McDonald's foods you haven't tried yet

"They call it a Royale with cheese."

In an iconic, oft-parodied scene from Pulp Fiction, we learned that a Quarter Pounder is called a Royal in France. But it's not just the names that distinguish international McDonald's menus from McDonald's menus in the U.S.

With locations in more than 100 countries, the fast food empire has maneuvered to appeal to local palettes by infusing regional food with local flavors. In addition to buying local ingredients, McDonald's international branches offer dishes inspired by local cuisine on top of obligatory menus of hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries.

If you haven't gone on a fast food tour of the world (yet), this means the globe abounds with McDonald's food you've never tasted — and perhaps never even knew existed. To start you off on your fry and McFlurry-fraught journey, we've rounded up some of the tastiest McDonald's foods you probably haven't tried yet.  

McMolletes

Ever heard of molletes? They're a traditional Mexican snack that tops toasted, buttered bread with beans, melted cheese, and salsa, in addition to whatever other ingredients suits the chef's fancy. You can think of molletes as a kind of Mexican bruschetta.

Now, imagine if molletes and the McMuffin had a love child. You've got the basic idea for the McMollete, a breakfast item on the menu of McDonald's locations in Mexico. An order of McMolletes comes with three toasted mini English muffins, each topped with a slice of cheese, refried beans, and pico de gallo.

As McMollete are available exclusively in McDonald's Mexico, you'll have to travel south of the border to get your hands on an order of these lil' open-face bocadillos. Luckily, you'll have plenty of locations to choose from: Mexico is home to over 400 McDonald's restaurants. The country welcomed its first McDonald's ever way back in 1985 with traffic jams and hours-long lines.

Shaka shaka chicken

In a country notorious for creative, delectable, and sometimes downright weird culinary inventions, McDonald's Japan doesn't disappoint. Over the years, the Japanese McDonald's has unleashed inspired dishes like the McChocolate potatoes and Cheese Katsu burger.

A popular and long-running fixture on the menu of McDonald's Japan is the Shaka Shaka chicken. The Shaka Shaka chicken consists of a large, fried piece of poultry served in a special perforated paper pouch with a packet of seasoning. You dump the contents of the packet into the pouch and give it a shake-shake-shake until the chicken is evenly seasoned.

McDonald's Japan offers several flavor choices for the seasoning packets, including red pepper, cheese, and lemon. In the past, restaurants have released special edition flavors like American barbecue and black pepper.  

Unfortunately for those of us in the U.S. and without a jet plane, Shaka Shaka chicken has yet to hit Western markets — though it has made its way to locations in Singapore.

Egg Twisty Pasta

In Hong Kong, McDonald's restaurants do things a little differently than what we're used to in the 'ol U.S.A. Inspired by a blend of Chinese and British cuisines, the menu offers locally inspired treats like the soy milk matcha, sweet corn, and taro-infused desserts. But perhaps the most "Hong Kong" items on the menu are "Twisty Pastas," McDonald's take on the autonomous territory's traditional macaroni soup breakfast.

The McDonald's Twisty Pasta breakfast features spiral pasta in a savory broth with peas, carrots, and corn. The soup can be served with hot chicken or tonsoku broth and topped with ingredients like egg, ham, sausage, or grilled chicken.

If you ever make it to Hong Kong to try this brothy breakfast, be prepared to wait. McDonald's Hong Kong restaurants are notoriously packed. But bonus: most locations are open 24 hours and staffers — get this — bus your table after you're done.

Nasi McD Ayam

Over in Malaysia, McDonald's menus are colored with local flavors. There are McFlurries and sundaes swirled with lychee and crispy fried pies served with sweet, tropical taro root.

And of course, there's nasi — or "rice" — dishes. Ubiquitous in Malaysian cuisine, rice is the foundation of traditional recipes like nasi lemak with fragrant rice simmered in coconut, boiled eggs, peanuts, and spicy sambal sauce or nasi goreng, their infamous fried rice.

Inspired by time-honored local favorites, McDonald's Malaysia dreamed up a series of Nasi McD dishes. The Nasi McD Ayam is a nod to nasi ayam, which translates literally to "chicken rice." Brought to Malaysia from China by Hainanese immigrants, nasi ayam chicken is poached in a flavorful broth and served with rice, salad, and sambal.

The McDonald's version includes chicken, rice, and salad — though unlike traditional nasi ayam, the Nasi McD Ayam comes with fried chicken served either regular or spicy. You can dig into an order of Nasi McD Ayam at one of McDonald's more than 260 Malaysian restaurants. For an authentic experience, don't be afraid to use your hands.

Cadbury Creme McFlurry

Over the ages and around the world, there have been many inspired McFlurry flavors. There was the Kranky McFlurry swirled with chocolate-covered cornflakes in Mexico. There was the Sakura McFlurry in Singapore speckled with pickled cherry blossom leaves and sakura mochi. And who could forget the Stroopwafel McFlurry in the Netherlands accented with toasted waffle cookies filled with caramel?

