12 July, 2014

Shiok Shiok Beef & Chicken Satay Burger - Singapore - July 2014

Shiok Shiok Beef Satay

Shioc Shioc Chicken Satay

Consumed on 11 July 2014
Location - McDonald's Tanjong Pagar, Singapore
Combo Price - $6.60SGD = $5.28USD
Calories - TBA

Late last week I received an email inviting me to "Celebrate true Singaporean Shiokness at McDonald's" and sample a new McDonald's Singapore release this Friday, 11 July 2014.  This was sent over to me as part of the omy blog club (who also run the Singapore Blog Awards).  This was the 2nd time I've been invited to a McDonald's Launch Party here in Singapore, the first being the release of the Mala Burger. This time around, the event was downtown in Tanjong Pagar, rather than an hour away in Jurong East, so it was a significantly easier venue for us to commute to after work. 

Before talk about the burger, I should explain what both "Shiok", and Satay are to readers that are living outside of Singapore (and surrounding countries). Shiok is a Malay loanword used in Singlish to mean something awesome, or great (yes...I had to look it up too).  Satay is seasoned grilled meat cooked on a charcol grill.  Whenever my wife or I have friends from out-of-town visiting Singapore one of the dishes we make sure they try when they are here is satay.  I've always been a big fan of the lamb satay (as it is similar to arabic kebab) but my wife, being Korean, has a 'thing' against lamb, so we are usually forced to have beef, chicken or prawn satay.  McDonald's new Satay Burger's aren't seasoning their meat in the typical satay spices (which includes a lot of turmeric), but rather topped either a double-pattied beef, or skinless chicken burger, with the typical sides you get with your sticks of meat, a satay peanut sauce, raw onion slivers, unpeeled cucumber on a standard Quarter Pounder bun.  Both burgers are slated to replace the current World Cup burgers this coming Tuesday, 15 July, and will have the same price of $6.60 for a combo, not the cheapest in the world, but cheaper than any of the recent promotions here in Singapore.

Since I was able to try this burger at the launch event, I didn't know what the new flavoured burger was going to be until minutes before they served it to us.  This meant I didn't have any expectation going in ahead of time about what I felt a good Satay Burger could be, or how it should be served.  Both my wife and I were given one each of both the Beef, and Chicken versions of the burger to try.  The Beef burger came out about 10 minutes before Chicken, so this was the one we were able to try first.  The first thing I noticed when I opened up my Beef Burger was that the satay sauce they used wasn't simply a peanut-flavoured, mayo-based, version of a satay sauce, but this was a thick, chunky, proper satay sauce.  They also spread it out on both the top and bottom bun.  

Last year around the same time, McDonald's launched the Rendang Burger, a large pattied beef burger which again used local flavours.  Both major problems I had with that burger, the price, and the lone onion topping had been resolved with this Satay Burger.  Sure, the inclusion of a couple slices of cucumber doesn't seem like all that much, but it was enough to make the burgers not seem that boring.  The whole slices of unpeeled cucumber added a distinct flavour which would have been greatly missed if they didn't include them, it also made the burgers more visually appealing.  The problems I did have with the Beef Satay was that they could have made the effort to try and season the meat like satay should be, and that the satay peanut sauce, although thick, was a bit too light where it should have been a bit more rich, and there should have had a more of kick to it.  Now, these are just places where they could have improved, since I happily finished my entire burger, and the remaining half of what my wife didn't finish.

Before the Chicken Satay Burger made it over to our table, it was explained that they changed the chicken patty for this burger.  I've made it known in other reviews, that I often find McDonald's in South East Asia chicken patties a bit on the greasy side since they include the skin along with the meat.  When the patty is battered and fried its actually less noticeable than when the skin is left on the grilled chicken.  I guess I wasn't the only one with this complaint, since this time around the patty is a skinless grilled chicken thigh, which I believe is a first in Singapore, but the standard in most other countries.

Other than the change in meat, the burgers are identical, that's why I didn't write a separate post for each one.  The pros and cons remain the same for both the Beef and the Chicken, but I will admit, I preferred the new skinless chicken over the old patty, as the chicken seemed much leaner. I also preferred the taste of the satay sauce against the chicken, since the chicken was lighter tasting, you could taste the peanut sauce more on it than you could when on the beef.  I'll also admit, that I finished the entire Chicken Satay as well, it was that good (but hey, I'm almost 2m tall, I can have 2 burgers every now and then).  My wife says she preferred the beef over the chicken, but I suspect that was because she was full before it arrived, as she only had a single bite of it.

Beef Satay - 4/5
Chicken Satay - 5/5

As I mentioned before, this was the 2nd "Launch Party" that I've been invited to in order to review the new McDonald's Singapore releases. This one was much lower-key than the last event, since only 15 or so bloggers were invited, whereas the Mala Burger party had 50-60+.  It's pretty easy to see I was not their typical demographic, since all the others invited were (Asian) girls, and I was the only (non-Asian) guy invited.  I think at first, most people assumed I was tagging along with my wife, rather the other way around.  When we arrived, we were directed to sit at a table which each seat had a traditional fan, which is commonly used to fan the satay when it is cooking on a charcoal BBQ.  We were also given a Strawberry McFizz, which although I've reviewed before, is returning with the Satay Burger. Although this was one of the better McFizz flavours, I would have liked if they didn't rehash one from only last year.

Like the last launch party, the staff were great, we were personally asked if there was anything else we'd like to try (and those that didn't know I write this blog) asked if I wanted to try any of the World Cup promos.  Unfortunately the branch was out of Drumlets, since I still refuse to pay for those after my other experiences.   My wife asked for a coffee after dinner, and she received not only a standard coffee, but a large McCafe one with a nice bit of Latte Art on top.   We were also offered Banana Pies, which returned to Singapore with the World Cup promos this June, I turned one down, since I had just eaten 2 burgers, but my wife happily had one.

 They also had a Singlish crossword puzzle where the first one to complete it would win a prize.  Even the staff knew we didn't stand a chance on this one.  Although, I was the first one done, my answers weren't exactly correct, I only know a single Singlish word...


I hope I continued to get invited to these launch events, even if I don't exactly fit in the group photo at the end...Thanks for the invite!