McDonalds of the World: McArabia in Abu Dhabi

Besides social culture, there is also a diversity of culinary cultures around the world. We Pinoys love rice, the Americans go for mashed potato, the Italians prefer bread. Unsurprisingly, this also applies to fastfood stores. McDonald’s, possibly the world’s largest fastfood chain, is one good example. Although they have a preset list of menu items like the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, and Filet-o-Fish which can be ordered from any branch, each country with a McDonald’s franchise has added their own personal touch.

McDonald’s of the World: Abu Dhabi
Here in McDonald’s Philippines, we have fried chicken, the McSpaghetti and rice meals. We don’t think anything of it and it’s nothing unsual for us; besides, local fastfood chains sell it too, we’re used to it, it’s nothing special for us. But bring a foreigner to a McDonald’s here and he’ll be surprised to find them on the menu (they’d also be surprised at the smaller sized drink cups and french fries, but that’s another story). In other countries, they have different specialties as well, and you’d be surprised at how unusual some are.
McArabia (12 dirhams or 145 pesos)
A trip to Abu Dhabi is the reason for starting this series called “McDonald’s of the World” where we’ll  be documenting different McDonald’s menu items from all over the world (those we’ve been to, at least). Someday, I hope to travel the world and blog about all of them (the following posts on this series won’t be as long and boring as this, I promise). Anyhoots, moving on, I stopped by a McDonald’s in Abu Dhabi and tried their delicious McArabia.
The two flavors of McArabia
Available in McDonald’s in the Middle East, this sandwich comes in two varieties- chicken and kofta (beef). The meat patties are grilled  and served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mayonnaise enveloped inside Arabic soft pita bread and wrapped in paper inside a box similar to the apple pie box, but bigger. Not something you’d expect from a fastfood, yea?
I was able to try both, and to me they had a relatively similar taste- peppery, instead of salty. They kind of came across as bland to my Filipino tongue (we like things rich in taste). They both tasted healthy, but that’s not to say that they weren’t good. They were, in fact, fantastic. The beef had a slightly tougher consistency than the chicken and had additional unique spices which were really good, if a bit unusual. I enjoyed both immensely but I’m more a fan of the chicken McArabia, simply for the texture (I love chicken). I really wish that McDonald’s here had healthier choices like the McArabia.


Useless fact of the day: I can’t stop myself from singing “Arabian Nights” from Aladdin when I read/hear the word Arabia.

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Mel is a developer by day, a couch potato by night, and a bacon lover at all times. She likes good noms, cute puppies, the color orange, and all things bacon. You may contact her at admin@bacontunamelt.com or anywhere via this blog.

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  1. Anonymous

    in new zealand, they've got kiwiburgers, which have an egg and beetroot in them.

    i remember that in singapore they had spicy chicken wings.

    do they have macafe in the philippines? that was australian originally but has spread to europe and to america.

  2. Steel

    True. All "Kabayans" in the UAE find the local fastfood chicken "lasang papel", due to its bland taste compared to its zingy MSG-laden counterpart in the Philippines.

  3. abumelt

    @Steel: Not to mention the very tasty fried chicken from McDonald's local competitor, Jollibee. But I have no complaints, all I have is love for ChickenJoy.


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