This discussion is not intended as an endorsement of fast food in general or any chain in particular. No, this is about cuisine as culture. As in “you know something is popular when….”
Huffington Post Canada is reporting that McDonald’s is adding poutine to menus across Canada. (It was already available in Quebec.)
According to the packaging, the poutine boasts gravy, the chain’s “famous” fries and real cheese curds — though there will inevitably be some debate from the experts as to whether or not they truly hold up. And sorry, vegetarians, but it seems the gravy is chicken-based, with tomato, onion and garlic flavours.
McDonald’s has long included specific regional offerings. I can recall how excited customers were when Hawaii outlets added local favorites like saimin and a breakfast plate with scrambled eggs, rice and Portuguese sausage or Spam. Recent press accounts described how pork was getting the chicken McNugget treatment with the arrival of “spicy pork McBites” in China.
Condé Nast Traveler has photos of specialty items found at different McDonald’s around the world, including breaded brie nuggets in Russia and a Kiwi burger for New Zealand taste “… a beef patty topped with some eye-opening surprises: a fried egg and beetroot.”
This list from something called Food Network Humor presents images of 40 international menu items sold at different McDonald’s. Sadly, the site does not always link each dish to where it is served. It does rub in the fact that one can order beer at McDonald’s in France and Germany.
Moving away from one company’s menu, the Huffington Post article mentioned above is supplemented at the bottom of the page with a 91-image slide show of very Canadian foods – so many! Some are obvious, like poutine. And regional, like the Nanaimo bar, tourtière or Newfoundland Screech. Others are hard to claim as exclusively Canadian (Oysters and potatoes? Really?) A claim is made that Kraft Dinner (the cheese elbows in a box) is Canadian, bolstered by this link.
Clicking through that list, it turns out to fall far short of 91 food items, though. Mid-way it switches gears to ways Canada was smarter than the U.S., then “25 ways Canada rocks”. (Reader reactions will vary.)
Getting back to food, for the sake of health, quality and frugality, it’s usually better to just enjoy classic dishes made at home. Having said that, what regional specialties – if any – can you think of that should be on more menus?