Surprisingly (to us Americans, maybe), McDonalds all over the world has different menus to cater themselves to the locals. Even in Hawaii, you'll find things like ramen, Portuguese Sausage / Eggs / Rice Plates, and taro pies. Japanese McDonalds, of course has it's own quirks, not to mention special choices on the menu.
Besides the food, Japanese McDonalds has some other differences as well. Ronald McDonald has a different name: Donald (ドナルド). McDonalds Restaurants are generally a lot cleaner, staff seems to be a little friendlier, and everything is a little more upscale (at least as upscale as McDonalds can be). The drinks and fries are considerably smaller, though the hamburgers are only a little smaller. They have most of the staple McDonald choices on the menu, but I went through and found all the ones you might not see in your country of origin. Let's start with breakfast!
Breakfast Menu (朝マック)
Feel free to click on the image above to get a closer view, but we'll be getting into more detail on some of these below. I've provided a literal translation to all of them, written right above each picture. A few things strike me as a little odd, though. Why is the Chicken Caesar Wrap and the Fillet-o Fish on the breakfast menu? Japanese love eating weird things (at least by our standards) for breakfast. So if you study abroad, be prepared to eat a lot of lunchy-dinnery things in the morning!
Bacon Lettuce Egg Wrap
This sounds ridiculously good. I thought I loved Sausage and Egg McMuffins, but now I have something new to look forward to. Thank goodness Japan's time difference might help me wake up early enough to grab one of these, while I'm still in jet lag mode.
The Mega Muffin
I'm not sure if you've ever heard about the MegaMac (keep reading), but this is it's monstrous morning brother, the Mega Muffin. From the looks of it, the Mega Muffin consists of two sausage patties, a slice of cheese, an egg, some bacon, and some ketchup. Seriously? Well, I suppose it won't stop me from trying one the first chance I get.
Chicken Caesar Wrap
This menu item isn't strange all on it's own. The thing that's strange is that it's found on the morning menu. Though, I gotta say, I probably wouldn't mind. This is a good segue to…
The Lunch / Dinner Menu
Not a whole lot that's terribly interesting here. You'll notice that many of these items are found on your local McDonalds menu. Here's the things that are probably unique:
If you live in Hawaii, you may be one of the lucky Americans to come across one of these…uh…things? Just double the amount of meat you would normally find in a Big Mac, close your eyes, tap your ruby shoes together, and you'll get one of these. When I tried it, I could barely fit it in my mouth, that's how ridiculous it is. Why Japan would have a hamburger bigger than any of its counterparts in America is beyond me. I suppose it makes up for the generally smaller portions everywhere else.
Shrimp Thousand-Island Wrap
Normally I am a big fan of some Thousand Island salad dressing… but that's usually just on my salad. I can't wrap my mind around this one, though I love the shrimp (sounds like a perfect wrap). This is very similar to their Shrimp Burger, which we'll take a look at right now.
If you've never had a shrimp burger, do so as soon as you can. It is (unsurprisingly) one of the best fast-food burgers you'll ever have. The Japanese Ebi Fillet might even rival an In-n-Out burger, though that might be pushing things a little bit.
One of my favorite aspects of Japan is the constant easy access to one of my favorite foods: Croquettes (コロッケ). If you can put them in a hamburger, then more power to ya, I say. Though, I would probably just take them out from the bun and eat them separately. But then again I'm not twelve years old.
Erin says these exist from time to time in the US, so I won't talk about them too much. I thought that maybe it was due to the ban of beef imports from a couple years back, but maybe it's just a plain old normal hamburger :(
I'm a sucker when it comes to Teriyaki Burgers, and this is no exception. My mouth is watering.
Shaka Shaka Chicken
These are like little fried chickens in a bag. Then, you get this seasoning mix that you pour into the bag, seal, and shake. Now, all of a sudden you have some seasoned chicken, the McDonalds employees didn't have to do the seasoning part for you, and now everyone's happy! Here's a video of someone doing it.
Bacon Potato Pie
I'm not too keen on sweet deserts. I've always been one for eating salty things after eating salty foods, you know, to clear the pallet. This piece of work seems to fall within that category, and sounds wonderful. Screw you Apple Pie. Bacon Potato pie is in town.
Now, we've only gone over the different food options there were. There's also some different drinks you can get your hands on, to wash the greasy goodness down.
You'll notice all sorts of different things (and a lot of familiar ones). One of my favorite things about Japan is the availability of Ginger Ale. You definitely don't see it very often in American fast food restaurants, but in Japan, it's pretty common! Other interesting drinks include tea, Grape Fanta (Fanta is fairly big in Japan), and Qoo (I have no idea how to explain Qoo, except for that their apple juice is amazing).
So What Will You Eat?
There's all sorts of great / interesting things there, but if you could only choose one, what would it be? I think I would go with the Mega Muffin, just because my current American favorite is the smaller version of that one, and more is always better, right?