22 August, 2016

Steamed Chicken Veggie Nuggets (一口咬麥麥鷄) - Taoyuan, Taiwan - August 2016

McDonald's Taiwan Steamed Chicken Veggie Nuggets - Taiwan - August 2016
一口咬麥麥鷄 Box McDonald's Taiwan
Consumed on 14 August 2016
Location - McDonald's Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan
Happy Meal Price - 89NTD = $2.80USD
Calories (5 pieces) = 87kcal
McDonald's Taiwan Receipt August 2016

A little over 2 weeks ago, The Wife and I went to Taiwan to visit some friends. In preparation for that trip, I spotted these Chicken Veggie McNuggets as a new addition to the Taiwanese Happy Meal menu.  This new item seemingly replaced the standard Hamburger from the Happy Meal menu as the only other options left other than these are a Grilled Chicken Burger or a "McFish" which is a Filet o' Fish patty + Ketchup.  Not sure if that makes Taiwan the only country in the world without a Hamburger in the Happy Meal offerings, but if not, it has to be one of the few that doesn't! Since our friends have two small children of their own, they had actually already tried these a couple weeks before we arrived and they said both of their boys liked them, so I was rather excited to give them a try and see how they fared on an adult palate. 


The nuggets were being heavily promoted as a healthy alternative for kids, as not only were the nuggets unbreaded & steamed rather than fried, but they also had small pieces of both Broccoli and Carrot mixed in with together meat.  A quick check of the nutrition breakdown on the official website, and unlike some healthy alternatives that are sometimes still loaded with fat or salt, these nuggets really were light all-around. A box of 5 nuggets only had 87kcal, a third of what standard Chicken McNuggets would have. They also had 0 Trans Fat, 0.4g of Saturated Fat and only 2g of 'regular' Fat, coupled against the 15g of protein they offer, they certainly are one of the healthier options on the menu. The sodium isn't negligible at 220mg, but it's still less than 1/2 what typical nuggets would have.  The other big change is that McDonald's Taiwan also completely removed French Fries and Coke options from the Happy Meal menu. The remaining choices for sides were Fruit, Salad or (one which I was not offered), a Corn + Raisin cup.  Drinks are Milk, Water, or Orange Juice respectively.  

McDonald's Taiwan 一口咬麥麥鷄 快樂兒童餐 August 2016

Upon cracking the box open, I have to admit that these look pretty, well, disgusting.  They were a pretty disconcerting white/grey hue which due to the lighting you can't really tell in the photos. There were also these strange marks running down the centre of every nugget where the machine pressed them into the standard McNugget "shapes". These press marks took on a different colour from the rest of the meat, likely due where water collected in the steam cooking process, which made the nuggets look like they had something running through them.  They were identical to the size and shape of standard nuggets, but because they weren't breaded or fried, eating nearly 100% meat meant that these were very rubbery and some of the oddest texture I've ever had at a McDonald's. 

McDonald's Taiwan 一口咬麥麥鷄 快樂兒童餐 August 2016
Strangely enough, the taste actually reminded me of something, and I took me a long time to place.  Growing up in Canada, there were these boxed Chicken Burger patties that you could buy in the frozen food aisle, a university student on a budget such as myself may have purchased a box or seven from time to time if they went on sale...these tasted exactly like they did.  In a sandwich, that rubbery texture could be tolerated since you'd top it off with some veg and in my case, spicy mustard. Eaten pretty much on their own, since McDonald's didn't include a dipping sauce with the Happy Meal (that sauce in the above promotional photo is Ketchup) these were not great. They didn't taste bad, they were just very, very bland and when combined with the rubbery texture they weren't something I'd want to order again, even as a healthy "snack".  The promoted "Veggie" blended with the nuggets were honestly no larger than specks of pepper, and there's no way you'd be getting any nutritional value out of however much was in there, let alone flavour.  

McDonald's Taiwan Happy Meal Milk - August 2016
McDonald's Taiwan - Happy Meal Fruit Bag August 2016
However, if I had a child that wanted McDonald's this would be the first choice I would recommend them if they wanted a meal. The slightly bland taste is probably just fine for kids if they haven't already been hooked on their fried cousins. Although I personally don't like ketchup, but just like McDonald's Taiwan own commercial indicates, when topped with ketchup a kids would probably be able to really enjoy them without any issue.  This is also one of the first times in recent memory that a McDonald's in Asia have replaced a Happy Meal option with a healthy alternative.  McDonald's in Japan rolled out a Veggie Burger alongside the normal options last year (I reviewed the "adult menu" version) but that disappeared about 6 months after it launched, I hope these don't meet the same fate.

Rating 2/5