McDonald's Menu Items That Are Only Available Outside The US

If you're one of those unicorn creatures who have never been to McDonald's, you must've at least heard about this massive fast food chain. In short, McDonald's is everywhere. According to CNBC, McDonald's has stores on all continents apart from Antarctica and is one of the most familiar franchise businesses in the world. This success is certainly not accidental. The company has had a smart approach to expansion, leading most of its regional outlets to develop into successful enterprises.

Consistency and uniformity might be one of the reasons why McDonald's has managed to rise to the top in the competitive world of fast food. Regardless of where you are located, a Big Mac order will just about always deliver the same quality and familiar, almost comforting flavors. Though McDonald's menu is dominated by these time-honored all-stars, many don't know that the company also customizes its regional menus, enriching them with some local flavors to cater to its diners' food preferences.

This round-up will take you around the world to introduce some utterly delicious McDonald's items that you will never see anywhere in the U.S.

Teriyaki burgers – Japan

Traditional Japanese cuisine is often lauded as one of the finest and most beloved in the world, but fast food still reigns supreme. So, it's no surprise that McDonald's is one of the most common fast food options you will encounter in Japan. Along with some standard items, the chain's unique Japanese menu offers a decent selection of dishes featuring local ingredients and flavors. One of the most successful examples is the teriyaki-based menu in which teriyaki — a traditional combination of soy sauce and rice wine used for all manner of culinary purposes — takes the leading role.

As Japan Today describes, the first McDonald's teriyaki burger was introduced to Japan in 1989. As it's still a part of the menu, it's safe to say that this locally-inspired item was a great success. Though teriyaki-flavored dishes change — the lineup currently includes a classic pork burger and a chicken filet sandwich — it seems that this Japanese edition has a solid following and will probably remain part of the regional McDonald's menu for years to come.

Bulgogi burgers – South Korea

South Korea's McDonald's burger menu mainly includes the stable of food favorites you might find at any location, but one item stands out in this nation. The bulgogi burger is only found on the South Korean McDonald's menu and includes lettuce, mayonnaise, and a classic pork patty that has been marinated in bulgogi sauce. MasterClass explains that traditional bulgogi is a meat dish that employs a soy-based sauce usually used to marinate meat for classic Korean barbecue. 

As it consists of several condiments, the marinade usually imparts spicy, sweet, and smoky flavors. Along with the classic Bulgogi Burger, the current offer includes an Egg Bulgogi and the massive Double Bulgogi that packs in two pork patties between buns.

Business Insider had some raving reviews for the Bulgogi Burger, claiming it is one of the best menu options at the South Korean McDonald's, with a tender and smooth patty. Meanwhile, the sauce gave the burger an intriguing sweet kick. Based on this description, it's a shame that the burger is only reserved for South Korean locations.

Torta de banana – Brazil

Some of you are surely big fans of the McDonald's Apple Pie, widely familiar throughout the United States. This crisp pocket of dough filled with sweet, diced apples is standard in many McDonald's outlets around the world. However, the chain also regularly releases pie specials that retain the typical hand pie shape but switch up the fillings with some seasonal or local ingredients. McDonald's Brazil does sell the standard apple pie, but its offer also includes a banana version that is more in line with regional flavors and local culinary traditions. Known as Torta de Banana, the dessert is filled with a gooey banana mixture neatly packed inside flaky pie dough.

As if the luscious banana filling and pie dough were not enough, at one point Brazilian outlets offered a somewhat decadent dessert combination known as Tortinha Delice. The order consisted of the banana pie doused in nutty Nutella spread and served with a heap of whipped cream on the side. The whole combination was then dusted with farofa (toasted cassava). Though Tortinha Delice is currently not available, it's clear that this take on banana pie remains a permanent fixture on the Brazilian menu.

Churros – South Korea

Churros are best described as thin tubes of dough that are fried until they turn wonderfully golden and crisp. These elongated doughnuts originate from Spain, but though it would be reasonable to find them on the Spanish menu, currently McDonald's only sells them at South Korean stores. As per Brand Eating, churros were added to the standard McDonald's menu in 2015. As these menu items are still on offer, we can only assume that South Koreans are big fans of crispy fried dough sticks that come covered in cinnamon sugar. The combination sounds like a dessert dream, so who can blame anyone who's a churro fan?

American McDonald's locations currently don't feature churros on the menu. Even sadder, there is no indication that it might happen in the future. But perhaps there's a workaround, as you can ask for a special churro order at your local McDonald's. According to a viral TikTok posted by a McDonald's employee, a churro-like treat can be quickly assembled with sliced hamburgers buns that are deep-fried and coated in sugar. The result may not compare to authentic churros, but it's worth an ask so long as you're polite and the franchise isn't overly busy.

McRaclette – Switzerland

If this is the first time you've heard about raclette, then prepare yourself, as you're missing out on a seriously cheesy treat. Per USA Today, raclette is a type of Swiss cheese, but the term is often applied to a preparation technique in which a wheel of cheese is first heated. As the cheese melts, it is scraped directly onto the plate, usually together with some potatoes (via My Switzerland). 

