According to the 2015 Michelin guide, Tokyo has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other city in the world!
So naturally I went to McDonald’s for lunch.
Let me explain: I don’t usually eat fast food. But wherever I go, McDonald’s acts as a constant, as in its menu remains relatively consistent but adapts itself to the local tastes. I like to see what kind of spin the local country puts on this staple fast food chain often associated with cheap but calorically dirty food.
I walk down the street and turn the corner and McDonald’s is reliably there. Outside, there are a few bikes with trunks in the back to keep food warm, because in Japan, McDonald’s does delivery. So for those of you who are too ashamed of showing your face in a McDonald’s to order your guilty pleasure double cheeseburger with a side of large fries, move to Japan.
McDonald’s Japan was doing a promotion for new Hokkaido Cheese and Egg burgers, which are essentially just a cheeseburger with an egg patty. Though it looked decent and I was tempted to get it, it was still a little too “Western” for me to try.
However, there was one item that I absolutely had to get: the McShrimp (my own name for it, the Japanese name is えびフィレオ, which translates to Filet-o-Shrimp). It can be found in most East Asian McDonald’s, but Japan was one of the first to have it on their regular menus. Stumbling through my horrible Japanese, I managed to order a McShrimp meal and added a Hazelnut Oreo McFlurry, because they don’t have those in Canada.
My meal arrived quickly and I went upstairs to try it.
I grabbed a few fries to start off my meal because I wanted to taste them while they were still hot and crispy. I shoved them in my mouth and they didn’t disappoint. You could tell the fries were freshly cooked to a gentle crisp, but were definitely saltier than what I’m used to back home, which admittedly was a bit of a turn off. I guess those draconian sodium laws haven’t found their way to Japan yet.
Next, I unwrapped the McShrimp and basked in its glory. I was expecting a dinky little burger but it was actually fairly large, about the size of a McChicken. It certainly looked hearty. It contained a deep fried shrimp patty topped with lettuce and a Thousand Island style dressing, all on a suspiciously shiny sesame seed bun.
I dove in for a bite, and again I was pleasantly surprised. I expected the shrimp patty to be made with a shrimpy paste, similar to the chicken paste used to make McNuggets. But the crispy golden patty was made of actual chunks of shrimp, small but enough to both hold it together and provide some nice flaking on every bite. However, for a shrimp burger, it was somewhat lacking in shrimp flavor. A sharper, more distinct “shrimpy” taste would have been a welcome boost to balance the stronger flavor of the dressing.
After finishing my McShrimp, I went straight for the Hazelnut Oreo McFlurry. The one big difference is in the Oreo chunks: they’re significantly larger, and thus crunchier, and thus, in my opinion, better than the Oreo McFlurry back home. It was an excellent texture contrast, one that preserved both the integrity of the ice cream and the Oreos but also enhanced both foods when blended together. The hazelnut sauce added a nice nutty flavor to every spoonful.
You know when you eat way too much of a bad thing until you begin to hate yourself? After the sheer amount of sugar and sodium I consumed, that’s exactly how I felt. I don’t think I’ll even be able to step foot in another McDonald’s for a month after this. I need some real Japanese food.