18 August, 2014

Chargrill & Citrus Shakers - Hong Kong - August 2014

McDonald's Hong Kong Citrus Shakers July 2014
McDonald's Hong Kong Chargrill Shakers July 2014

Consumed on 7 August 2014 in Singapore
Purchased in Hong Kong in July 2014
Price - Free with upsized combo, or $3.5
Calories - ~10kcal

My friend Andrew in Hong Kong pulled through for me again. Whereas it seems that Singapore and Malaysia have fallen off the Shaker-train sometime in the last year, it looks like Hong Kong is still chugging along releasing them almost at an almost Japanese pace.  Their last shaker, the "S", was released during the World Cup promo period back in May.  Throughout July 2014 McDonald's Hong Kong had run a new series of 4 different Shaker Shaker seasoning packets along with the launch of Chicken McBites. These were also given out free of charge when you upsized any combo for your fries, so they weren't only intended to be eaten with chicken like some of the other Japanese flavours, and because of this, I reviewed them with fries over nuggets.  Of the 4 flavours, I had already tried Seaweed and Honey BBQ shaker flavours from Hong Kong over the years, so I didn't bother my friend to have to seek those out for me, but the other 2, I've either missed before, or were completely new releases, I am not totally sure.  These flavours were Citrus, and Chargrill.  At first I had feared that Citrus may have been a re-release of the Citrus Thai shakers which were here in Singapore before, unfortunately, it turned out to be true.

Citrus Shaker

Chargrill Shaker

Pretty difficult to tell the difference
Just like the S Shaker, both flavours were packed by McCormick, right here in Singapore before making their way up to Hong Kong.  My wife and I tried these shakers during the Grilled Chicken Wrap launch party.  Since we were being served corn with our wrap, and we had to specially ask for fries, we didn't want to ask for two, so we split the shakers between a single large fry.  My friend Andrew sent down the required shaker bags, but my wife, who has photography duty, forgot to take a photo of the bag.  But if you look closely, you can see under the fries it in the photos below.  Both Shakers looked nearly identical, but the Chargrill was slightly chunkier, and neither had any identifiable odour.  We tried the Citrus first, and at the time, I didn't refer back to the Thai Citrus Shaker review, so I was still under the impression that these were a different flavour.  My initial thought was "oh, not these again...".  These were the exact same disappointing flavour from over a year ago right here in Singapore.  I guess that proves my original review was accurate, since I had the same reaction this time around, that this flavour was overly tangy, and did not work well at all with the saltiness of the fries.  Just to confirm, I compared the ingredients between the Citrus Thai and these, and apart from a new E-preservative, these were identical, down to the flavouring...

Shaken Citrus

Luckily the Chargrill seasoning wasn't anything I have had before.  Strangely enough, the Grilled Chicken Wrap I was eating also included a "Chargrill sauce", but they didn't taste anything at all like each other.  Actually, where the Citrus shaker was very strong and overpowering, I felt that the Chargrill flavour was a little bit on the weak side.  I also felt that it was too sweet when a Chargrill flavour should be at least somewhat smoky, which it had none of.  The most interesting flavours in this shaker were probably from the Soy Sauce Power, and Sesame Oil ingredients.  I ate a few fries after they had gone cold, and both of those flavours were much more predominant than when eaten hot. I actually preferred them when the fries were cold.  I think it might be a nice change if they used less salt in these shakers and try more soy sauce powder in the future.  

Shaken Chargrill

Citrus - 1/5
Chargrill - 2/5