08 August, 2014

Grilled Chicken McWrap Launch Party - Singapore - August 2014

Consumed on 6 August 2014
Location - McDonald's Bishan Park, Singapore
Combo Price - $6.90SGD = $5.52USD
Calories - ~450kcal

The day my wife and I returned from Sri Lanka, I received an email from McDonald's Singapore inviting us to a launch party the following week.   Unlike the last two launch events I was invited to, this time my wife received an invitation of her own, which put a big smile on her face.  The previous two events, even though the invite only said it was for myself only, I still brought her along.   The invitation was supposed to be cryptic, but since we were invited to "#UnWrapTheFun", I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to be the launch of McWraps in Singapore.  I had already seen the test market branch in Tampines Mall selling them a couple months earlier, so I was pretty positive what was going to come.  I didn't order them to review at that time since I had already reviewed the Spicy Chicken McWrap in Malaysia in 2013, and I've reviewed a number of different wraps for the blog already.  To be honest, if I wasn't invited to the launch, I probably wouldn't have ordered them on my own when they launched, but they did have their own differences, so I'm glad I did get the opportunity to try it.

Our table setting.  I had the urge to grab the cucumber for a snack on the walk home.

This event was being held at the Bishan Park branch, which is pretty cool in that it was a full branch in the centre of a pretty nice park, but it wasn't at all convenient from our office.  We also did have a nice 2km walk from the closest metro station which allowed us to build an appetite.  Since the branch itself wasn't that large, this event was smaller than the last, which was fine by me.  About 10-12 other bloggers were invited.  I'm beginning to remember the marketing/PR staff that are usually at these events, and I think because I don't fit the typical blogger demographic, that they remember me as well.  

The provided promo material.  My first official "press pack"

McDonald's 500 Calorie Menu Teaser

The event started with an explanation of the new "500 Calorie" menu that the McWraps will be on.  Unfortunately, the only new items on the menu will be this McWrap, and the introduction of a "side salad".  I found it a bit strange that they are going to charge an extra $1.20 to swap your fries to this salad.  We didn't get to see it, but it had better be larger than the side salad in the US to be worth the upsell.  The rest of the "500" menu are regular menu items, but promoted with a corn cup and water/Coke Light over the chips and regular Coke.  I hope the introduction of this healthy menu isn't a way for regular menu item prices to be increased yet again, since you could always order your meals with a corn/water at the current prices. After the introduction, we had a live demonstration of how the wraps are made by a member of staff.  

Shortly after the demonstration, we were served a cup corn keeping in line with the 500 Calorie menu theme.  It was a bit strange since it was served in an Ikea cup and spoon of all things.  I hope they just didn't get tossed at the end of the event.  Personally, I wouldn't have mind the standard McDonald's packaging, we were at a McDonald's event after all, but I do see the need to be a bit classy sometimes.  Although, being served regular Coke (also in an Ikea cup) wasn't exactly in line with the 500 menu ;)

After our appetizers, the wraps arrived.  Unlike the Satay Burger event, where we were able to try both the Beef and Chicken versions, this time, we were only offered the Grilled Chicken version and not the Spicy (Fried) Chicken variant.  The strongest memory I have from the Malaysian McWrap was the weight when I had first picked it up.  I was glad to see that the weight remained in the Singapore version, and it was indeed filled to the edge with fresh vegetables.  I'll have to wait and see if the Wraps served on a day-to-day basis will have this much veg inside.  The veg consisted of most of same ingredients as the Malay wrap, whole leaf lettuce, tomato, cabbage & carrot but surprisingly onion was left out. I think it would have made a nice addition.  Since we had the Grilled Chicken version, the sauce was the "chargrill" sauce that is used on the Teppanyaki Chicken McGrill regular menu item.  It's a mayo-based sauce, but with a nice hint of zest to it.  Although I haven't officially reviewed the McGrill, I've had it a couple times and it is my favourite regular menu item here in Singapore, mostly due to this sauce.  The "Spicy" McWrap will just have standard Mayo, and rather than the grilled chicken patty, it will used a fried McSpicy patty.

Determination, or hunger in those eyes...not sure which.
The biggest change that this Wrap has over the others I've reviewed was the introduction of a whole-wheat tortilla.  I've asked for this since the first Wrap review, as I always felt that it would been a flavourful addition.  I believe that Singapore is the first country in Asia to have this, although Canada has had this for the last year or so.  Although I haven't had a McMuffin in Singapore since the introduction of the Chicken muffin in early 2013, they now also offer whole wheat McMuffins and Breakfast wraps, which I would be sure to order if I ever have a new McMuffin to review (or if I get a free McMuffin coupon on the McDonald's Surprise Alarm, which my wife always scoops up before I get the chance to use it).

All in, the original wrap I reviewed in Malaysia deserved a 5/5 since it was properly tasty (and pretty healthy).  This one still deserves the 5/5 score, because they've only gone and improved on an already good Wrap, but I'm not sure if I agree with the $6.90 combo price point. That's double what one in Malaysia. The wraps will launch alongside the 500 Calorie Menu next week, 14 August 2014, and I will knock a point or two off out of spite if the 500 Menu causes the prices of the regular menu to jump ;)

Rating - 5/5

Truthfully,  I'm hoping the wraps perform well and stick around so I might get the chance to review more interesting variations.  Canada just introduced the "Asian Crispy Shrimp McWrap", and I'd love to be able to try McDonald's Shrimp!  I wonder if they still have Fish Sticks in Egypt?

McDonald's Canada McWrap Menu August 2014

Readers from Singapore might remember the flatbread Foldover which was available a number of years ago.  I actually had this in Malaysia in 2006, long before the blog days.  It has made a quiet re-appearance in Indonesia over the last month, but no word from McDonald's that it will come back to SG/MY. Maybe if this wrap performs well, they might bring it back.