But our favorite McDonald's McFlurry of all time has to be the Cadbury Cream McFlurry.  Currently available in the U.K., the Cadbury Cream McFlurry has also appeared at McDonald's in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia around Easter time — but has yet to make it to the U.S. The decadent dessert blends vanilla soft-serve with pieces of Cadbury chocolate and a Cadbury Creme Egg center cream.

For the uninitiated, Cadbury Cream Eggs are egg-shaped chocolates filled with a gooey white-and-yellow fondant. The iconic chocolate egg treats origins in 19th century England and today are ubiquitous in countries around the world around the Easter season. Legend has it that Cadbury Creme Eggs taste different (read: worse) in the U.S. because Hershey's, who produces them in the states, uses a different recipe.

Chicken McDo with McSpaghetti

Anyone who dined at McDonald's in the late '80s might remember the McSpaghetti, the chain's unsuccessful stab at Italian food. The McSpaghetti was discontinued from McDonald's menus in the U.S., along with fellow flops like the McPizza and the Hula Burger.

But fear not, McSpaghetti fans: you can still find a slightly different version of McSpaghetti in the Philippines, where local McDonald's serve a platter dubbed the Chicken McDo with Spaghetti. The meal features a drumstick of crispy fried chicken and the bygone McSpaghetti — but with a local twist. Unlike the Italian spaghetti consumed by much of the west, the McSpaghetti is sweet. It draws inspiration from sweet spaghetti, a sweet and tangy pasta dish beloved in the Philippines. The Filipino childhood staple is traditionally topped with a red sauce mixed with hot dogs and sweetened with banana ketchup.

Beyond serving sweet spaghetti, McDonald's Philippines attempts to appeal to local palettes by topping burgers with sweet dressing and swapping out English muffins for Eggdesal inspired by Filipino pandesal sweet rolls. Sample saccharine McSpaghetti and other Filipino flavor-infused McDonald's menu items at any of the chain's 500 locally operated locations nationwide.

McArabia

Word on the street is McDonald's is quite popular in the Middle East — particularly in the Westernized city of Dubai. The franchise has more than 300 locally owned and operated locations in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. Within McDonald's Arabia restaurants, fry cooks prepare burgers, fries, and nuggets from local ingredients according to strict Halal standards to accommodate Islamic laws.  

Compared to some of the more localized McDonald's menus around the world, the McDonald's Arabia menu looks fairly familiar with your basic hamburgers, Egg McMuffins, and ice cream cones. But the chain does offer one distinctly locally inspired dish: the McArabia. This is a chicken sandwich that wraps two Halal grilled chicken patties in soft Arabic flatbread baked with spices. The sandwich is garnished in a creamy garlic mayonnaise with lettuce, slivered onion, and tomato. The McArabia is modeled after Middle Eastern specialties like chicken shawarma or shish taouk sandwich.

D24 durian McFlurry

A large, spikey-husked, and notoriously smelly Asian fruit, the durian was described by Anthony Bourdain as "something you either love or despise… your breath will smell like you've been French-kissing your dead grandmother. The pungent fruit is gobbled down raw or cooked in traditional dishes across Southeast Asia, but is the object of national obsession in Singapore. So beloved is the foul-odored "King of Fruits" in the island nation, it had to be banned in public spaces like the subway.

Intent on jumping on the durian train, McDonald's Singapore released the D24 durian McFlurry. The limited-edition McFlurry comes in a custom paper cup printed with colorful cartoon durians. Inside the cup is vanilla soft-serve drizzled with a bright yellow D24 durian sauce. Unlike the actual fruit, the D24 durian McFlurry gives off only a slight whiff of durian fragrance, sources confirm.

The special-release flavor can be found during brief windows in McDonald's Singapore, which as more than 120 locations across the country. The D2 durian McFlurry has also been spotted in McDonald's in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

McPinto

Over on the sunny beaches of Costa Rica, it's common to start your day with a hearty helping of the unofficial national breakfast: gallo pinto. Gallo pinto is made up of rice speckled with black beans and served with sour cream, scrambled eggs, and fried plantain.

To tap into the local cuisine, McDonald's Costa Rica launched its own version of the classic breakfast: the McPinto. True to the recipe, the dish is comprised of rice with black beans, scrambled eggs, sour cream, and warm tortillas. You can also step it up with the McPinto Deluxe, an even heartier version of the McPinto that includes fried plantains and sausage.

You can chow down on a McPinto standard or deluxe at one of the any of McDonald's Costa Rica locations. While your there, we suggest trying out other gallo pinto-inspired creations like the Burrito Tico with gallo pinto, eggs, and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla. Save room for the pineapple pie, which comes crispy rather than baked, the way McDonald's apple pies used to be.

Georgie Pie

Way back in 1996, McDonald's swooped into New Zealand and bought out Georgie Pie, a popular local New Zealand chain. The fast food chain transformed the 17 former Georgie Pie stores into McDonald's outlets.

