McDonald's has finally done for pigs what it did for chickens in the last generation: nuggetized the leftovers into a frankly irresistible combination dubbed Spicy Pork McBites, or 脆辣猪猪球 (loosely and perhaps unappetizingly translated by yours truly as Piggy Balls).
Done in a Chicken McNuggets style, these porky spheres of goodness have a crispy coating like their poultry counterparts, but the added bonus of a delicious, mildly spicy bite to them courtesy of that wonderful salt-pepper-MSG combination known as 椒盐, technically salt and pepper but so much more.
A small order costs RMB 9.50 and contains 18 McBites. The lot is served in a contoured container that may remind some Americans of those used to hold takeaway Chinese food. The bites themselves recall competitor KFC's popcorn chicken.
Breaded and fried, the McBites start with a peppery flavor, which segues into a slight hint of spicy ma la. The pork seems to be dark meat – we didn't know pork had dark meat. The meat is tender, not chewy. It's easy to eat a lot of these if you're not paying too much attention.
In the country that consumes more pork than any other in the world, Spicy Pork McBites could be a hit. The only question is whether Chinese consumers will actually go to McDonald's for the meat that already appears in most Chinese dishes, or if they will still opt for two all-beef patties et al. Order them here or at any McDonald's restaurant in China.
Images: Steven Schwankert/the Beijinger