I love the Olympics, you guys. I LOVE THEM. I bought a YouTube TV subscription specifically so I could watch Pyeongchang live as it unfolds. (I just watched the Opening Ceremony and ugh GO AWAY MIKE PENCE.) When I tell this to people, they say, “You don’t really seem like you would be the type to love sports, Megan,” and I guess I can see how they would think that (I am actually very into soccer and tennis), but this like, isn’t even about just sports! It’s this crazy thing where everyone gets together and beats the shit out of each other athletically, rather than militarily! IT IS A BEAUTIFUL TWO WEEK MARATHON OF HOPE FOR HUMANITY!
So that’s why it’s kind of weird that I’m going to fold all of that into this edition of Sad Girl Taste Test, which, if you’re not familiar, is where I eat gross stuff for the internet, because who needs self respect when you can get clicks?! McDonald’s is a long-time sponsor of the Olympics, which doesn’t really make sense to me on a nutritional level, but whatever, gotta get those corporate bucks amirite?! In order to be THE MOST Olympic spectator, I decided to try to recreate a few of South Korea’s Mcdonald’s menu items to find out if 1. we are losing out by not living in Seoul, and 2. if I indeed felt any more Olympic post-consumption. (Spoiler alert: I did not.)
I started my depressing journey by perusing the Korean McDonald’s menu, where I picked out a few things that seemed interesting enough (and feasible enough) to replicate at home. The three that ended up making the cut were 1. the Shrimp Beef Burger (I know I just heard all of you collectively shudder), 2. the Golden Potato Bacon McMuffin (they also have a Golden Potato Tomato McMuffin, but there is no Canadian bacon on that, and I feel weirdly furious reading the words “POTATO TOMATO” in rapid succession, so I decided to skip that variation), and 3. the Mega Mac. From there, I determined which ingredients I’d need to purchase to add to existing US McDonald’s menu items in order to “Korea-fy” them, and then I headed on over to Whole Foods for a little grocery shopping adventure.
(Pictured: the TRIO OF TERROR ft. Mega Mac, Golden Potato Bacon McMuffin and Shrimp Beef Burger.)
The most obvious item I needed was shrimp, so I went to the seafood counter to order some pre-cooked cocktail shrimp. (I do not have time for raw, you guys. This is meant to be fast food.) They were also selling heart-shaped jumbo lump crab cakes for Valentine’s Day. I pointed to them and said, “That’s very funny,” to the fishmonger, and he rolled his eyes in apologetic agreement. Anyway, I think we are in a gang now. Like a sarcastic seafood gang.
Next I got a head of lettuce, a tomato and a bag of potato wedges, and my grand total for everything clocked in at about $10. McDonald’s was next.
I don’t think I have felt more shame about ordering fast food since this one time I got a lot of Burger King after I cried on the Williamsburg Bridge, which you can read about here. As I recited my order (one Egg McMuffin, one BBQ Bacon Burger, two Big Macs and one Cheeseburger), the cashier was sure to have me repeat each thing at least once, for clarity. (And shame.) The grand total was about $22, which kind of brings me physical pain. When the food finally came, I neglected to check if the order was correct, and when I got home I realized that they’d failed to include the Cheeseburger. THANKS A LOT, MCDONALD’S. The Cheeseburger was going to be for making the Hambak Burger, which has a “sweet and spicy tomato sauce” that I am assuming is just gochujang infused ketchup. I had to scrap it. Sorry I have let you all down!
I threw the potato wedges in the oven, and then got to assembling the Mega Mac and the Shrimp Beef Burger. I removed the toppings from the BBQ Bacon Burger, and then started to arrange the shrimp in a circle on the bottom bun. It looks like they maybe form the shrimp into some kind of patty in South Korea, but (to me) the shrimp looked pretty prominent, so you know what? I went shrimp-forward and just kept them as-is. I put the patty back on top of that, added a slice of tomato and some lettuce, et voila! We had surf ‘n turf takeoff!
