I wiped off drops of freshly fallen rain from the thick lenses of my Ray-Ban glasses as I entered the Xiamen Railway Station to encounter a long line of people itching to purchase train tickets. I made the terrible sacrifice of skipping breakfast to avoid missing my train but the grey weather, the wait, and the inevitable return to my daily hell only served to exacerbate my hanger. Since I was only a three and a half hour train ride away from re-experiencing hell once again, I had only one thought in my mind:
Please, let a burger be my last meal.
After what seemed like eons, I grabbed my ticket and ascended the stairs to the waiting area where I saw a scant number of food options. You had the usual Chinese fare of noodles and rice, and then you had China’s two most popular western fast food joints: McDonald’s and KFC. At that point, I needed some protein in me to put me over the nearly four hour train ride back to Shenzhen, so a burger was my most reliable option. Off to McDonald’s I went.
I had seen advertisements all over China for their limited time only German Sausage Burger (though it may be an annual item) and from pictures alone, I knew I had to try it. It was a behemoth two beef patty burger, topped with two presumably German sausages, smothered in actual mustard (yes, the one with the seeds!) and covered with a possibly pretzel bun. Leave it to China to somehow out-German the Germans. The only way this could be any more German is if they had dumped an entire can of Warsteiner on top. On a side note, McDonald’s China seems to now be serving edible stereotypes for all of us to try.
I went up to the counter and proudly announced my intention to try the new German sausage burger. It was served speedily and I proceeded to find a table to sit at when I stumbled upon this little gem:
Yep, McDonald’s China has not only created an offensively German-style hamburger, but also understands the subtleties of the millennial mind by offering a booth for all of us sad singletons out there because sometimes you’re not forced to eat alone, but you actually just want to eat alone. Cheers McDonald’s China.
After making myself comfortable at my solo booth, I unwrapped the burger, half-expecting a chorus of yodels to emerge from within the paper. The top of the bun was made to look like pretzel bread, but upon further inspection (poking it) I was disappointed to find out it was just your regular bun with a cross on top. I lifted the faux-pretzel bun to see what was inside. I gasped a little as I assumed they had forgot to load one of the sausages into my burger, but quickly realized that they were simply blanketed in a doubly-thick layer of mustard. As a mustard guy, this should have been exactly what I wanted, but to be honest, this was way too much. I held the burger up and a huge dollop of mustard went splat right on to the paper. Admittedly, I later used this as dipping sauce but I was not ready to have that much mustard with each bite.
At this point my stomach was on its knees, growling, begging me to have a taste of the meat. I couldn’t take it any longer and bit a massive chunk out of the burger. For a burger that contains round sausages, it held together surprisingly well. Perhaps the ton of mustard acted as a glue that kept everything from falling apart. The sausages were tastier than I expected: they weren’t just bland meat sticks but actually had enough garlic and seasoning to complement the spiciness of the mustard. However, they were not as hefty or curved as advertised, resembling more closely extended cocktail sausages. As for the beef patties, if you’ve been to McDonald’s enough times then you’ll know what they taste like and this was no different. They were easily my least favourite part of the burger, too dry and not seasoned enough. It is almost as if they didn’t even bother to do anything with the patties and relied solely on the novelty and flavour of the mustard and sausages.
Overall, I was not overly impressed by the German sausage burger from McDonald’s China, nor was I overly disappointed. At 21 yuan (about $3 US) it does not feel like a waste of money though I may have been happier with a McNugget combo. A few tweaks here and there, like seasoning the patties, less mustard, maybe adding some fried onions, and using an actual pretzel bun would have drastically changed the flavour and experience of the burger. With my expert food analysis on a rainy day at a train station on the coast of China, I conclude that this burger is best consumed after a few pints of your favourite German beer.