Swiss McDonald's franchises decided to draw on this local specialty and incorporate it into a sandwich, leading to the creation of the McRaclette burger. McDonald's described the McRaclette as a delicious combination of a beef patty topped with raclette cheese, pickles, onions, and a spicy raclette-based sauce. The combination is served on a sandwich bread made with local flour. Diners can also add in some crispy fried bacon.

The McRaclette was reintroduced at the beginning of 2023 and is now part of the standard offerings at most Swiss McDonald's locations. Along with the classic version, this recent limited offer includes a spicier version deemed the McRaclette Chili.

Arepas – Venezuela

Arepas are a supremely popular culinary invention that comes from Latin America, though they are primarily associated with the foodways of Venezuela and Colombia. These small, round flatbreads are made with corn flour and are traditionally used in place of bread. In traditional form, you typically find them sliced and stuffed with typically savory ingredients. The fillings can include simple butter or cheese spreads, but they are also often packed with more nutritious options that usually combine meat, egg, or veggies (via Britannica).

Arepas are often eaten for breakfast. As just reading the description alone is quite filling, it's not surprising that Venezuelan McDonald's locations feature arepas on their standard breakfast menu. The options here include the basic cheese arepa that is generously filled with gooey yellow cheese. Then, there's an upgraded version that adds ham to the mix. Another variety has a relatively nutritious combination of scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and cheese as a filling.

1955 burger – South Korea

Along with bulgogi burgers, the 1955 burger is one of the more unique menu options that are available at South Korean McDonald's franchises. This burger is supposed to imitate the original beef-packed McDonald's burger that was introduced in 1955, hence the name. This burger was occasionally released by several international outlets, but only as a limited-time offer. It never made its way to U.S. menus, which is doubly surprising given that it was inspired by the American original.

South Korean McDonald's website describes the 1955 burger as a combination of a beef patty topped with grilled onions, a slice of cheese, and the chain's signature 1955 sauce. As the Korea Herald reported, the burger is an homage to the original beefy burgers and was first added to the South Korean menu in 2014. Along with beef and cheese, it also includes a slice of tomato, fresh lettuce, and crispy fried bacon.

Empanada de queso — South America

Empanadas are downright legendary hand pies that are ubiquitous in many South American nations. Some varieties can also be found in Spain and Portugal, speaking to the international popularity of this dish. An empanada usually consists of a thinly rolled dough that's then folded in a half-moon shape and packed with various savory or sweet fillings. Depending on the type of empanada in question, they are either baked or deep-fried (via Britannica). Versatile and convenient empanadas are one of the most beloved South American culinary traditions out there, so it seems logical that McDonald's added the classic cheese empanada to some of its regional menus.

Currently, an Empanada De Queso is available at Colombian and Venezuelan McDonald's stores. In Venezuela, they are part of the standard menu alongside arepas, while Colombian franchises categorize empanadas as a side dish. The items look slightly different, but we're sure that any combination of flaky pastry and gooey cheese can't be bad. This cheesy snack would surely be a welcome addition to the U.S. McDonald's market, too.

Angus beef burgers – Multiple locations

The mere description of an Angus burger can get seriously mouthwatering. As Australian McDonald's illustrates, the patty for this meaty all-star is exclusively made with Australian Angus beef. It comes topped with a classic McDonald's combination of cheese, pickles, tomato, onions, and mustard. Though Angus beef is available at several regional outlets — you can also find it in Singapore, for instance — it does not appear anywhere in the U.S. The reason is pretty straightforward: it's simply too expensive for many American consumers.

Reuters reported that Angus burgers were once part of the standard McDonald's menu in the U.S. But, in 2013, the company decided to discontinue all the Angus-based items due to the high beef prices in the U.S. market. The franchise didn't completely dismiss the idea of bringing the burger back once the prices improved, though an Angus burger has yet to return to American McDonald's spots. And while a lot of time has passed since that fateful decision, there is still hope for all U.S.-based Angus beef lovers who don't mind paying a bit extra for top quality.

Potato scallops with chicken salt — Australia

Australians have long argued over what everyone is supposed to call a dish made up of thinly sliced, fried potato slices. The treat is quite popular in the Land Down Under but goes by different names depending on the location. One Reddit user mapped all the different expressions across the nation. While potato scallops are the most common appellation, you will also find the same dish labeled potato cakes, potato fritters, or scallops. When these battered and fried potato slices were added to the Australian McDonald's menu, the chain chose the most obvious alternative and branded them as potato scallops.

Potato Scallops order at McDonald's will get you a heap of thin potato slices that have been coated in a crisp batter. But that's not all there is to this regional specialty. Every order also arrives with a side of chicken salt. If this is the first time you've heard about this Aussie special, you may be won over. America's Test Kitchen describes chicken salt as a garlic-forward spice blend that combines salt and other seasonings into a fine powder that adds a unique flavor kick to any dish. And, no, there's no chicken in the mix; rather, it's meant to be applied to chicken. 

