27 May, 2017

Potato Grid (脆薯格) & Korean Yuzu Punch (韓式柚子特飲) - Hong Kong - May 2017

Potato Grid (脆薯格) - McDonald's Hong Kong May 2017

Korean Yuzu Punch (韓式柚子特飲) - Hong Kong - May 2017 

Consumed on 09 May 2017
Location - McDonald's Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
Potato Grid Price - $3HKD = $0.38USD with any combo purchase. 
Korean Yuzu Punch Price - $4HKD = $0.51USD with any combo purchase.
Calories - Unknown
McDonald's Hong Kong Receipt May 2017
My sides together with my meal
2 weeks back when I tried the Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Burger in Hong Kong, I paid a slight upcharge required for both the available promotional sides, Potato Grids, which are basically known everywhere else as Waffle Fries, and a Korean Yuzu Punch, which was leftover from a promo from the month prior. This isn't the first time Potato Grids have made it on the McDonald's Hong Kong menu either. A quick Google search seems to show that their first appearance was around Halloween 2015, but I seem to remember seeing them before that, but I guess it could have been somewhere else, this is however the first time I've been able to try them at any McDonald's, since they don't appear nearly as often as Twisty Fries do.  

When I was served my order, the very first thing that caught my eye were the cute "Line" characters that graced all sides of the box. These characters distracted me for a few seconds, only for me to then realise how small the actual box was - nice try McD's HK!   You had to pay extra to swap your standard Medium Fries for a box of Potato Grids these are easily 1/2 the size of the standard fry.  Due to the waffle shape of the fries themselves, it appeared like the box was stuffed full, but in reality there were about 10 or so pieces in the entire box.  They ranged from the size of a small 2.5x2.5cm coin to about double that, nothing massive hidden away in there, but still a respectable size. There wasn't really any consistency I could find with the size they were all a bit different from each other, but each piece had a full and clear waffle shape. Most surprisingly was that all pieces retained their full round shape and weren't broken up or deformed like the McDonald's Twisty/Curly fries, or hell, even standard fries usually ended up looking like.  The fries were seasoned, and tasted pretty much like any pre-seasoned fry does, salty, slightly peppery as well.  But the huge problem with my portion was that they were served cold...

I ordered my meal in the busy lunchtime rush, so they should have been moving fries pretty quickly without time for them to sit, but somehow these fries tasted like they were cooked well over an hour before I ate them. They didn't even taste like they were sitting under a heat lamp, as they were stone cold.  I wonder if that's because they could have been cooked in a different fryer from the standard fries which doesn't have a heat lamp whilst they wait? My colleagues that had standard fries, and one even fried chicken, were all served a fresh, so it was clearly a problem with only the Grids.  The strange thing was that even though these were cold, they weren't horrible in that state. Due to their unique shape, after frying they didn't leave much soft potato in the centre, so the result was they were crispy like a potato chip, and not soggy like a french fry would have been.  The seasoning even made it taste more like a chip, but that was clearly not intentional. Don't get me wrong, they would have been much better had they been fresh, but unashamedly I ended up eating the whole cold box...

As I mentioned earlier, the Korean Yuzu Punch didn't launch together with the Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Burger in May 2017, but it came out a month earlier with the Tokyo Night burger (a beef burger with egg) and Korean-themed McNugget Sauces (I won't spoil the names of those as a review will be coming). McDonald's Hong Kong has a habit of letting their promo sides run long if they don't finish the stock, so I was lucky enough to catch Korean-flavoured drink.  McDonald's Hong Kong ran a Yuzu McShaker late last year, and I as mentioned in that review, the Korean name for the Mandarin Orange is Yuja.  I reviewed a Yuja McFlurry in Korea way back in 2011, and even a similarly named Yuzu McFizz in Singapore in 2014, which shared a similar name, but nothing else.  The Yuzu McFizz was orange syrup mixed with Sprite, whereas this Hong Kong release was a sweetened Green Tea base with actual pieces of fruit mixed in.  It reminded me of the Kumquat (there's a flavour you don't see at McDonald's all that often) Punch with the small pieces of fruit mixed in. 

I really hope that since this was a near-the-end-of-its-run serving but the large pieces of fruit were far too big for the standard straw, which made this a pain in the ass to drink.  Whenever you'd take a sip, the fruit pieces would block the bottom of the straw preventing any suction.  I resorted to getting the tea from the top of the cup and tried to avoid the fruit.  The tea did have a bit of orange flavouring mixed in, likely from the syrup of the fruit, but it wasn't that strong, I think the intention here was that you'd get fruit together with your tea, but it simply wasn't possible.  It's not like a stray piece that happened to be too big, but every single piece was too large, which meant that even after struggling getting the tea out, all the fruit remained at the bottom of the cup.  I tried to fish some out using straws as a pair of chopsticks, but they just tasted like canned fruit, so I ended up leaving them.  Being a Yuzu flavoured drink, Mandarin Orange pieces were in there, but they also had a few Pineapples and Cherries in there for good measure - too bad I didn't get to taste any...

Potato Grid (脆薯格) - 2/5
Korean Yuzu Punch (韓式柚子特飲) - 1/5

The tray liner was showing how to create and play a traditional Korean game called Ddakji, so you could fold then throw around?  I guess it could be cool, if you didn't get food or grease all over it.