Friday, November 16, 2007

Golden Arches

In all the whirlwind of activity yesterday, I forgot all about the highlight of my afternoon... our trip to the American Embassy.

You see, I don't care much (or really at all) for McDonald's at home, but I love trying it in each country I visit, just to see what's different. Blame it on all those years spent as an anthropology major... Or better yet, blame it on my morbid curiosity.

So disappointingly, our Nippon-bound representatives of American culture and foodways don't offer too many items different from what you'd find in, say, Stillwater, Oklahoma. If anything, the menu is much smaller. There's the local variant of McDonald's normal line of food: The Teriyaki Burger. Blah. It's like a regular Mickey D's burger slathered in teriyaki sauce.

Then there's the McPork, which I'm going to have to try. But this time around, I went for the Japanese substitute for the Filet o'Fish, the Ebi Filet-O. Ebi means shrimp, by the way.

At first, things look disappointingly mundane. You open the sandwich up and there's a piece of iceberg lettuce and a golden brown, generic patty that could be anything from chicken to fish to soy-based meat substitute. But tear it in half and there's a beautifully realistic rendering of shrimpy pink color.

And the taste? Oh my god, it actually tastes like honest-to-goodness fried shrimp from your local izakaya. It actually tastes GOOD. I shit you not.

Now readers who know me well may also know that, umm, I'm allergic to shrimp.

Well, it's more complicated like that. I get hives or cystic acne when I eat shrimp that's old, overly processed, or otherwise low in quality. Yeah, even my sensitivity to neurotoxins is all hoity-toity like that. So when I eat shrimp at, say, a cheap dim sum place or some pseudo-Southern fry house, I wind up with big fat zits or nasty hives on my back, either that night or by the next morning, unless I take a fistful of Benadryl.

Well, I forgot the Benadryl last night.

And I woke up this morning and my skin is clear, I'm not itchy, and feeling pretty damn good.

Which makes me think - Holy crap! McDonald's here either uses good, fresh shrimp... or has found a way to make fake shrimp that tastes just like the real deal. I'm thinking it's probably the latter... And I want their formula.


  1. I was partial to McEbi. Have you tried the Tamago Quarter Pounder?

    I make it a rule to try McD's in every country. I probably would have it a lot more often here if we had McEbis.


  2. Yeah, I have to admit, I'd probably hit McD's a lot more if they actually had McEbi in the States. Although I'm sure it'd be a half-assed version if they did.

    Tamago quarter pounder, you say? I didn't see it on the menu. I'm gonna have to see if they have it when I get to Tokyo. I love me some egg!