filmed in Kalihi, if you get my drift.) As I’ve written before, Shanghai dim sum is a bit different from the dim sum we’re familiar with in the US, so there were lots of unusual items on the menu, like . . .

Maybe you can't make a silk purse, but you can make a mean salad.

. . . Pigs’ ears. I’ve actually had pig ear before, but in fried form. Here, the ears are boiled until tender and then sliced thinly, making them much more recognizably ear-like.The results were actually pretty tasty, with that crunchy-chewy-jelly texture that seems to be prized in Chinese cuisine. (I have to admit, though, we ended up taking a good bit of this home, and it tasted a lot better doctored up with more herbs and lemon juice.)

In the spirit of the occasion, I also introduced my mom simultaneously to durian and bubble tea. I’m not sure how my mom had managed to live in a state with the largest Asian population in the US for over a decade and avoided bubble tea, but there you go.

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McProsperity

7 Feb

With the Superbowl yesterday (this morning, for me; and yes, I did get up at 8 AM to watch it), it seemed like an appropriate occasion to post about the Prosperity Burger that the McDonalds here has been promoting. So I called up McDelivery and got myself a Prosperity set for dinner. That’s right, McDonalds in Malaysia delivers, so you don’t even need to get in the car for the drive-through. The Prosperity Burger is a seasonal item, like the Shamrock Shake, and its annual appearance for Chinese New Year is much anticipated. Unfortunately, like the Shamrock Shake, the real thing is underwhelming.

A most auspicious Value Meal

I got the chicken version, hoping it would be like the short-lived GCB (grilled, marinated boneless chicken thigh — why couldn’t you bring that back, Mickey D’s?) but it turned out to be chicken patties, like turkey burgers. This was actually less objectionable than one might think, when slathered with the much-hyped black pepper sauce, which tasted like brown gravy that someone dumped half a jar of pepper into. Next time I might try A&W’s version, which is supposed to have mushrooms. (Malaysia is like the Branson of languishing fast food franchises: in addition to A&W, Kenny Roger’s Roasters and Tony Roma’s enjoy a popularity here unimagined in their home country.)

The set came with “twister” fries, which are curly fries by another name, and a Prosperity McFizz, which was basically Orangina. The McFizz was the highlight of the meal: refreshing and not too sweet.

Don’t worry…I had a salad, too. But that didn’t come by McDelivery.

A Cheeseburger in Paradise

12 Jan

My mom took me out to lunch today at The Counter, a burger chain out of California that’s famous for offering a seemingly limitless array of toppings (and made Oprah’s list of favorite burgers). I ate at the Chicago location during my Month of Burgers, although I didn’t get around to writing a post about it.

My mom had been wanting to try the place for a while, and given the dearth of satisfyingly juicy hamburgers in Malaysia, I had a bit of a craving myself. Luckily, The Counter did not disappoint.

The "Counter Burger"

I don’t know if The Counter subscribes to any sort of locavore policy, but I noticed a few key differences on the menu at the Honolulu location. For example, you can get kim chee on your burger. (Which actually sounds pretty tasty. I might have to go back just to try it.) Or you can get a loco moco. And, in addition to the low-carb option of having your burger on salad greens, they offer the high-carb option of having it on a bowl of rice.

Plus, they have Wailana Soda!

Waialua pineapple soda

Waialua Soda is a local (meaning Hawaiian) gourmet soda company based in Waialua, which used to be home to the sugar cane industry on Oahu. Naturally, their sodas only use natural sugar; no high fructose corn syrup here.

A five-dollar milkshake

Naturally, a fancy burger joint from L.A. (fine, Santa Monica) would have to have a five-dollar milkshake (warning: link contains “mature language,” so you may want to avoid clicking on this at work, or in front of your kids). (Also, can you believe it’s been almost 20 years since Pulp Fiction came out? I bet most of the people working at The Counter don’t even get that joke.) It’s a good milkshake, but a little too rich and sweet; I couldn’t finish it.

Anyway, thank you, The Counter, for satisfying my half-year-long burger itch. I only wish your fries were better, but I think the sweet potato fries make up for it. I’ll be back for your kim chee burger.

 

Time to Eat the Doughnuts

9 Nov

J. Co is Indonesia’s answer to DuDo’s, offering delicious doughnuts and coffee with a uniquely Southeast Asian twist, which apparently means flavoring lots of things with avocado. (I actually don’t know if their coffee is any good, but I do know they have a avocado latte.)

Clockwise, from top left: Avocado DiCaprio, Kaya, Cheese Me Up, Mango Blitz, Miss Green T, Oreo

I got an assortment of the most intriguing flavors, including — yes — a cheese doughnut. (They also had cheese with chicken sausage, but there are some lines I just won’t cross.) First, a word about the doughnut “base” itself. I’m not usually a fan of store-bought doughnuts, because unless you’re lucky enough to be there at the moment they’re fried, they tend to be kind of soggy and greasy, and I really don’t like the hard frosting. Not with J. Co. I don’t think they’re fried at all, and they’re very light and fluffy, sort of like Krispy Kremes without all that glaze. The frosting had an appealingly soft texture, kind of like fresh royal icing.

Bafflingly, J. Co claims that their products are healthy. You know, antioxidants in the avocado frosting, and all that. And the cheese is from New Zealand, so it must be good for you! Here’s a play-by-play on these delicious, “nutritious” treats.

Avocado DiCaprio: Despite the violently green color of the frosting, it doesn’t taste much of avocado…until you get to the creamy center. If you’re the kind of weirdo who orders avocado bubble tea, or has made chocolate avocado frosting for a raw diet, you know that avocado and sweet is actually a pretty good combo.

Kaya: Kaya is a traditional Malaysian coconut spread, made by cooking coconut, sugar, and eggs into a kind of curd. The yellow blob in the middle of this doughnut tasted like coconut, but not much like kaya. Not what I expected.

Cheese Me Up: Yes, it really does taste like cheese. Processed cheese, to be exact. Like if you turned that “Gouda-flavored cheese food spread” into a goopy glaze. Not unpleasant, but not compelling enough to merit a second order. Maybe if it had chicken sausage on it?

Mango Blitz: Delicious! Light mango glaze with a whipped cream filling. The best part is that the glaze really tastes like mango, not mango jam or, as it usually is with fruit doughnuts, sugar.

Miss Green T: My favorite, if only because it’s green-tea-flavored. Surprisingly intense green tea flavor in the frosting. I wonder if the slimming properties of green tea outweigh the effects of eating doughnuts?

Oreo: It’s a doughnut covered in frosting with dark chocolate cookie crumbles. Not exactly a challenging flavor, but the crunch factor is good.

So the next time you’re swinging through Jakarta, KL, or Singapore, don’t forget to grab a dozen or so for the office. I’m sure people would love the cheese flavor.