Potato Scallops are listed as a side dish at Macca's, but judging by the description, we wouldn't mind having them as the main course if the American outlets ever add this Aussie special to their menus.

Sausage n' egg twisty pasta — Hong Kong

Take a visit to a Hong Kong McDonald's and you'll likely find nearly all of your McDonald's favorites, but one selection of dishes stands out from the rest. The Sausage N' Egg Twisty Pasta is a bowl of pasta topped with sausage meat and an egg, all doused with a warm chicken or tonkatsu broth and some veggies. The combination may sound unusual, but the most extraordinary thing about the dish is that it is part of the regular breakfast menu in Hong Kong. Instead of the classic McMuffin order someone may put in at a U.S. location, here you can switch up your breakfast for a bowl of pasta. Along with the sausage option, the dish also comes in grilled chicken and ham versions.

We're not sure what to make of this combination, though according to some of the reviews, the item is perhaps not the best thing on the menu. As one Reddit user claims, the dish is an underwhelming blend of sausage, egg, and under-seasoned, murky pasta water. Based on the different breakfast cultures in the states and Hong Kong, we think that it's unlikely this dish will be added to U.S. McDonald's menus anytime soon.

McPollo Italiano – Chile

If you'd expected that something called the McPollo Italiano would be featured on the menus of Italian McDonald's shops, then think again. The McPollo Italiano is a chicken sandwich that you can currently find only in Chile. The combination is not overly unusual, with a bun that holds a deep-fried chicken cutlet topped with tomato slices, mayo, and a generous heap of mashed avocado.

But why the "Italiano" moniker? It's actually quite simple. The combination of green avocado, white mayo, and red tomato slices mimics the colors found on the Italian flag, though we're unsure what to make of the fried chicken under the toppings when it comes to national hues.

Though there is nothing Italian about it in a culinary sense, the sandwich sounds quite interesting and would make a nice addition to any McDonald's menu. Still, judging by how expensive avocado is these days, it might not be the best option for countries that don't grow avocados or markets where consumers aren't willing to pony up for a fast food sandwich.

McMolletes – Mexico

Currently only available at Mexican McDonald's locations, McMolletes are McDonald's items that have been modeled on local tastes. The dish consists of three bread slices that are topped with beans, cheese, and fresh salsa. As the name suggests, the dish was added to the local menu as a fast-food version of the local molletes, a Mexican breakfast staple usually made with sliced, toasted buns served with an array of sweet and savory toppings. Cheese-based versions are usually broiled to make the cheese soft and gooey. The bean and cheese molletes featured on McDonald's menu are considered to be a classic savory version (via My Slice of Mexico).

Just like traditional molletes, this fast-food version is also a part of the breakfast menu. McDonald's recommends a glass of orange juice or a cup of coffee on the side. The entire combination sounds nutritious and wholesome, so it's a shame that the dish doesn't currently appear on American menus.

Corn soup drink – Taiwan

Soups are one of the things you will not commonly find on a McDonalds's menu stateside. Indeed, most fast food chains shy away from making soups a part of their standard offerings, which makes this corn-packed soup one of the quirkiest international items in this round-up. Corn soup is available at McDonald's Taiwan, where it's proven to be something of a local hit. One TikTok user describes it as a smooth and sweet meal with whole corn lingering at the bottom of the cup.

What may sound a bit off to American consumers is how McDonald's Taiwan proposes that you enjoy the soup with burgers, chicken nuggets, or fries, suggesting it's supposed to play the role of a side dish. On the other hand, Insider claims that the soup was offered as a drink option in Taiwan. Regardless of how you're supposed to consume it, we think that it would be nice to have the soup option at an American McDonald's for the sake of variety.

Sundae de dulce de leche – South America

Nothing beats the classic ice cream served up at McDonald's. The creamy swirl of not-overly sweet vanilla-flavored soft serve is possibly the greatest icy treat available at fast food restaurants. Then, there are the sauces. Standard topping choices at most U.S. McDonald's shops include gooey chocolate fudge and caramel. Though we have nothing against these classics, Argentinian outlets have something that sounds superior to the caramel fudge — the gooey, caramel-like dulce de leche sundae topping sauce.

If you think that this is just a classic American sundae with caramel sauce, you would be mistaken. As The Pioneer Woman clarifies, the two ingredients are similar but not the same. Dulce de leche will typically have a silkier and smoother texture than caramel, given that it's made with additional milk and sugar.

You can find this menu item in a few other South American countries, which is not surprising as dulce de leche has gained quite a following outside of its purported origin in Argentina. It is currently available in several regional outlets, including Uruguay and Ecuador, but seeing that this caramel-like treat has become a coveted international ingredient, we wouldn't mind seeing it at McDonald's franchises in the U.S., too.