How American McDonald's Differs From Sweden's

The golden arches of McDonald's can be spotted basically anywhere in the world these days. According to WorldAtlas, the fast food chain has almost 37,000 locations spread across 120 countries. A chain restaurant as popular as McDonald's is designed to be recognizable; a place to get the same Big Mac no matter where you might be. But some McDonald's locations outside of America have offerings that are rather different than anything you'd find in the states.

Take McDonald's in Sweden. Insider reports it's one of the biggest fast food chains in the country, which sounds similar enough to McDonald's in America. But Swedish McDonald's is catering to a different, less carnivorous clientele: according to Insider, nine percent of Swedes are vegetarian or vegan, and a whopping one in five Swedes under the age of 30 eat plant-based. In comparison, a 2018 Gallup poll shows that only five percent of Americans eat this way.

Fittingly, McDonald's Swedish menu has an array of meatless offerings, standing in stark contrast to the notion that vegetarians are doomed to a meal of only fries.

Highlights of the McDonald's Swedish menu

Insider breaks it down: There's the McVegan, which appeared on the menu in 2017, and it includes a soy patty and vegan "McFeast" sauce. Their plant-based answer to the McNugget is the McFalafel, which are bite-sized rounds of falafel.

For those who aren't plant-based but still want to eat healthy, there's a chicken and hummus salad, which includes edamame, kale, black rice, cabbage, and sweet chili dressing, per Far & Wide. And in addition to standard French fries at Swedish McDonald's, there are sweet potato fries.

If you thought American McDonald's had a lot of dipping sauces, Swedish McDonald's takes things a step further with options like creamy garlic, truffle mayonnaise, and yogurt and herb dip (via Brand Eating, YouTube).

Perhaps one of the most distinct Swedish McDonald's offerings is one that was briefly put to rest. Immortalized in a Pinterest post, the "El Maco Grande" is Sweden's attempt at a Mexican-inspired burger. It has "salsa sauce," "sour cream and chive sauce," and comes with Old Bay seasoning for your fries, per the pin description. The El Maco has now returned to Swedish menus — McDonald's website notes it comes with a beef patty, a soy patty, or a unique new offering made of fried cheese. Eating meatless doesn't always mean eating healthy!