Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
McDonald's

All Around the World
www.mcdonalds.com

Review by Susu, MaceVindaloo, Rosie, ThePlazaQueen, SteakGril, Diana, Wraith6, Runt, Farklempt

chinatown, usaMcD's is not the first of the burger palaces of America, but it's arguably the most recognized and an institution in and of itself. They've made ordering so simple that you just have to say a number to the minimum-wage cashier and you get the same order anywhere. The only thing that seems to change is the face and attitude of that cashier -- they can be cheerful and bright or downright surly. At least the food is the same, even if the McDonald's sign is in Chinese ...

The nice thing about McDonald's is that you can get the same thing just about anywhere, as long as those golden arches are in view. People from other countries seem to think we are obsessed with this brand of "American cuisine" and tend to blame it for all sorts of mental and political ills of the American people. But really, we -- like anyone else -- get homesick and our ability to absorb new things reaches a limit. When that happens, it helps to have someplace that is exactly as we expect it, no matter where we go. Americans are lucky that way, actually. Even if we are dumbasses and sometimes think we can sue McD's for making us fat ... as if!

budapest, hungaryBut things do get imbued with their local character, if only to show they aren't "just American." In New Zealand, we recall a lamb burger with a fried egg and slices of pickled beets under the bun, which tend to stain the bread a startlingly bright magenta pink. In Austria, Hungary and Germany, the McDs we encountered sold beer ... which did freak some of us young 'uns out a bit. In Japan, we remember $10 french fries, and office workers would have just that for lunch -- not ordering by numbers then, but nowadays they have caught up in affluence and appetite to their American counterparts. In New England, one can get a McLobster roll, which isn't bad really -- just not particularly lobstery. Or a McRib sandwich in some regions, which is a piece of pork that is reconstituted from shredded BBQ'd meat in a mold ot make it look like it had ribs going through it at one time. We imagine there are plenty of other variations permitted by the big McDonald's entity.

What do we like best? Hands down, we love McDonald's breakfasts, which is not universally available around the globe. It seems Americans are a bit unique in their predilection for monstrous breakfasts -- most of the world seems to have some form of carbohydrate and some form of caffeine. Us, too, but we also like eggs, bacon, sausages ... one of us remembers being in Budapest and being asked by a kindly restaurant owner what we'd like for breakfast? The place was a bakery and thus was open early, though they didn't seem used to people wandering in for a sit-down breakfast. But they were nice and asked what we might want, and they promised to try to provide it. The Hobbity traveler, homesick and saturated, unthinkingly asked for "bacon and eggs." This perplexed our hosts, who ran off to find a dictionary... they looked astonished but relieved, for they had these items as leftovers ... and in a few minutes, our traveler was faced with a big hunk of boiled bacon with a big fatty rind over it and a bowl of boiled eggs ... Yeah, they should've asked for a roll and coffee or tea, but the brain was numbed. What could unnumb it?

japanThank goodness for Micky-D's at the airport! On our way to NYC, we had pancakes and sausage with chocolate milk and syrup; a bacon, egg, and cheese McMuffin and an orange juice; a McGriddle and coffee; hash browns. If our traveler had seen a pair of golden arches rising over the doorway, imagine how much happier he'd be, and how much less of a "tourist" he'd be labeled!

McDonald's is also wonderful when dealing with fussy kids in the back seat. They need to be fed, but you need to drive somewhere ... and your choice is to listen to them hollering about being hungry and punching each other, or to give up on your plans. Or you can get them a Happy Meal -- a small drink, small fries, a small box of chicken nuggets or a small burger. They also get a toy of some sort, usually a movie or TV show promotion. With this $2 to $4 kit, hunger pangs are curbed, entertainment is had, and the mission is completed. Okay, this isn't the best thing to feed them all the time, but McD's does understand modern parenting!

dunedin, new zealandLike it, love it, or hate it, McD's answers so many social and emotional questions. We admit, we don't always want it, but once in a while, it's just right!

• Chinatown McDonald's image by Wraith6, Wookieehut.com
• Budapest, Hungary McDonald's image from travel.guardian.co.uk
• Japan McDonald's image from www.jameswong.com
• Dunedin, New Zealand McDonald's image from www.shiple.com
• Hungary, Japan, New Zealand images found via Internet search using www.google.com


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