“[WE’VE ANSWERED] their prayers,” a McDonald’s Philippines executive told reporters, referring to the addition of four new limited edition items inspired by popular menu items in Japan to its Philippine menu starting today, Feb. 27.
“People would actually find us on Facebook or Instagram showing us all the photos of what they ate [in McDonald’s] in other countries. So we said, ‘why don’t we introduce it this year?’” Christina D. Lao, marketing director of Golden Arches Development Corp., the local franchisee of McDonald’s in the Philippines, said shortly after the launch of the new items on Feb. 26 at the McDonald’s branch in Frontera Verde, Pasig City.
The company said the new items, collective called “Flavors of Japan,” were introduced to coincide with the blooming of the sakura, cherry blossoms, in Japan from March to April.
The four menu items are the Ebi burger (P125), a shrimp patty coated in tempura (a batter composed of potato starch, flour, and egg) and topped with a sweet, mayonnaise-based sauce and lettuce all between a black- and white-sesame seed bun; the Teriyaki burger (P125), a burger dipped in teriyaki sauce with mayonnaise and lettuce encased in the same sesame seed bun; Nori Shake Shake Fries (P65) which is a salty, umami, and somehow sweet take on McDonald’s fries; and the Strawberry Sakura McFloat (P35), a strawberry and cherry-flavored soda topped with vanilla ice cream.
A Sakura meal (P194) includes a choice between the two burgers, the nori (seaweed) fries and the sakura float though they do offer a regular meal (P149) which includes regular fries and a drink with any of the two burgers.
The Strawberry Sakura McFloat tasted like a strawberry cream soda once you mix the ice cream into the drink. The Nori Wasabi fries was also very good, with one writer saying that it tasted like “sour cream and onion but without the sour,” although the salt is undercut by the smattering of nori flakes (this writer would want more of those to get the really fishy yet umami flavor).
The Teriyaki burger has a good balance of sweetness and savoriness and the Ebi burger is light yet filling.
Ms. Lao said that before they added these items to the regular menu, they had to adjust them to suit the Filipino palate: they added strawberry syrup to the sakura float because Filipinos love their sweets, they decided to use a tempura batter instead of the panko breadcrumbs of the original because their tests showed customers preferred the tempura batter, and they had to adjust the teriyaki sauce so the balance between sweet and salty is perfect because “Filipinos love a festival of flavors.”
So it may not be exactly what you’d get in Japan or Singapore (Singapore also offers the shrimp burger) but “you don’t have to go far to get to taste [country-specific] menu items,” she explained.
She added that this is a first in a series where they will be bringing the world to the Philippines.
The Japanese menu items will only be available through April or until stocks last and are available in all McDonald’s stores nationwide. — Z.B. Chua