Ever since its demise, fans have been crying for the return of the restaurant's namesake dish, a steak mince 'n cheese pie. Local student filmmakers even released a documentary lamenting its disappearance, Bring Back the George.

To appease the hungry and nostalgic Kiwis, McDonald's New Zealand decided to resurrect the pie themselves — with some help from the masterminds behind the original pies. The fast food giant called upon former Georgie Pie General manager Brian Popham as a consultant to help them design a pie that honored the original recipe. The Georgie pie is made from locally raised beef and flakey short pastry, formed in its traditional square shape and baked fresh each morning.

The pie was a hit, winning over skeptical fans and boosting McDonald's sales by 5.8 percent the year it launched. The next time you're in New Zealand, we advise you to try a Georgie pie or four after you finish your Lord of the Rings tour.

McKroket

Served at snack bars, hawked from street stalls, and sold in vending machines and grocery stores in the Netherlands, the kroket (or in English "croquette") is a much-loved Dutch snack. Kroketten became popular in the Lowlands during the 18th century as an tasty way to use leftover meat. The Dutch snack is essentially a crispy breaded, deep-fried cylinder filled with a gooey blend of meat, broth, flour, butter, onions and herbs.

In true McDonald's fashion, McDonald's Netherlands took the local snack, placed it in a bun, and put a "Mc" before its name. The McKroket is comprised of a deep-fried patty filled with beef ragu and served on a McDonald's bun. Its garnished with a Dijon mustard sauce made with real mustard seeds and mayonnaise. Like the original kroket, the McDonald's version is creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

To sample the McKroket yourself, check out one of the more than 200 McDonald's restaurants locations in the Netherlands. We recommend going to the McDonald's on Coolsingel in Rotterdam, which has to be one of the coolest McDonald's in the world. Designed by Dutch firm Mei Architects, the restaurant has a grand spiral staircase, perforated gold facade, and glass walls.

McSpicy Paneer

To appease a large population of vegetarians, McDonald's India offers a number of no-meat meals. In McDonald's India, you can't order a Big Mac, but you can chow down on a McVeggie burger or a McAloo Tikki burger — a locally inspired burger with deep-fried patty of potatoes, peas, and curry spices.

But the jewel of the McDonald's vegetarian menu might have to be the McSpicy Paneer. The dish was born in 2009, when a gathering of McDonald's India executives decided the vegetarian menu needed a new star. After two years of trial, testing, and error, the McSpicy Paneer was born.

The sandwich draws inspiration from paneer, a fresh cheese crafted by adding lemon juice or another acid to milk to separate the curds and whey. The mild, absorbent cheese is found in many Indian dishes. To make the McSpicy Paneer, McDonald's India creatives designed a paneer patty and dressed it with a tangy tandoori sauce. The creation is such a hit that McDonald's India goes through more than 120 tons of paneer per month, and the McSpicy Paneer developed a cult following.

Bulgogi burger

Inspired by Korea's popular marinated and grilled meat, the McDonald's Bulgogi burger is a favorite among food bloggers visiting South Korea. The burger was invented for McDonald's Korea way back in 1997, and features a beef patty (or two if you get the double) smothered in sweet bulgogi sauce and dressed with lettuce and cheese. The Korean burger pairs nicely with curly fries, another favorite on the South Korea McDonald's menu.

You can gobble down a Bulgogi burger and curly fries at 24-hour McDonald's across South Korea. When you visit, you can place an order using self-service digital interactive ordering stations that let you customize your order using a touch screen. In select McDonald's Korea restaurants, you can check out futuristic playgrounds with games like virtual bicycle rides and a hologram touch play table. In other locations, you can even order beer. But if you don't feel like venturing out, you can also order online to have your Bulgogi burger delivered to you by a McDonald's Korea staff member on a bright yellow scooter via McDelivery service.

Macaroons

For irrefutable evidence of the success of McDonald's localization strategy, look no further than McDonald's France. In a nation known for its fine food, wine, and a strong national identity, McDonald's hasn't only managed to survive, but thrive. McDonald's France is the second most profitable market in the world behind the U.S. and has more than 1,300 locations across the country.

French McDonald's are lively places, with clean, comfortable seating areas designed for longer meals. To manage long lines, most McDonald's France locations feature digital kiosks where you can place your order, not unlike those at McDonald's Korea. The kiosks free up labor so many locations can offer table service. The menu has been adapted to French tastes with local cheeses like chevre and Camembert along with whole-grain mustard sauce, fresh baguettes, French, grass-fed beef, and wine and beer.

McDonald's France locations also feature onsite McCafes that serve high-end coffees in real mugs and pastries on ceramic plates. Most adorable of all are McDonald's macaroons, which come in different flavors like strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, and vanilla. They're Instagramable, cheap, and addictive. Since their launch in McDonald's France, macaroons have since made their way onto the menus of McDonald's Australia and Germany.  

And by the way, fans of Pulp Fiction will be happy to learn that you can still get a Royale with cheese in France, and it's magnificent.