McDonalds was once one of the most popular franchises in Korea that had come from another country. While it still is quite popular, it has gone through some difficult times.
One of the first changes for McDonalds was the increasing rent that the country has gone through over the years, which made it harder for franchisees to do business profitably. As a result, many of the older restaurants have closed or moved, as McDonalds has taken to purchasing the land and then having the buildings made to order to better suit their needs. This has also allowed for the company to have more drive-thru restaurants, which has been quite beneficial in the year 2020 due to the coronavirus.
Another issue was a lack of new products. For a long time it seemed like McDonalds was having new burgers for special events, such as the World Cup or the Olympics, but in recent years these special burgers and new products have dried up.
This year, the CEO of McDonalds Korea was replaced, and it seems as though a number of positive changes have taken place. New products have started to reappear from time to time to break up the regular menu, and the quality of the food seems to be better as well.
While not my favorite place to go for dinner, when you’re in a rush and you have to get to the cinema on time, it’s a quick, convenient place to grab a bite to eat.
And so it was on this evening when we were off to see Tenet that we stopped at McDonalds to try some of their new items.
We decided to get two meals, or sets as they are called here in Korea, to eat in. The first was the Bacon Big Mac, to which we paid an extra 500 won for the Wedge Fries (also a new product), and the second meal was an Egg Bulgogi Burger (a product specifically for the local market) with traditional McDonalds French fries.
Now, let’s be clear, the Big Mac is the classic fast food burger. It’s just an excellent quick eat. Hardly gourmet, the Big Mac does manage to be a tasty burger. Adding bacon seems like it should be a no brainer when it comes to a burger. Sadly, this was not to be in this case. One of the problems is that the bacon in Korea is frequently not as good as in other countries. It is often thinner than the bacon you would find in the US and does not have the same fatty texture that makes bacon taste so good.
In this case, the Big Mac burger was fine. It tastes almost exactly the same as every other Big Mac I’ve had in my life, but the bacon added almost nothing to it except a slightly crunchy texture. It was disappointing that there wasn’t more of the salty goodness that bacon usually offers.
The Egg Bulgogi Burger also had the same standard bulgogi sauce that can be found on the regular Bulgogi Burger. I really enjoy this sauce, and it adds a nice, sweet taste to the meat, which is a blend of pork and beef. Much like the bacon on the Big Mac, the egg really didn’t add much flavor to this burger. While it made it thicker, the bulgogi sauce is quite strong and overshadowed the egg.
Also, it seems like the lettuce on the Egg Bulgogi Burger was wet. Usually the lettuce is nice and fairly crisp on the burgers at McDonalds, but this seemed like it was drenched. It made it really hard to eat as the ingredients were slipping around and everything was wet.
The Wedge Fries were a whole other story. These things were good! While I enjoy the regular McDonalds French fries, the Wedge Fries were even better. Taking it up a notch, they are even adding in a free sauce of your choice from one of these three: Cajun Mustard, Sweet and Sour, and Spicy Chili Sauce. We decided to get the Cajun Mustard which was a great choice.
The Wedge Fries are very chunky, and the extra potato flavor from the large pieces works really well with the Cajun fry seasoning on them. Adding in the spicy Cajun Mustard sauce just put these over the top. To improve it even more, these were hot and fresh! Rarely to I believe what websites say about different items, but when McDonalds says that these are full of a savory flavor that fills your mouth, they are definitely telling the truth!
While the two burgers were disappointing compared to how the regular versions are good, the Wedge Fries from McDonalds are a great fast food menu addition. I hope that they become a permanent menu item as opposed to just a short-term promotion. I would definitely get these with every set whenever I go to McDonalds.
*NOTE* As of this writing, the Bacon Big Mac is no longer on the McDonalds Korea website, and is probably not available as a standard menu item.