The Mega Mac was much less traumatic to assemble; I just removed the patties from one of the Big Macs and placed them in the other. (Also, I know that America has the “Grand Mac”, but what the fuck? Everyone knows more patties = better. Even In-N-Out has a 4×4. Weak, McD’s. Weak.)
And finally, once the potato wedges were finished, I added them to an Egg McMuffin. WE WERE READY TO TASTE STUFF.
I started with the Shrimp Beef Burger, because I figured I’d at least have things to chase it with should it be too devastatingly gross to push through. And you know that feeling you get when you’re maybe going to vomit? Like that extra dose of saliva in your mouth? I got that. I don’t normally get squeamish about food (so long as it’s not mayonnaise, which I cannot do), but this was throwing me for a loop. I BROUGHT THIS ON MYSELF, though, so I took a bite anyhow. And do you know what? It was a LOT less offensive than I had worked myself up to believe it would be. The shrimp were good quality, so that was obviously very helpful. They were really mild-tasting (again, quality), and so while the flavor profile of the burger didn’t drastically change, the shrimp weirdly they added a nice textural element to the whole thing? I know that sounds fucking disgusting, but I’m just stating facts. So it wasn’t a complete failure! Would I do it again? No way! But I didn’t barf, so that’s a huge plus!
Next I tried the Golden Potato Bacon McMuffin. As you might have been able to predict, this was perfectly palatable. I would have added extra ketchup in retrospect (ANOTHER thing those McFuck-o’s forgot to put in the bag), but it’s basically just an ultimate breakfast sandwich ft. Canadian bacon, egg and home fries. I think this should be a thing in the US. I guess you could sort of hack it by adding fries to an Egg McMuffin, but actual potato wedges are p. bomb. (Gonna try not to say “bomb” again in this post; if you say it three times, North Korea will in fact press the button.)
And finally was THE MEGA MAC. First off, that name is fucking impressive. I feel ashamed that America didn’t think of it first. Second off, I was genuinely concerned I was going to go into cardiac arrest upon first bite. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Unfortunately I liked this so much that I ate THE WHOLE THING. (Don’t even worry about it, you guys. I am v. comfortable in my permanently single status!) Not that I eat McDonald’s very often, or Big Macs, for that matter, but I would never go back to a regular size Big Mac after eating this. It is so disgusting and yet so great. (Just like America!)
I didn’t feel particularly prepared to take on the planet after eating all of these things, but I also didn’t feel like I was going to die, so that was a plus. However, it turns out I was lured into a false sense of security, because about an hour later I started to take an energy nose dive. I spent the rest of my day preparing to interview Rhye over the phone, did a little more work, and then as soon as it was quittin’ time I binge-watched the entire first season of a Danish show about witches and cursed people called Heartless. I did not move from a five foot radius for like…twelve hours. I do not believe I could compete in any sort of athletic competition after this atrocious meal, let alone the Pyeongchang Olympics.
How many calories did I eat? According to McDonald’s, and according to the rest of the added ingredients, it was about 2110, give or take. I’m actually very surprised by this! I thought the total would be way higher, all things considered. (Plus I walked to Whole Foods, so my exercise actually would knock my total down to right about 2000.) Definitely not healthy (from the McDonald’s breakdown, and not from the additional ingredients, I got 195% of my DV for saturated fat, 171% my DV for cholesterol and 151% of my DV for sodium), but I did get 80% of my DV of iron just from the McDonald’s, and also 98g of protein, not including the shrimp. (Basically it all cancels out, right?)
Nutrition aside, do I think we should all move to South Korea? I mean, kind of, specifically because it’s not here, but from a culinary perspective, I would only probably really go for their ACTUALLY amazing Korean food. I hope that any Americans lucky enough to be chillin’ over there for the Winter Olympics will avoid McDonald’s and instead take advantage of all the dope cuisine that Korea has to offer!
In sum, we are coming up on 24-hours post-meal, and I have not eaten anything else, nor do I want to eat anything else for at least another half of a day. As usual, this was a dumb idea, but now you know that if you truly hate yourself and want to go big demonstrating that, the Mega Mac is just a McHack away!