I think Jim was the first person to ask me to write about this, and although we recently had the conversation over Skype, I thought I’d still share with you guys the differences between US and Singaporean McDonalds.
Let’s face it…as Americans, McDonald’s was never not going to be part of our lives…even in Singapore. Perhaps especially in Singapore. As our friends who have been to the golden arches outside the US, it’s never quite exactly the same…but McDonald’s in other countries does give you a small taste of home when you are far from it.
How are McDonald’s in Singapore Different?
McDelivery is the obvious place to start. I highly encourage you to click the link, look around the site for a few minutes and then come back. If you did, you’ll see that here in Singapore we have the option of going online or calling a central number 24/7/365 and getting McDonald’s delivered to our home. By a dude on a motorcycle with a red giant keep warm backpack emblazoned with the golden arches. For close to no additional fee.
But sometimes you want McDonald’s at 2am and don’t feel like waiting 45 minutes. So you go to one of the many 24/7/365 locations. For us, the McDonald’s on Orchard Road next to the Hilton and Elanor’s Gymnastics school is the closest choice. However, there has been only one 2am McDonald’s run…and it was the night we arrived in Singapore at midnight, and got to the hotel at 1am…without room service it was the only logical solution our exceptionally jet lagged brains could come up with. As it turns out there is also a 24/7/365 ice cream place called Swensens up the street, but we still would have gone golden that night.
The majority of McDonalds close somewhere between 10pm and midnight.
In terms of the kids menu, there are NO “Mighty Kid Meals”. You get your hamburger, cheeseburger or 4 piece nugget. You then can choose a side dish of apples or hot corn and then you get a drink. (There may be more options than corn and apples…I’ll have to check) The kids soda is minute. However, they do get major points for being the ONLY fast food restaurant handing out milk instead of giving me the choice between soda and Milo. Thanks @Mamahearsawho–yes, Fries are also an option. And from my “research” I learned that you can also get yogurt with your main course.
Portion size is much smaller here. With regular extra value meals, you are given what in the US is a SMALL soda. When you “upsize” you get a US Medium soda. The extra value meal with chicken nuggets comes with six nuggets, not ten. Like every McDonald’s I’ve been to outside the US, they fry their apple pies, rather than baking them (making me unhappy and Ravi completely thrilled due our respective apple pie preferences).
Then there are the unique things here…
- In the sauces that are out, there is only one ketchup pump. The rest are chili sauce
- When you upsize a value meal, they give you a shaker bag. You dump your fries into the paper shaker bag, open a packet of chili pepper flakes and pour them in as well. Then you shake your bags to get chilli pepper flake covered fries
- I’m betting the US isn’t handing out world cup glasses with every upsized value meal?
- The whole “Happy Meal” concept is largely ignored–they’re not dispensed in Happy Meal boxes or bags, and often we aren’t given a toy at all. The toys also aren’t rotated terribly often. I have a sneaking suspicion that Singapore (and other countries) get the left over toys from the US when the promotion there ends.
- Ravi has stated that in the whole world, Singapore is the only place where sometimes the fresh, hot fries taste bad. Most of the time they are great, but I’ll concur that every so often you just get a really horrible batch of fries.
- I’m not sure, but I think the McSpicy Chicken might be native to Singapore. I know around Chinese New Year they had special burgers (see picture) and twisty fries (which you can’t get anymore).
This is everything that’s coming to mind at the moment, but I’ll be sure to come back and update later. While I’m out and about, I’ll pop into one….purely in the name of research, of course!