23 September, 2017

Spicy Korean Burger w. Criss Cut Chips & Pulut Hitam Pie - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - September 2017

Spicy Korean Burger - Malaysia 2017
Spicy Korean Burger Black Bun

Consumed on 20 September 2017
Location - McDonald's Sogo Department Store, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Burger Combo Price - 17.59MYR = $4.21USD. Pie Price 3.95MYR = $0.95USD
Calories - Unknown

I didn't expect there to be an entire month break between my last review from Taiwan and now, but even though I made trips to both Singapore, and Japan, over the last few weeks, neither gave me the opportunity to try something new for the blog.  My trip to Japan was especially disappointing, since they were running both a Tokyo Roast Beef Burger, and an Osaka Donkatsu Burger, but either Okinawa Island where I was visiting either never offer those promos, or they were already sold out across the island, but I tried to visit at least 5 branches to find them only to be denied each time.  My trip to Malaysia earlier this week I was at lucky enough to find the Spicy Korean Burger on the tail end of it's promo run, since most branches had already replaced it with the "Syok" Chicken.  

McDonald's Malaysia Receipt 2017
Spicy Korean Burger Box - McDonald's Malaysia 2017
Sarang Hae Spicy?  Really?
This isn't the first time the Spicy Korean Burger has made an appearance at McDonald's Malaysia, as it quickly sold out in July of this year only to be brought back for a few more weeks in September.  When I mentioned what I ate to a few people our office, they were shocked that I was able to find the burger and asked which branch still had it.  All mention of it on the official website were removed about 2 weeks ago, so the branch I found likely was just clearing out the end of their stock.  As my photos easily show, the burger was topped with a charcoal-coloured Black Bun, but coloured buns have been so common in Asia over recent years, it was hardly a selling point.  What was special about this burger was the Kimchi-seasoned beef patty, and the "Korean" spicy sauce.  

First, I have absolutely no idea what those track marks on the top bun were from.  They weren't supposed to be there, and since I was in a rush to do some last minute shopping before heading back to Thailand, I didn't feel like asking either, so I just tore that part off. In retrospect I probably should have asked, since it does look like something ran over the bun...Like every other black or coloured bun I've had before, it didn't taste anything different than a standard bun. 

The toppings weren't all that exciting either, mostly lettuce, but there was a sprinkling of cabbage on there like other Korean-themed burgers I've had over the years. I was impressed that they used two slices of cheese, as most burgers in Asia are restricted to one.  

When this burger was about to be released, many people reported that Korean Spicy Sauce was going to be a Korean Gochuchang, which is a dark red-pepper paste used heavily in Korea, but those were mostly incorrect as the sauce used was still a standard McDonald's mayo-based sauce. It was orange, and didn't resemble gochuchang at all, and it didn't really taste any different from a standard "spicy" sauce used on burgers.  It wasn't bad, it just wasn't Korean at all.

The beef was what I was most excited to try, since it was supposed to be Kimchi "seasoned" and to me, that just sounded, well, wrong.   Long time readers will know that I started this blog when I was living in Korea, and my wife is Korean...I know my kimchi.  In Korea, "kimchi" is a side dish or an ingredient, not a seasoning nor a 'flavour'. I know in South East Asia you can find Kimchi-flavoured snacks, and Singapore just had Kimchi Shakers, but that's just not really common in Korea at all.  So to me, a Kimchi-seasoned beef patty was either going to be horrible, or amazing, if done right.  This beef took me completely by surprised and leaned surprisingly towards the amazing side, as I was extremely impressed.  The beef did have a pickled kimchi-esc hit too it, but you wouldn't be finding any cabbage or other veg here as they almost certainly seasoned the beef in kimchi brine rather than trying to do something silly like use vegetables mixed in the patty.  The vinegariness of the brine was subtle and nearly hidden out by flavours of the sauce and the cheese, but you could taste it if you knew what to look for. I wouldn't be surprised at all if people said this burger doesn't taste like Kimchi at all, and that's correct. If you've ever had Kimchi-fried-rice, where they mix cabbage kimchi and make fried rice out of it.  That sourness of the rice that you can taste even when you don't have any veg in your bite, is as close as an example as I can think of to try and compare it too. 

McDonald's Malaysia Criss Cut Chips 2017

I only tried the Criss Cut Chips because getting a combo was something like 2MYR ($0.48USD) more than getting the burger on it's own, and the Criss Cut Chips have had a style change since I had them last.  They used to be significantly thicker and waffle-fry cut, and much like other non-french fry potato items, back then they were soggy and pretty gross.  Now that they were as thin as crisps, they were crunchy, and the slightly more well done pieces that I could dig up from the box, I rather enjoyed.  Although there was a clear variance in even the single box I was served, as some were crispy, but others were half-cooked and stuck together. 

Some burnt, some undercooked - all from the same box.
 Last but not least would be the Pulut Hitam Pie.  It's been a while since I've had a really 'local' McDonald's pie, and they are usually pretty hit or miss in my books.  To the non-Bahasa speakers Pulut Hitam is black sticky rice pudding, usually sweetened and served with coconut milk. 

McDonald's Pulut Hitam Pie - Sticky Black Rice Pudding Pie
The building this McDonald's was in was closing about 20min after I ordered, so I half expected the pies to be either finished, or in terrible shape after sitting most of the evening.  This pie actually seemed pretty fresh, as the outer fried crust wasn't soggy, and the filling still quite warm.  The black rice fulling was a bit on the light side, but it at least filled the pie from end to end. I know it will sound unappetising, but the rice had an almost chalky texture to it, which is exactly what should be.  There wasn't any visible coconut milk in there, but you could definitely taste it, likely as the base of the syrup that surrounded the rice.  It also meant the pie was not unbearingly sweet at all, and discounting the savoury pies that you might get in Thailand, or maybe the Georgie Pie in New Zealand this was one of the least-sweet pies I've ever had!

Spicy Korean Burger - 4/5
Criss Cut Chips - 3.5/5
Pulut Hitam Pie - 4.5/5

Just like the track marks on my burger bun, my pie box had small pieces of loose, fried pie filling floating around inside.  I at first thought it might have been something that leaked out of my pie and fell into the box, but I checked and the pie I had was completely intact. They were very hard, and definetly had a round through the fryer, but I didn't dare try one...

McDonald's Malaysia Syok Chicken Burger 2017
This is the Burger Syok that replaced the Spicy Korean Burger.  I had the chance to review either, and I think I made the right decision by skipping this one, as it looks like a pretty plain spicy chicken promo. 

McDonald's Malaysia Salted Caramel McFlurry 2017
They also had a Salted Caramel dessert range, and the branch I was visiting, still had the Durian McFlurry on offer.  Durian is something I've had before, and don't really feel like having again, so I gave both a pass.