10 July, 2014

World Cup Promotion - Samba Beef Burger (삼바 비프 버거) - Korea - July 2014

Lettuce, lettuce everywhere!

Only 1 of those would make it to Singapore...

McDonald's Korea Samba Beef Burger - June 2014

Purchased on 30 June 2014 in Sunae Station, Bundang, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Consumed on 1 July 2014, in Singapore
Price - 5400KRW = $5.41USD
Calories - ~650kcal

Sigh...I'm not happy today...last night my colleague was flying from Japan to Singapore, and I asked him to pick one of the new BLT Burgers which only launched that afternoon.  Not only was I hoping
I could have been the first website to cover this burger, but it looked great!  He made the effort to track one down for me, fly it back to Singapore, and store it overnight so I could eat it this morning.  Both my wife and I were looking forward to trying it since we love garlic, and when we arrived at their house this morning, we went straight to the kitchen.  I looked through the fridge and freezer and it was no where to be found.  I nervously checked the rubbish in case someone tossed it not knowing what it was.  The brown paper McDonald's bag was in there and I actually opened it hopping that I might have been able to salvage it (Yes, I'll eat old burgers AND garbage burgers for the sake of this blog!)  The bag was empty! I asked around, and we learned pretty quickly that it was the maid ate it (thinking it was leftovers) only minutes before we arrived! My wife had a very good time rubbing it in all afternoon.  

I hope it was good...RIP BLT Burger, you are a 5/5 in my heart...

McDonald's Japan BLT Garlic Burger - July 2014
Now onto the Samba Beef Burger from Korea.  A burger which was flown to Singapore and not eaten by the maid before I could get my hands on it...  

When my wife left for Korea last month, McDonald's Korea had just started their first of two World Cup promo burgers, called the Samba Beef Burger.  I've mentioned in a couple other reviews before that when I lived in Korea from 2009-2012, there were pretty much no interesting promo burgers.  Since leaving, there have been a few more interesting items that popped up like the Australia Burger, which I missed, and the 1955 and 1988 burgers.  I've also had a couple terrible items as well on my trips back.  When the Samba Beef Burger launched I asked my wife to pick one up and stick in the freezer, since I didn't know when it was going to finish.  A couple weeks later, they launched the Salsa Burger, and I learned that both burgers were going to run through the end of the World Cup, so she bought one of each on the day before she came back to Singapore.

To be honest, since all the marketing material for Korean McDonald's, is well, in Korean (they launched an English website sometime over the last year, but it's pretty basic), I didn't look too deeply into what the Samba Beef Burger was actually supposed to be, and why was it was limited edition.  Only when it arrived and I tried it did I bother to try and figure out what was supposed to be special about this burger.  McDonald's Korea opted out against doing the football shaped bun like most of the world, and decided adding black sesame seeds to a standard bun was enough to call it 'special'.  If it wasn't the bun, then surely it must have been the sauces that made it special, right?  Well, McDonald's Korea used 2 sauces on this burger, plain white Mayo, and the Mustard which is available on the Grilled Chicken Burger.  I always like mustard, but they can't be calling it special.  

Apparently the 'quality' of the ingredients were what were special about this burger.  The beef patty was thicker than any burger I've had in Korea, although it was seasoned simply with salt and pepper it was still pretty good.  They used 2 slices of standard cheese, and 2 slices of bacon, which aren't all that common in Korean McDonald's, but still nothing unique to this burger.  My wife said the biggest difference about this burger was the massive amount of lettuce they piled on to it.  In order to take decent photos she had to push "a fist full" out of the way and by the looks of the photo, there was already enough there to be considered enough.

The photos of the fully intact burger above are the photos my wife took shortly after she brought it home after ordering it in Korea.  What she didn't tell me was that she was going to happily eat half of each burger whilst they were fresh, leaving me leftovers when they arrived in Singapore...  

Although the burger lost most of its presentation after it was cut in half, stored overnight and then flown 8 hours before I could eat it, it still actually tasted pretty decent.   It tasted exactly like one would expect a burger with bacon, mayo, mustard and veg would taste like since there wasn't anything special about it at all.  This looks to have been another example of a slight variation burger which Korea has marketed as something special.  

At least it isn't as bad as their promo from this week the Tomato Cheeseburger, which is simply a regular cheese burger with a single slice of tomato, and they charge 500W (50cents) extra for the privilege!

Tomato Cheese Burger - Korea July 2014