2012 Jul 02 Gold Medal Arches: McDonald's Selling Olympic-Themed Beijing Chicken Burger
McDonald's new menu honoring previous hosts of the Olympics includes a "Beijing Chicken" burger, but it remains to be seen whether the burger will actually be sold in its namesake city. In the meantime, we're stuck with the London games-themed "British Beef Burger" and a torch-like "British Chicken Wrap."
As far as I can tell, the Beijing Chicken Burger has so far only been released in Australia and New Zealand. According to Burger Business, McDonald's new "Flavours of the Games" menu items in Australia also include: Sydney Stack Burger, Barcelona Omelette, Paris Choc Delight, Atlanta McRib and London Fish & Fries.
It's not exactly clear what goes on the burger, but judging from the picture it's a crispy hunk of chicken with lettuce, cucumber, sweet chilli sauce and some kind of mayonnaise. I'm open to pushback on this, but it sounds like a near match for those RMB 5 bags of chicken sandwiches that are lying around Chaoshifa and Jingkelong markets. In that respect, kudos to McDonald's for commitment to authenticity, though I am a little disappointed that McDonald's didn't go for the obvious play with a "Beijing Duck" sandwich/burger.
Just in case you want to know what you're missing, here are some unverified testimonials from McDonald's New Zealand's Facebook page:
Given running sensation Usain Bolt's penchant for Chicken McNuggets in Beijing, I was curious to know what he thinks of the Beijing Chicken. I've reached out to him for comment and will let you know if I hear back from him.
Promotional materials for the Beijing burger say it's available Down Under until July 17th, so you've still got time to book your tickets. But … if trying the limited-time only Beijing Chicken isn't worth a special trip for you, you can hop on over to local Beijing McDonald's franchises for a different taste of the games.
I had their "British Beef Burger" yesterday and was only a little sad. I didn't have any objections to the two beef patties, gobs of cheese or mushrooms, but the "unique British special sauce" (独特英伦风味酱, dute yinglun fengwei jiang) tasted like someone had drizzled corn syrup on some Thousand Island dressing and left it out in the sun. I've just been informed by a colleague that the sauce may in fact be an attempt at piccalilli.
I tried the "British Chicken Wrap" this afternoon. If this were an Olympic event, the wrap would have barely edged out the burger in terms of palatability. Considering what I know about British food, I'm tempted to again grant McDonald's points here for authenticity, but my boss is British, so I'll leave the judging up to you.
This latest parade of Olympic tie-in food comes as critics have taken up a new round of challenging McDonald's longstanding – and not the least bit ironic – role as an official sponsor of the games. An opinion editorial from Australia's Herald Sun, published shortly after the Olympic menu launched in the country, called for the Olympic Organizing Committee to "reconsider" sponsorship from the Golden Arches.
Of course, it's already too late for the OOC to do anything about the London games. McDonald's just finished building the largest outlet in the world at the Olympic Park.
Impressive. Someone should get these guys a medal or something.
If you're hungry for more Olympic nostalgia, check out the comparisons people are making between Beijing 2008 and London 2012.